Arts Administration & Policy Graduate Overview

The arts have always been at the vanguard of negotiating the most challenging cultural questions of the day. Exhibitions, performances, concerts, festivals, public art, social-practice projects, and countless other cultural experiences—both within and outside the walls of formal arts institutions—have informed and engaged populations; sparked transformational conversations; and catalyzed historic change.

Arts Administrators are charged and entrusted with shaping, maintaining, re-envisioning, and even revolutionizing the very platforms and organizational mechanisms through which arts-inspired conversation and change can occur. Understood like this, Arts Administrators are much more than mere conduits through which art must pass between artist and audience. They must be responsive, adaptive, dialogic problem-solvers and re-imaginers whose work with art and artists is, by nature, mutually creative.

The true art of arts administration is an intelligent elasticity: an ability to respond to emergent conditions generatively and with intention; to adjust platforms for expression as needs outgrow and circumvent them; and to remain always nimble, ethical, conversational, and visionary enough to navigate the frontiers where status quo meets change.

You + SAIC: The Future of Civic Imagination

Who you are:

  • You're curious, open-minded, socially engaged, and action-oriented.
  • You know cultural expression and the arts are essential to the well-being of individuals and communities.
  • You're committed to digging deeply into discourse and action to reimagine systems and policy towards justice. 
  • You enjoy the fluid, changeable nature of the terms “art,” “artist,” and “practice.” You know there is more than one answer to many of art’s questions.
  • You’re interested in working with people from all over the world to collaboratively imagine and develop the future of arts administration.
  • You’ve already begun. You’ve tried things; experimented on your own; engaged with people, places, projects, and ideas. You’re ready for more.

Who we are:

  • We believe in our students. We are committed to developing and supporting their emerging visionary leadership so they will be prepared to reimagine arts and cultural organizations and create the future of the field.
  • We explore, experiment, and connect—not in a static, theoretical learning space but in a real-time, real-world urban studio lab environment, using studio practice and methodology.
  • We work collaboratively—not only because it’s an essential practice, but because it’s also the best way to a better future.
  • We surround ourselves with artists and the arts. We learn from them, we learn for them, and we learn with them.
  • We don’t work in isolation. We believe the arts are an essential part of cross-sectoral collaboration towards social change and we embrace partners from across fields of practice and lived experience.
  • We engage daily with the vast and diverse resources of the Chicago cultural scene: our largest and most dynamic learning space.
  • We hold firm that Arts Administration is a creative practice of its own, and we equip and empower our students to shape and sustain their own artistic and professional practices.
  • We know that change happens only when multiple levels of advocacy and action work together. We think at the systems and policy level to build networks and power toward change that is environmentally sustainable and socially just.

Take the Next Step

Graduate Programs Application Deadline: March 1

Apply to SAIC's Graduate Arts Administration & Policy program by 3/1 for fall 2024 admission. APPLY

MA in Arts Administration & Policy 
Dual Degree: MA in Arts Administration Policy & MA in Modern & Contemporary Art History Admissions Information

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 312.629.6100, 800.232.7242 or gradmiss@saic.edu.