Art, Education, and Community Practice (MA)

Department Website

Program Description

This interdisciplinary program combines coursework in contemporary artistic practice, educational theory, and social activism to prepare artists, educators, designers, community organizers, and other publicly situated activists to work within community-based settings, museums, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), or broader public and civic contexts to initiate social change through the arts.

Grounded in the work of critical educational theorists including Paulo Freire and bell hooks, this program supports artists and other publicly situated activists to connect visual strategies with the needs of a community. Students learn from artists who do socially engaged work, examining how art and design can open dialogue about a community’s history, culture, and social needs. Drawing on community organizing strategies and artistic activism, students are directly involved in putting ideas generated with the community into practice. This hands-on approach leads to the capstone project, which provides an opportunity to design and implement a community-based art project that allows for social transformation. In this program students assume major roles in changing the social, cultural, political, and economic landscape through their artistic practice.

This program does not lead to certification for teaching.

Students take foundational courses in the three core program modules: Contemporary Artistic Practice, Educational Theory, and Social Activism, as well as complete a final project. In addition, students can choose elective courses from across the university to customize their degree focus and experiences.

Career Opportunities

The Art, Education, and Community Practice program serves individuals interested in socially engaged art and who want to work outside or in collaboration with traditional avenues (museum, gallery arena, and classrooms). Graduates may also serve as artists and organizers working as educators; curators; and artists in museums, community-based organizations, and NGOs.


The New York University Teacher Education Program, which is designed to prepare students to meet the challenges of teaching and leadership in today’s demanding educational environment, is granted accreditation by the Association for Advancing Quality Educator Programs (AAQEP) for a period of seven years, from April 2020 to June 2027. This accreditation certifies that the fore-named professional education program has provided evidence that the program adheres to CAEP’s quality principles.

Be advised that fieldwork placement facilities that provide training required for your program degree, and agencies that issue licenses for practice in your field of study, each may require you to undergo general and criminal background checks, the results of which the facility or agency must find acceptable before it will allow you to train at its facility or issue you a license. You should inform yourself of offenses or other facts that may prevent obtaining a license to practice in your field of study. NYU Steinhardt will not be responsible if you are unable to complete program requirements or cannot obtain a license to practice in your field because of the results of such background checks. Some fieldwork placement facilities in your field of study may not be available to you in some states due to local legal prohibitions.


Admission to graduate programs in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development requires the following minimum components:

  • Résumé/CV
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • Proficiency in English

See NYU Steinhardt's Graduate Admissions website for additional information on school-wide admission. Some programs may require additional components for admissions.

See How to Apply for admission requirements and instructions specific to this program.