Humanities + Sciences: Curatorial Practice, MA
MA Curatorial Practice
In CCA’s two-year MA in Curatorial Practice, you’ll work closely with faculty mentors—and collaborate with fellow students—to develop the intellectual, analytical, and practical skills needed to pursue a range of professional paths in curating contemporary art.
The program positions the curator as a researcher, advocate, and ally who understands context as a means of articulating connections among artists, artworks, ideas, information, and audiences. Curatorial Studies students acquire the knowledge and tools provided by museum studies, exhibition studies, or arts administration programs, but they are also encouraged to work creatively, think critically, and imagine a practice beyond the current boundaries of the art world. We ask students to challenge the assumptions and inequities on which museums and other arts institutions have been built and to envision how cultural producers might work together to foster new models for the future.
Learn to shape culture and society alongside artists, thinkers, writers, designers, and architects at an interdisciplinary art school that embraces activism, sustainability, and an expanded vision of curating.
A special partnership with the internationally respected CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts provides hands-on opportunities to learn about making exhibitions. Curatorial Practice students are also able to explore the field of museum education by engaging diverse audiences, including CCA students, with Wattis exhibitions and programs.
The rich cross-disciplinary contexts at CCA combine with the vibrant arts scene in the Bay Area where the program is in dialogue with the de Young Museum, SFMOMA, The Lab, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the new Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, and others.
The program’s first year offers courses focused on exhibitions—their history, forms, and design—combined with courses in contemporary and global art history, theory, and criticism, alongside engagements with artworks and artists. The second year concentrates on research-driven and project-based learning with the collaboration and mentorship of faculty, resulting in a written thesis project and a collectively authored exhibition at CCA’s Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts.
Our faculty include a core group of instructors as well as visiting and adjunct faculty. Their combined expertise and experiences—from working with artists in public spaces and commissioning projects to curating media arts programs and directing nonprofit organizations—provide a range of perspectives on curation.
Access to Professional Training
As a Curatorial Practice student at CCA, you’ll also have access to professional training through paid fellowships and teaching assistantships. Curatorial fellowships are available at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and at the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art in Napa Valley. Each graduate student in the program receives an annual teaching assistantship to work with faculty in the MA Visual and Critical Studies, MFA Fine Arts, or MA Curatorial Practice programs. CCA’s Exhibitions and Public Programming department offers paid opportunities to create exhibitions and dialogues.
Each year, KADIST San Francisco awards a research fellowship to a second-year student or recent alum of CCA’s graduate program in Curatorial Practice. The fellowship provides a stipend and an opportunity to collaborate with the KADIST director and curators on research related to work by artists in the collection. Fellows generate original pieces of writing for publication on the organization’s website and participate in the development of KADISTʼs art collection and video library.
Opportunities to build long-lasting relationships