This program is founded on the belief that exhibitions, in their many forms, are the medium through which to think through, present, and learn about contemporary culture.
Where curatorial discourse has, over the last quarter century, focused on the role of the curator in shaping relationships among artists, artworks, institutions and audiences, this conversation is rapidly evolving and expanding.
It is therefore necessary to ask, in new and critical ways, what it means to curate the contemporary, and how exhibitions can reflect on and transform the world.
First of its Kind in Curatorial Programs
The Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice, the first program of its kind on the West Coast at the time of its founding in 2003, is oriented to the work of the curator, and puts exhibition practice, art history, and writing at the heart of its curriculum.
The first year offers courses focused specifically on exhibitions -- their history, form and design -- alongside courses in contemporary and global art history, theory and criticism, and, importantly, primary engagements with artworks and artists.
The second year is focused on research-driven and project-based learning with the collaboration and mentorship of the faculty: a written thesis project, pursued individually, and a collectively authored exhibition for CCA's Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts.
Alongside the focus on exhibitions runs an emphasis on art and artists. This is expressed through seminars devoted to the visual and textual analysis of artworks and through firsthand encounters with art in private and public collections.
Meanwhile, the practice of developing conversations and relationships with artists is fostered through regular studio visits and the production of a body of interviews.
In addition, we encourage students to hone their writing about art in seminars and workshops. A required internship in the first year offers students an opportunity to gain direct experience and professional development in one of San Francisco’s numerous arts institutions.
About Our Faculty
Our core faculty, together with an international roster of visiting curators and artists, exposes students to a number of possible modes of operation in intensive seminars, critiques, and studio visits. In tandem with promoting the students intellectual and aesthetic development, faculty members foster a spirit of open critique.
We particularly encourage applications from students who are interested in thinking broadly about innovative forms of exhibition making and who find inspiration in current artistic practice and potential in the curatorial role.
We welcome highly motivated applicants from a broad spectrum of cultural, professional, and academic backgrounds.
For information on programs and resources available to all CCA graduate students, see Graduate Studies.
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