What makes the arts such a vital part of MIT? A creative culture where experimentation and innovation cross all disciplines and break all boundaries. More than half of all undergraduates expand their horizons by enrolling in arts classes each year, on a campus that features more than 3,500 noted works of contemporary art and landmark buildings designed by legendary architects like Frank Gehry and I.M. Pei.
Since the 1960s, MIT has been forging connections between the fields of science and engineering and the worlds of visual and performing arts.
From the founding of the Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) to the new MIT Museum, and new performance space for our preeminent prominent music and theater program, to the planned new music building and new building for architecture and planning, investment in the arts at MIT has never been stronger.
The arts have been an essential part of the MIT culture from the start.
Our School of Architecture, founded in 1865, was the first architecture program in the United States and remains at the forefront of design innovation today. In 1967, Bauhaus artist György Kepes created the Center for Advanced Visual Studies to bring together artists, scientists and engineers and to pioneer the use of new technology as an artistic medium.
The legacy of those collaborations continues through the Media Lab, Program in Art, Culture and Technology, Comparative Media Studies and CAST. The List Visual Arts Center, founded in 1985, is one of the region’s most esteemed venues for cutting-edge contemporary art exhibitions. In the performing arts, two professors of music hold the highest honor awarded to MIT faculty, Institute Professor; the award-winning faculty provide conservatory-level training and compose, commission and perform classical, contemporary and world music.
With over 25 majors, minors and degree programs; hands-on classes; makerspaces; and 100+ concerts and exhibitions open to the public each year, there are more ways than ever for the campus community to express itself through the arts at MIT.
FACTS & FIGURES:
~65% of incoming first-year students have participated in the arts in high school
Extra-curricular programs provide students with funding, makerspace, mentorship, exhibition space and exposure to professional artists to encourage art-making
Cross-disciplinary curriculum exists in all five schools at MIT
“The arts have never been more integral to the life of MIT nor more deserving of our focus and attention.”
– L. Rafael Reif, MIT President
“MIT is #2 in the world in architecture and #5 in art and design”
– QS World University Rankings in 2023
“One of the top three universities worldwide for art, performing arts, and design, and #2 for arts and humanities”
– Times Higher Education 2023-24 World University Rankings