The Stanford Arts Institute (SAI) promotes the arts as an integral element of education and research at the University. It offers interdisciplinary curricula and programs that center the arts as a mode of inquiry, foster a culture of creativity, forge connections across departments, and amplify Stanford’s spirit of innovation.
SAI administers two undergraduate degree programs: the Inter-Arts Minor, which allows students to design an interdisciplinary study plan that unites their critical and creative interests, and Honors in the Arts, which provides a framework for students to complete a creative thesis project in interdisciplinary arts during their senior year. Both programs are open to students in any major. Their shared aim is to allow students across the University to deepen their understanding of the arts, to familiarize themselves with creative theory and techniques, and to make meaningful connections between their home disciplines and art practice.
SAI’s Arts + Justice initiative supports a wide-range of activities at the intersection of creative practice and social justice. This includes an extracurricular grant program for undergraduate and graduate students investigating urgent matters around arts and any number of justice issues including race equity, environmentalism, mass incarceration, mental health, LGBTQ+ community, and affordable healthcare. Alongside the student grants, SAI also joins partners across campus to bring together innovative artists and scholars for Arts + Justice research workshops and lecture series.
The Stanford Arts Institute also administers a series of Arts Immersion programs, in which undergraduate students participate in curated trips to creative hubs like New York City, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Detroit and Venice. In addition to visiting a host of art and performance venues, the students meet institutional leaders, policy makers, and arts practitioners to gain an insider’s view on these cultural capitals.
Under the leadership of Denning Family Director Hideo Mabuchi (Professor of Applied Physics), the Arts Institute works with a variety of campus partners to support innovative projects and bring world-renowned artists to campus for research, performance and student engagement. In 2023, Mabuchi collaborated with former Denning Family Director and Professor of Art and Art History Jean Ma to convene Research and the Artistic (Im)Pulse: a two-day symposium exploring how artists’ ways of thinking and doing can inspire new modes of work across diverse disciplines, with direct engagement of public interest and impact on pressing societal needs. The symposium featured world renowned artists, including Tanya Aguiñiga, Onyeka Igwe, Ken Liu, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Tavares Strachan, and Anicka Yi.
SAI also collaborates with visiting artists to create one-of-a-kind courses for students across the University, such as Anicka Yi and Miguel Novelo Cruz's 2023 course "Metaspore: The Networked Sensorium."
Other recent co-sponsorships include the “We Want A Free Planet” Black Panther Party Photo Exhibition, hosted by Stanford’s Department of African and African American Studies, campus visits from poet Vievee Francis and visual artist Enrico Riley in connection with The Ritual of Breath is the Right to Resist, and events with visiting filmmakers such as Kevin Jerome Everson and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
The Stanford Arts Institute is a unit within the Vice President for the Arts.
"I’m trying to move away from hybridizing art and science and toward resurrecting their last common ancestor"
In an interview with the Stanford Report, artist and applied physicist Hideo Mabuchi discusses his goals as the new Denning Family Faculty Director of SAI.
Held on March 9 and 10, 2023, Research and the Artistic (Im)Pulse is a two-day symposium featuring five internationally renowned artists, all of whom engage artistic practice in connection with research, critique, and/or activism. Click here to view the schedule, meet the presenting artists, and reserve your ticket.