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 an honors capstone 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. Most recently, SAI has partnered with Stanford University’s Center for the Comparative Study of Race & Ethnicity and the Stanford Criminal Justice Center to develop Imagining Justice: a free-of-charge, pre-arraignment arts diversion program that pioneers concrete transformations in the terrain of criminal justice.
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.
Finally, under the leadership of Denning Family Director Jean Ma, 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. 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, and a campus visit from filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson.
The Stanford Arts Institute is a unit within the Vice President for the Arts.