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Mission and History: Overview

We focus on promoting cross-disciplinary approaches to the arts—in teaching, research, and art-making.

Drawing on Stanford’s strengths in collaboration and innovation, the Arts Institute exists to integrate the values and skills found in the arts throughout a Stanford University education.

What drives us? We believe that the arts reflect cultural values and transmit ways of being in the world, such as the experience of depth, differences of perspective, uncertainty, estrangement, and also a sense of belonging. They impart skills of collaboration, observation, abstraction, creativity, and representation. Such values and skills transcend individual artistic disciplines and can be applied to every facet of a university education. In our rapidly changing digital age, we are creating ways for these values to persist even as the forms of art, media environments, and habits of consumption undergo significant transformation.

What we do

The Stanford Arts Institute forges arts connections across the university, gives grants for faculty, staff, and students; presents arts events, incubates new projects and promotes artists and cultural groups across our campus. Since its founding in 2006, the Stanford Arts Institute has been a catalyst helping the Stanford arts community to grow.

Mission and History: Timeline


Launch of Stanford Arts Initiative (part of the Stanford Challenge); Founding of the Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (now the Stanford Arts Institute)


New arts grants programs for faculty and students across the university.


First Arts Initiative graduate fellowships awarded in film, drama, and music.

By 2011 18 new graduate fellowships are providing annual student support.


New summer art administration internship program launched.


First Arts Immersion spring break trip to New York City.


"Your Art Here" launches with new galleries for students in buildings across campus


New “Spark” grants for student art-making


Renamed to The Stanford Arts Institute.