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Curating plays an integral role in presenting art in contemporary culture, yet few outside its ranks know exactly what goes into the curation of a top-tier exhibit. Introduction to Curating provides an immersive encounter with curatorial practice in today’s art world, with an emphasis on curating contemporary art.

Through thoughtful analysis of what successful curating looks like, students will develop the skills needed to navigate the field, from understanding the role of the curator to planning an exhibition, including acquisitions. Introduction to Curating discusses the history of curating as well as the day-to-day responsibilities of a curator and examines how a curator builds a museum-quality collection. This course also explores the way the field is changing and addresses the increasingly complex nature of exhibiting art.

This Premier Online Course features weekly recorded lectures and faculty-guided discussion boards to maximize flexibility and deliver an engaging and interactive digital experience.

Students will learn:

  • To identify and describe the nature of contemporary curatorial practice, including the different types of curators and the variety of spaces in which they work.
  • To recognize the critical components of an exhibition and learn to construct its related materials.
  • To recognize and evaluate how curators make acquisitions and how collections are built within and outside of museum spaces.
  • To write an accurate wall text and extended object label for works of art.
The Details
  • Course Dates & Fees

    Course Dates & Fees

    February 17 - March 30, 2021
    $1,485  ($1,335 if registered by December 8, 2020)
    Tuition includes six weeks of instructor guidance and an additional 90 days to review the course at your leisure.
    We offer this online course throughout the year with sessions starting approximately every four months. Contact us for more information.
  • Getting Started & How It Works

    Getting Started & How It Works

    SIA Online Community, our learning and networking space, opens two weeks before the course begins. This space provides an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the learning platform and introduce yourself to fellow students from around the world.
    Visit our How It Works page to learn more about the online learning experience.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Week 1: What is a Curator?

    • Overview of Curatorial Roles

    • A Brief History of the Field

    • Who Are Today’s Curators?

    Week 2: A Month in the Life of a Curator

    • Overview of Exhibition Design and Building

    • Beyond Exhibitions

    • Introductory Wall Text

    Week 3: How Does a Curator Put Together an Exhibition?

    • The Idea, the Pitch, and the Checklist

    • Types of Exhibitions and Planning

    Week 4: How Does a Curator Build a Collection?

    • Types of Collections and Collection Strategies

    • How Work is Acquired

    Week 5: What Skills are Required to Be Successful?

    • Fundraising and Grant Writing

    • Managing Budgets

    • Building Networks and Relationship

    • PR and Social Media

    Week 6: What is the Future of Curating?

    • Current Challenges in a Changing Field

    • How to Write and Extended Object Label

  • Faculty


    Course Leader: Alexandra Schwartz, Adjunct Faculty, Online Courses
    Ph.D. and M.A., History of Art, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Certificate Of Completion

    Certificate Of Completion

    For each course successfully completed, you receive a verified Certificate of Completion from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
    Our digital certificates allow you to share new skills with various social media platforms, including LinkedIn. Successful completion is defined by each instructor in the course syllabus and consists, at the least, of regular, thoughtful participation in online activities and timely submission of assigned papers or projects.
  • Register


    Click here to register.
    This course is listed under the Premier Course option in the online application. Premier Online Courses are open to anyone 18 years of age and older. Registration takes approximately 5 minutes to complete.
    View Terms and Conditions
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