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Sotheby’s Institute of Art, a leader in the field of online continuing education, has been honored by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) with the organization’s most prestigious award, Exemplar Training Organization. The award recognizes exemplary, results-oriented programs that demonstrate significant, relevant impact on the populations they serve. Sotheby’s Institute earned the award for its Online Premier program.

“Given the high-quality submissions received, selecting the 2021 recipient was a significant challenge for the committee and these scores were the highest in our nomination pool,” says Cassandra D. Blassingame, Chief Executive Officer of IACET. “We congratulate and honor Sotheby's Institute for being the winner of this award.”

Established in 2011 and now in its tenth anniversary year the Online Premier portfolio of courses at Sotheby’s Institute of Art delivers specialized professional development for the art business industry. With more than twenty faculty-led courses available on a year-round schedule, the program educates art lovers, professionals, career-changers, and anyone who wants to develop a broader understanding of the art world. The expansive and diverse course offerings include Art History, Art Business, Art and Finance, Art and Technology, Curating, Art Marketing, and Art Writing. The program serves a global audience with courses taught in English, Spanish, Korean, and Mandarin Chinese.

From its inception, the Online Premier program has created innovative and effective offerings in online education, and this established digital footprint attracted a surge of new interest during the pandemic. In 2020, program registrations increased by more than 40% as consumers sought online learning opportunities, driven both by the health and safety restrictions on in-person learning and by the need of many arts professionals to upskill to stay competitive in a challenging job market. New sections were added to accommodate expanding student interest; new specialized live sessions in each course focused on how the art market was being affected by the pandemic, and new one-on-one career counseling sessions via Zoom provided the expertise students needed to thrive in art business during the pandemic.

“The pandemic has created a new consciousness around the importance and relevance of online learning,” says Kay Chubbuck, Director of Sotheby’s Institute of Art-Global Online, “We plan to continue to diversify our offerings in the Online Premier program and extend our global reach to make the program accessible to new audiences.”

Students taking courses in the Online Premier program explore art world topics through multiple delivery methods including recorded video lectures and Zoom live sessions and must adhere to a rigorous standard of participation and engagement, including the completion of a final project in each course. Over 70% of students who take an Online Premier course earn a certificate of completion, and many of go on to become leaders in the art world, such as former student Lauren Tate Baeza, recently appointed the Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art at the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.

“The Online Premier program is an important pillar of our mission,” says Ann-Marie Richard, interim director of Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York. “Our innovative and professionally focused curriculum gives students the knowledge they need to positively impact art and related industries. We are committed to fostering future generations of art business leaders and cultural stewards.”

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