Getting Back to Work: A Spring Scholarship Auction Launches Online May 11th

Columbia University School of the Arts is excited to announce Getting Back to Work: A Spring Scholarship Auction to benefit graduate student artists in the Film, Theatre, Visual Arts and Sound Art, and Writing programs. The School has tapped into the vast Columbia network of faculty and alumni talent to create this new exciting fundraising opportunity in lieu of an in-person gala. This event is essential to supporting artists who will go on to become the leaders of their generation of writers, filmmakers, theatre practitioners, and visual artists, creating work that helps make sense of turbulent times such as these.


On May 11 at 12 noon ET, bidding begins on an array of unique items, including works of art from the School’s LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies and one-of-a-kind experiences with renowned members of the faculty or distinguished alumni, offering donors unique opportunities to engage with master-artists. The virtual auction remains open for two weeks, through May 31.


 “Scholarship is our top priority as we aim to educate a diverse community of the most extraordinary and talented artists, writers, filmmakers, media theorists, and theatre practitioners helping to shape the cultural discourse of multiple societies around the world,” said Dean Carol Becker.


The Spring Auction is co-hosted by the School of the Arts’ Dean’s Council. Notes Katharina Otto-Bernstein, the Council’s Chair, “The School of the Arts students regularly impress me with both their talent and fortitude. I am delighted that our alumni, faculty and friends have volunteered their time to take part in this Auction. Please join me in bidding on exciting items, and you will also be providing scholarships for these very worthy student artists.”

Featured Auction items include:


  • Cocktail with Tony Award-winner David Henry Hwang and your name featured in one of his upcoming stage or TV scripts


  • Meeting with acclaimed producer and executive, Erik Feig, who was behind La La Land and The Hurt Locker


  • Tickets for the reopening of theatre in New York...including Flying Over Sunset, Jagged Little Pill and Thoughts of a Colored Man


  • Coffee with Beau Willimon ’03, creator and showrunner of the iconic House of Cards


  • Tickets to the opening party at Storm King to celebrate artist Sarah Sze’s new installation


  • Prints by Kiki SmithMark DionSanford Biggers, Jasper JohnsNicola López, and more. 


  • Exclusive travel packages to a private home in Hawaii and to the Breakers in Palm Beach



At this moment of unprecedented challenges, the School remains focused on enhancing equitable access to Columbia. For student artists choosing to study at Columbia’s renowned School of the Arts, scholarships enable them to more deeply focus on their studies—this is critical to their future success. All funds raised during the auction will directly help these artists, playwrights, filmmakers, actors, directors, producers and writers, attend Columbia University School of the Arts and thrive. These students will go on to make work that will influence and shape the world.


More details about all auction items at



About Columbia University School of the Arts


The School is a thriving, diverse community of talented, visionary, and committed artists from around the world and a faculty comprised of acclaimed and internationally renowned artists, film and theatre directors, writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, playwrights, producers, critics, and scholars. In 2015, the School marked the 50th Anniversary of its founding. In 2017, the School opened the Lenfest Center for the Arts, a multi-arts venue designed as a hub for the presentation and creation of art across disciplines on the University’s new Manhattanville campus. The Lenfest hosts exhibitions, performances, screenings, symposia, readings, and lectures that present new, global voices and perspectives, as well as an exciting, publicly accessible home for Columbia’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery.


Columbia University School of the Arts awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing and the Master of Arts degree in Film and Media Studies; it also offers an interdisciplinary program in Sound Art. Today the School serves nearly 800 Master of Fine Arts students from 57 countries in the Film, Theatre, Visual Arts and Writing programs, and 35 Master of Arts students in Film Studies. The School’s faculty also teaches more than 1,627 Columbia undergraduate students in 120 courses offered each year.


Press Contact:

Christina Rumpf, Senior Director of Communications

[email protected]