“Our goal is to create a welcoming venue where every space can be activated
by the work of students, faculty and guest artists in film, theatre, writing and visual arts,
opening our doors to new collaborations both across the University and our community,
fostering connections to the always vibrant art scene in Harlem and beyond.”
—Carol Becker, Dean of Columbia University School of the Arts
The Lenfest Center for the Arts is a dynamic new hub for cultural and civic exchange in Upper Manhattan. Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and led by Columbia University School of the Arts, the 60,000-square-foot facility is the second building to open on Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus. Programming for New Yorkers of all ages will take place within four double-height, state-of-the-art venues:
The Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room, a 150-seat theater with both advanced digital technology and 35mm archival capability, for screenings, festivals, critical surveys, and new media.
A Flexible Performance Space for original and reimagined theatrical work and performance. A wall of windows and an exterior balcony provide sweeping views of Manhattan, Riverside Viaduct, and the Hudson River.
Columbia University’s premiere visual arts space, The Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery presents exhibitions organized by graduate students and faculty in Art History & Archaeology and other Columbia scholars, focusing on the contemporary artists of our campus and communities, and offering new scholarship on the University’s special collections.
The Lantern, a sky-lit, open setting for an array of conversations on contemporary culture—from lectures by award-winning writers and theoreticians to workshops, charrettes, recitals, exhibitions, and interdisciplinary symposia on urgent topics of the day.
The building was made possible by a gift from Trustee Emeritus H.F. (Gerry) and Marguerite Lenfest (LAW '58, HON '09). Mr. Lenfest is a leading patron of the arts who has also served on the boards of Philadelphia’s Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Curtis Institute of Music.
Columbia University School of the Arts
Columbia University School of the Arts awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts and Writing, the Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts. The School is a thriving, diverse community of committed artists from around the world and a faculty comprised of internationally renowned film and theatre directors, writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, playwrights, screenwriters, producers, critics, scholars, visual artists and sound artists.
Recent guests to Columbia University School of the Arts include visual artists Kerry James Marshall, William Kentridge, and Deb Willis; filmmakers Lizzie Borden, Mira Nair, and Aaron Sorkin; writers Alexander Chee, Maggie Nelson, and Zadie Smith; theatre artists Annie Baker, Ping Chong, and Bill T. Jones; composers Hannah Lash, Jason Moran, and Steve Reich; theorists Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Chantal Mouffe; constitutional court justice Albie Sachs; economist Joseph Stiglitz; and designer Mabel O. Wilson. In addition, the School of the Arts has organized residencies with visiting artists Joan Jonas, Issac Julien, Young Jean Lee, Ralph Lemon, B. Ruby Rich, Rebecca Solnit, Richard Rodriguez, and Elia Suleiman; and hosted readings by New York City high school students who have produced original work in collaboration with young artists from Columbia University.
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery
An important resource for exhibitions and scholarship on the Columbia University campus since 1986, the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery has a floor space that is double its previous home, with higher ceilings and a flexible floor plan that offers a multitude of new opportunities to share art with the public.The Wallach Art Gallery is made possible by an endowment established by Miriam and Ira D. Wallach.
Led by director and chief curator Deborah Cullen, the gallery has invested in expanding its program to the mutual benefit of the University and its surrounding community. The Wallach Network, a three-year working group of creative community members comprised of leading area artists and stakeholders, has committed to helping the Wallach Art Gallery identify, connect with, and better serve new and diverse constituencies.
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery’s inaugural schedule of exhibitions includes the presentation of the annual MFA Visual Arts Thesis Exhibition; Uptown, a survey of contemporary work by artists active in Northern Manhattan; Living in America: Frank Lloyd Wright, Harlem and Modern Housing, an examination of Frank Lloyd Wright’s visionary housing designs in dialogue with simultaneous modern housing design in Harlem; and Posing Modernity: The Black Muse from Manet to Matisse and Beyond, an exploration of the changing representations of black women in modern art from 19th-century Paris to the Harlem Renaissance and successive generations.