Art, Place + Public Studies

The MA in Art, Place + Public Studies uniquely addresses the impact and potentialities of contemporary art practices in public space.

The program emphasizes critical awareness of the impact of the arts in specific contexts, along with the agency of artists and scholars to make socially conscious contributions. Students study relevant scholarly literatures at the nexus of art history, visual cultural studies, critical theory, urban sociology, and critical geography, to foster complex and contextualized ways of thinking about how the arts are entangled with transformations of planetary space.


In addition to academic coursework, MA students may enroll in studio courses, and they conduct original research as the basis for the MA Thesis. Courses this Fall include: “Site, Space, Place: Contexts for Making Art in Public,” and “Art, Place and Public Studies: Core Concepts”.


Robin Balliger, Chair (APPS)

Cristóbal Martínez (Art & Technology)

Dewey Crumpler (Painting)

Jeannene Przyblyski (HTCA)

Nicholas Gamso (Liberal Arts)

Refal (APPS)

Amy Berk (APPS)

Rigo 23 (APPS)

Eddie Yuen (Liberal Arts)

Maria Elena Gonzalez (Sculpture)

Kal Spelletich (Art & Technology)

Laura Richard (HTCA)

Orit Ben-Shitrit (Film)

Johnna Arnold (Photography)

Art Hazelwood (Printmaking)

Mark Brest Van Kempen (Sculpture)

Andrea Dooley (Liberal Arts)

Joshua Keller (Art & Technology)


See the full list of current faculty »

Virtual Tour + Recorded Lectures

Semester 1 (12 units)

Site, Space, Place: Contexts for Making Art in Public3
Global Perspectives of Modernity3
Art, Place & Public Studies Electives3
Critical Studies, EMS, or Art History Electives3
Graduate Lecture Series0

Semester 2 (12 units)

Research & Writing Curriculum3
Art, Place & Public Studies Electives3
Critical Studies, EMS, or Art History Electives3
Graduate Lecture Series0

Semester 3 (6 units)

Collaborative Project3
MA Intermediate Review0
Graduate Lecture Series0

Semester 4 (6 units)

Collaborative Project 3
MA Final Review0
MA Thesis Symposium0
Graduate Lecture Series0

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Develop contextualized understandings of urban and public art by studying the ways in which place-making, diverse lived experiences, and spatial contestations are entangled with creative practices.
  • Demonstrate general, global knowledge of the history of art and visual culture and are able to situate these discourses in broader social, political, technological, and geographic transformations.
  • Develop knowledge of urban and public artworks that challenge the art historical canon, including site-specific works, community and street art, urban art interventions, social practice art and socially-engaged art, and forms of public performance and assembly.
  • Engage with major theoretical works that problematize public art practices and interrogate notions of the “public” in relation to place-making as a site of cultural and material struggle, and through multidisciplinary approaches in visual culture, critical theory, social sciences, and humanities.
  • Develop a writing practice characterized by mastery of a diverse range of theoretical frameworks and periodizations.
  • Learn current methodologies for conducting public arts and visual culture research, including archival, institutional, critical, and ethnographic approaches.
  • Learn proposal writing and develop a research proposal that engages relevant literatures and articulates an original thesis project.
  • Complete and publicly present an MA Thesis that exhibits a high standard of excellence in its methodological and theoretical framework, and makes an original contribution to contemporary critical discourse on the topic.