Dear Friends:

Choosing to become an artist is always a brave undertaking. Such a life requires unencumbered time for creative work, a willingness to take risks and an acceptance that success might be elusive, and, if it does happen, it might take years.

Nonetheless, our students came to the School of the Arts to focus intensely on their practice in visual arts, writing, theatre, and film. They chose Columbia in large part because they knew they would receive extraordinary mentorship from our renowned faculty. Like university students the world-over, their education has moved to online formats. For many of our artists this has created true hardship. Human contact, whether through ensemble work, collaboration, critique, mentorship, or all of the above, are at the core of what they expect from an art pedagogy. The way we work as a School, and the way they work as artists, has now been fractured, and we cannot yet say for how long.

As a result of the travel ban, films remain unfinished. The urgency of social distancing means that theatre productions cannot be realized; actors cannot assemble. Paintings and sculptures are left in process because students can no longer work in their studios. We know that many of these artists are very unsettled. All their expectations about their education have been paused. Their need to make work has been thwarted. We are hoping that these disruptions will not lead our students to abandon their lifelong commitments to creative pursuits. Art schools do not translate easily to this new, very useful, but dis-embodied format. And yet, there is nothing else to do. We have to adapt, and we will. The situation is too serious, and the health and wellbeing of the community is at stake.

But students have also encountered unanticipated economic costs. They need our help in many ways—to relocate their efforts to other sites, to invent new forms within which to communicate and to rebuild all that has been lost. Hopefully, in the next few months their projects can resume and their creative lives will continue as planned.

In the interim, we kindly ask you to consider helping us build our Student Relief Fund, which will provide much-needed relief for our students, be it to travel back to their families, to preserve artwork that is only partially complete, or to invest in media platforms and other technologies that will allow them to share their practice with the world. 

Artists' work will sustain our society in the days and years to come. The stories they will tell--the images, texts, live productions that will be presented--will be the bellwether that will express our shared anxiety as well as its creative resolutions. 

In the coming weeks and months, we will share the innovative adjustments our students and alumni have invented even under duress. Help us make this time easier for them, so that they can produce work that will sustain us all in the future. 

Thank you for your consideration and support.


Why Give?

A vital part of both the vibrant New York arts world and a great university, home to outstanding faculty and a community of artists from more than 50 countries, the School of the Arts is among the finest graduate art schools in the world. Your support helps the School continue to attract the very best students and faculty, to facilitate collaboration and creativity in Film, Theatre, Writing, and Visual Art, and to take our artists’ work to ever larger audiences in New York, the Sundance Film Festival, Edinburgh Festival, the Venice Biennale and at other major events across the globe.

Now is the time to strengthen Columbia University's renowned School of the Arts. Join us.

Learn more


Our Students

Columbia attracts the most innovative thinkers year after year. Our students are at the heart of everything we do and are what make this school the vibrant and inspired place that it is.

Our Work

Students showcase work at important events and public presentations including the annual Columbia University Film Festival, the Visual Arts Thesis Exhibition, Columbia Stages Theatre productions, and the Writing Program Anthology.

Night, Sarah Sze (Faculty)

Our Faculty

Our faculty are not only brilliant educators, they are among the most respected and skilled artists in their fields. Through our partnership with donors who endow professorships, the School of the Arts is able to recruit and retain top faculty who pursue their art and educate future generations of artists.

What drew me to the School of the Arts was that the faculty aren’t trying to make carbon copies of themselves. My professors have helped me to use what I brought in as a performer and as a South African.

Phumzile Nelisiwe Sitole, Acting Student

Our Space

We strive to provide state of the art spaces and resources to our students, to optimize their potential to create and share work.  The Lenfest Center for the Arts, will be home for exhibitions, theatrical performances, symposia, and lectures that present new artistic voices and perspectives from around the globe.

What Am I Supporting?

Student Support Fund


A gift to the Student Support Fund is one of the most valuable ways you can support the School of the Arts. These gifts provide key financial relief either to the School student body or to students enrolled in a specific program generally.  


  • 100% of donations to the annual Student Support Fund provide fellowships for MFA students


  • 80% of students receive scholarship aid each year


Your gift provides crucial resources for students, and helps ensure that the most talented MFA artists are able to attend the School of the Arts. It supports them while they research their novels; shoot original films on location; attend seminars, workshops, and apprenticeships; and showcase their work at international exhibitions and at festivals for visual arts, film, theatre, and writing.

Even after having 15 years of professional experience, I felt like there was something I could learn here. I think that really is a tribute to the richness of the program and its ability to draw in interesting, talented people from a lot of different walks of life.

Trevor Corson, Writing Student,
Nonfiction writer Trevor Corson joined the Writing Program to further explore his craft after publishing two books.

Fellowship Opportunities


By naming a Fellowship, you can make a significant impact on the student experience. Fellowships truly allow MFA students to deepen their focus on their creative work during their time at the School.  Consider honoring a friend or memorializing a loved one with this gift (available for current-use gifts starting at $10,000).


Arts Discretionary Fund


General support of the School of the Arts is especially meaningful because it allows us the flexibility to apply funds wherever they are most needed in a given year: travel funds for artist residencies, programmatic funding, visiting artists and scholars, community outreach efforts, special student workshops, finishing funds, and fellowship support.


Endowment Opportunities


Establish an endowment to support Columbia artists for a variety of purposes: Named Fellowships, Production Funds, Visiting Lecturers and Professorships, Travel Funds, or other educational resources (begins at $100,000).


Thesis Programming


Support important showcases of student work in events and public presentations including the annual Columbia University Film Festival, the Visual Arts Thesis Exhibition, Columbia Stages Theatre productions, and the annual Writing Program Anthology. These crucial opportunities launch student careers and afford emerging artists essential exposure on the global stage.

I am grateful for the alumni and friends who have made the gifts, large and small, that have allowed me to study at the School of the Arts. That caring gesture, especially in the arts, is really important for this community.

Justin Olerud, Visual Arts Graduate

How to Give



The fast and easy way to support the fund of your choice through Columbia University’s secure online donation form. Select the Student Support Fund, a specific arts program, or Other and write in the particular fund or purpose of your choosing. Consider making a one-time or recurring (monthly or annual) gift.


Mail, Fax and Phone


You may also mail, fax, or call to make your gift:


Columbia University School of the Arts
Development Office
305 Dodge Hall, MC 1803
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Tel: 212.854.7724
Fax: 212.854.7733


Planned Giving


By thinking ahead and by including the School of the Arts in your estate plans, you ensure that we will be able to build upon the strength of our faculty, students, and alumni you leave a legacy that will carry on your values for generations to come and reinforce the School’s reputation as one of the world’s premier arts – education institutions. 


For more information on your planned-giving options, including documents for your estate and establishing trusts, please visit us here.


Matching Gifts


Your employer may have a matching gift program for charitable gifts to Columbia University School of the Arts. To find out if your company has such a program, use our convenient search engine.


Gifts of Securities


Gifts of appreciated stocks and bonds, as well as mutual fund shares, are very popular ways to give among Columbia alumni and friends. Securities can be transferred directly from your brokerage account to the University's account. If you are considering a donation of $1,000 or more, there are tax advantages to giving securities.


Corporate and Foundation Giving


The generous contributions of corporations and foundations are essential to our students and faculty, championing the development of new programs and initiatives at the School and around the world. By investing in our artists, our corporate and foundation partners enable the School of the Arts to maintain its leadership role. Because each partner has different objectives, we will customize programs, benefits and recognition to meet your needs.


For more information please call our office at (212) 854-7724 or email us at:

Half of my classmates come from countries that I’ve never been to, and they tell stories that are very necessary for their countries. In a way they make their countries visible, and the problems of their countries visible to the rest of the world.

Clara Roquet, Student
Clara Roquet came to Columbia University from Spain to study screenwriting in our Film Program.