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The Arts at MIT

The professional practice and teaching of art is particularly well suited to MIT’s educational and research culture.

Arts at MIT Mission

The arts at MIT connect creative minds across disciplines and encourage a lifetime of exploration and self-discovery. They are rooted in experimentation, risk-taking and imaginative problem-solving and strengthen MIT’s commitment to the aesthetic, human, and social dimensions of research and innovation.  The knowledge and creations generated by the arts, exemplary of our motto — mens et manus, mind and hand — are an essential part of MIT’s effort to build a better society and meet the challenges of the 21st century.

MIT advocates learning by doing, encourages students to become cocreators in research and innovation, and has a history of breakthrough accomplishments at the intersections of art, science and technology. The arts are practiced and taught in two schools, the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.  There are two primary institutions that present exhibitions and foster experiential learning, The List Visual Arts Center (LVAC) and The MIT Museum, plus nine other exhibition spaces.  MIT hosts one of the top ten campus public art collections, thanks in part to its percent for art program, created in 1968.  The campus has a remarkable set of buildings designed by major architects, perhaps not surprising for an institution that established the first program in architecture in the United States.  Over 70 arts organizations, including nine performance groups that are curricular and professionally directed, embody MIT’s recognition that learning the arts, understanding their significance, and perfecting technique take place outside the classroom as well as within.