Giving Opportunities

Art School of First Choice

Goal: Maintain our status as the school of first choice for the most talented student artists in the world.


Currently, fellowships reduce the tuition costs for MFA candidates by one-third each year, on average. We are working to significantly increase available fellowship support and to offer more full scholarships for the most promising MFA candidates. 



  • Named, one-year fellowships
  • Endowed fellowships
  • Full tuition for one student artist


The principal mandate for MFA candidates pursuing graduate education is the production of creative work. Many student projects—including films, plays, novels, and visual art installations—require funds to be realized. These works of the highest caliber are immensely important in launching the students’ professional careers.  



  • Named production funds
  • Leadership support for the production of new work

Global Art School

Goal: Maximize our position as the world’s most global art school, located in the most diverse city, focused on addressing complex problems.


The School of the Arts is deeply committed to providing fellowship support for international students and to providing assistance to all students taking part in global-focused learning. 


Many School of the Arts students seek global opportunities during their studies. They research novels, shoot original films on location, attend seminars and workshops, and showcase their work at international exhibitions and at festivals. Faculty members also travel extensively for their own research and to accompany students on academic programs. Providing a guaranteed travel experience for all students would greatly enhance the learning environment to allow students to engage the global professional art worlds they will inhabit once they graduate.



  • Named, one-year fellowship gifts for international students
  • Endowed fellowship fund for international students
  • Leadership support for the global travel fund for student 
  • Endowed fund for student travel


Teaching and Curriculum

Goal: Expand and strengthen the excellence of the graduate and undergraduate curricula in the arts.


The School of the Arts faculty is comprised of a diverse community of talented, visionary artists, film and theatre directors, writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, playwrights, producers, critics, and scholars from around the world. Faculty members encourage students to grow individually through intensive engagement with their craft and lively, often profound exchanges of ideas and work.


Endowed professorships—the highest distinction a university can bestow on deserving faculty members—enable the School to attract, recognize, and retain exceptional artists and scholars. Supporting such positions brings great honor to recipients, while providing for faculty salaries and dedicated research funds that can be applied to new areas of inquiry, further enhancing the School in key disciplines.



  • Support a semester-long visiting position for a senior arts practitioner
  • Endow a semester-long, visiting faculty position
  • Name a faculty chair


Enhancing opportunities for undergraduate majors in Film and Media Studies, Visual Arts, and Creative Writing is a priority in the coming decades. Expanding courses and improving equipment will enrich the undergraduate experience. 



  • Undergraduate arts leadership gifts

Enhanced Facilities

Goal: Transform our production facilities for the 21st century


To provide our students with the best possible environments in which to study and produce new work, as well as to be competitive with our peer institutions, we must regularly improve and enhance the capabilities of the spaces that make up our “production plant.” We are committed to upgrading studios, classrooms, and theaters, and to investing in technology and equipment across all art disciplines.



  • Renovations of the film screening room, theaters, and visual arts studios in Prentis Hall and Dodge Hall
  • Information on naming opportunities at the Lenfest Center for the Arts is available upon request

Nexus for Art and Culture

Goal: Increase Columbia’s importance as a nexus for art and culture while deepening collaborations with arts organizations throughout New York City.


The Lenfest Center for the Arts will transform both the Columbia campus and northern Manhattan. It will feature exciting new work—festivals, showcases, and exhibitions—that will animate the space and draw varied audiences daily from Columbia, the neighborhood, New York City, and around the world.



  • Support for a new festival or showcase
  • Support for a year of programming at the Lenfest Center
  • Endowed fund supporting year-long programming at the Lenfest Center



The Lenfest Center features important work from all four graduate programs of the School of the Arts—thesis exhibitions for Visual Arts, showcases in Theatre and Writing, and the Columbia University Film Festival. These events are critical to the education of MFA students and to launching their careers.



  • Support for student exhibitions and showcases
  • Named leadership support for exhibitions and showcases
  • Endow and name the Visual Arts Exhibition, Film Festival, Writing Showcase & Anthology or Theatre Presentations



Ongoing collaborations with arts organizations and arts-focused corporations throughout New York provide graduate students with opportunities to participate in internships or apprenticeships. The School of the Arts seeks to enhance the internship program by deepening partnerships with a range of arts organizations and providing students with greater living stipends. Substantive, hands-on experience is critical for bridging classroom learning and making students eligible for more challenging positions when they graduate.  



  • Support for internships or apprenticeships
  • Endowed internship fund



Faculty and students regularly participate in programs that engage the surrounding community, including neighborhood schools serving K-12 students. These activities have dual benefits, serving local constituents and providing MFA students with work experience as teaching artists. 



  • Support for Arts/Community Partnerships


The New Vortex Plunges into the Heart of the Present, 2008, by Kamrooz Aram '03; Students in the Lenfest Center for the Arts, photo by Nic Lehoux; Students in Timothy Donnelly's poetry workshop, photo by Joel Jares; Lenfest Center for the Arts, photo by Victoria Benitez; The Seven, directed by Carl Cofield '14, photo by Joan Marcus