The Arts

  • 60+ music, theater, visual arts, writing, and dance groups
  • 12 museums and galleries on campus
  • 70% incoming freshmen with training in the arts
  • >50% undergraduates enrolled in art courses each year

The arts at MIT are rooted in experimentation, risk taking, and imaginative problem solving. The Institute offers highly regarded degree programs in architectural design; art, culture, and technology; comparative media studies; history, theory, and criticism of architecture and art; music; theater arts; and writing. Undergraduate minors are also offered in several of these fields. Many MIT faculty have received awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, Grammy Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, and MacArthur Fellowship, in recognition of their work in the arts. MIT students are also strong contributors to the vibrant arts culture that permeates campus life.

The MIT Museum draws nearly 150,000 visitors each year to programs and exhibitions that explore the foundations and frontiers of science and technology. Highlights include the world’s finest collection of holograms, robots and robotic devices, and Arthur Ganson’s kinetic sculptures. The Mark Epstein Innovation Gallery gives visitors direct access to some of the latest MIT research, and the Kurtz Gallery for Photography features changing exhibitions of renowned photographers. The Institute’s Architecture and Design Collection, housed at the museum, ranks among the top architectural drawing collections in the world. The museum also produces the annual Cambridge Science Festival, featuring 10 days of programs and activities citywide serving over 50,000 people.

The MIT List Visual Arts Center is the contemporary art museum at MIT. Its core mission is to exhibit, collect, and commission visual arts for MIT. The List presents six to eight exhibitions annually in conjunction with a broad range of education programs for the MIT community and the general public. It also maintains and adds to MIT’s permanent collection of more than 3,500 artworks that includes over 50 publicly sited sculptures and hundreds of paintings, prints, photographs, and drawings located throughout MIT’s campus. The List Center commissions new works for the MIT Public Art Collection through the MIT Percent-for-Art Program, and oversees the Student Loan Art Program that allows MIT students to annually borrow original works of art from the collection to hang in their living spaces.

The MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology acilitates and creates opportunities for artists at MIT and beyond to exchange ideas and collaborate with engineers and scientists. The center fosters a culture where the arts, science, and technology thrive as interrelated, mutually informing modes of exploration, knowledge, and discovery.

The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT celebrates innovative talents in all arts disciplines and is one of the most generous cultural honors in the United States. Recent recipients of the award include singer and actress Audra McDonald (2018), architect David Adjaye (2016), and artist Olafur Eliasson (2014).