This Fall, San Francisco Art Institute will become the first school in the Bay Area to introduce a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Art, Place, + Public Studies (APPS). Situated in San Francisco, at the heart of a city facing difficult and important questions inspired by rapid gentrification and changes in the distribution of wealth, SFAI’s Art, Place + Public Studies programs will ask students to consider the current and historical role of contemporary art in public life.
“We are very excited about launching the Art, Place, + Public Studies program in the quintessential ‘creative city’ of San Francisco and in the unique context of a fine arts institution,” says Liberal Arts Department Chair and SFAI Associate Professor Robin Balliger, who played a key role in developing the program’s curriculum. “Artists are increasingly at the forefront of initiatives to shape social and spatial relations in the contemporary world, through arts-led redevelopment projects, social practice art, urban arts interventions, and artistic engagements in the public sphere. Our multidisciplinary 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.”
The program is composed of two degrees:
Bachelor of Arts in Art, Place + Public Studies
Poised at the forefront of creative and critical work, the BA in Art, Place + Public Studies (APPS) addresses questions of place and urban space as spheres of multiple experiences, cultural imaginaries, and material practices. 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. Drawing on the expertise of faculty across multiple fields, students learn from a distinctly artistic point of view, through the study of public art, activism, ethnography, critique, and other cultural practices. Our multi-disciplinary approach encourages students to follow their interests, no matter where in the city—or world—they might lead.
Through the BA in Art Place + Public Studies degree, students will develop contextualized understandings of urban and public art, and cultivate a global knowledge of art history and visual culture in the context of broader public and academic discourses. Students will graduate with knowledge of urban and public artworks that challenge the art historical cannon. BA Art, Place, + Public Studies students will complete studio courses and service learning courses, engage with major theoretical works, conduct urban and public arts research, and ultimately produce an original BA Senior Thesis as a culmination of research, analysis, experience, and critical knowledge gained in the program. Courses this Fall include: “All That Remains: The Monument and Memory,” and a City Studio Practicum where students teach and mentor local youth through SFAI’s City Studio program based in Bay Area community centers and arts organizations.
Master of Arts in 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 + Public Studies: Core Concepts”.
SFAI is currently accepting applications for the inaugural class beginning in fall 2019. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis as long as space is available. Learn more online at sfai.edu/admissions.