Graduate Overview

Through an integrated approach to curriculum, practice and research, the MAAAP program builds a community of emerging and mid-career professionals around the values of collaboration, teamwork, creative leadership, and a dynamic process of reflection that are central to excellence in arts administration. We are not a traditional arts administration program: our approach starts with the arts, and we see arts administration as a creative practice. We are both an academic program and a hub of critical activity.

We seek curious, self-directed and socially-engaged students who want to join us in:

  • Working closely and intensively with artists, arts & cultural organizations, and beyond
  • Actively promoting ethical practice, and addressing key issues of equity, participation and diversity
  • Advocating for the centrality of the arts and culture in everyday life
  • Developing new individual and collaborative approaches to learning
  • Thinking experientially, critically, and politically. Creating positive impact through their work in arts and culture, re-framing arts administration practice at the intersection of the arts and social justice.


We seek students who don’t see themselves in a traditional arts administration program because they want to be the leaders who will reimagine arts and cultural organizations, responsive to 21st century practices, needs and realities.


  • Innovative, studio-format management studies, engaged in real-time and real-world projects: Our curriculum is structured around a project-driven practice, opening up to the public sphere and working with various audiences through both short- and long-term engagement;
  • Systems-thinking approach, in which activity in the arts and culture is seen as part of the large and complex environment of contemporary life;
  • Location in a thriving, progressive arts community made up of students and faculty from an array of creative practices. SAIC is a vibrant ecosystem where various currents of artistic, design and scholarly practice meet, intertwine and recombine, where disciplines exceed their own limits, and where encounters create an ever-shifting, shared space of dialogue that helps define who we are and what we do within the field of arts administration;
  • Integrated curriculum design, merging intensive work in theory and practice: combining inventiveness and idealistic values with practical skills and grounded practice;
  • Commitment to collaboration: We believe that the ability to collaborate is a key element of successfully tackling complex issues;
  • Commitment to visionary leadership, encouraging students to see themselves as agents who have the potential to shape the field;
  • A program environment and ethos that fosters intensive intellectual and professional relationships with each of our MA candidates;
  • Global alumni network, working in an immense variety of professional capacities.


Our students come from many different backgrounds, including Visual Arts, Dance, Music, Theatre, Cultural Studies, Art History, Social Sciences, Law, Philosophy, Political Science, Education, Social Services, Hospitality, and Social Entrepreneurship; from North America, Asia, Latin America, North Africa and Europe.


  • Ian David Moss (Founder of CreatEquity and CEO of Knowledge Empower consultants)
  • Peter Hyer (Director of the Media & Technology Portfolio at IDEO San Francisco)
  • Faheem Majeed (Artist and Co-Director/Founder, Floating Museum)
  • Sarah Ross, Artist (Chicago Justice Torture Memorials, and Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project)
  • Laura Samson (Enterprise Strategy Lead Boeing Global Engagement)
  • Mike Reed (Musician, Composer and founding director of the Pitchfork Music Festival, current programming chair of the Chicago Jazz Festival, and owner and director of the acclaimed performing arts venue Constellation.)
  • Roberta Uno (Director, Arts in a Changing America)
  • Madeleine Grynsztejn (Pritzker Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago)
  • Carolina Jayaram (Former CEO, United States Artists, Currently CEO YoungArts)
  • Angelique Williams Power (Former Program Director, Culture, The Joyce Foundation. Currently President, Field Foundation Illinois)
  • Ra Joy (Former Executive Director Arts Alliance Illinois. Currently serves as executive director of CHANGE Illinois)
  • Tony Karmen (President | Director EXPO Chicago)
  • Roberto Bedoya (Cultural Affairs Manager, City of Oakland)
  • Andreas Östberg (Founder School of Rock, Mexico)
  • Caroline Older (Executive Director, Chicago Artists Coalition)
  • Jacqueline Terrassa (Woman’s Board Endowed Chair of Museum Education, Art Institute of Chicago)
  • Yesomi Umolu (Exhibitions Curator, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts)
  • Marc Bamuthi Joseph (arts educator-activist, writer, and performer; chief of program & pedagogy, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts)
  • Tracie D. Hall (Director, Culture Program, The Joyce Foundation)
  • Perri Irmer (‎President & CEO DuSable Museum of African American History)
  • Claire Rice (Executive Director, Arts in a Changing America)

Thesis Abstracts

Each year, the School of the Art Institute of  Chicago celebrates the culmination and closure of students' studies at the masters level. In studio areas, the celebration takes place in the form of the thesis exhibitions. The academic areas complement this with the publication of students' theses.

The SAIC Thesis Repository contains theses for the MA in Arts Administration and Policy and the Dual Degree submitted since November 2013.

Theses submitted prior to November 2013 are listed in the Flaxman Library catalog.

MAAAP Thesis Archive: Special Collection

We have created the MAAAP Thesis Archive, a collection of theses organized by topic, to give you a better idea of the breadth of work accomplished in the MA in Arts Administration and Policy.


Interested in learning more about how you can apply?

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 800.232.7242 or