The arts have been a mainstay of the curriculum at the New School throughout its history. As a center of modernism in the first half of the 20th century, the New School offered courses in how to choreograph dance, compose music, and photograph the city. Many events and courses developed criticism and theory of new artistic genres, tied artistic innovation to contemporary political and social issues, and promoted the arts as a means by which to research and contribute to society. The school connected the arts to the wider world. This pathway of courses continues this tradition, exploring the breadth of expression and modes of engagement that make the arts social. Courses interrogate who defines the arts, to what ends, for what purposes, for how long? If imagination fuels the arts, this pathway of courses connects imagination and creativity to societal insight and action. These courses prepare students for advanced study or careers in arts education, creative arts therapy, arts management, urban studies, conflict mediation, journalism, and community organizing. The area also supports the university minor in Museum and Curatorial Studies.
Students interested in these questions should also look at the activities of the Humanities Action Lab, an international hub at the New School which creates a major public project every three years that explores the history, memory, and current realities of a pressing social issue. Each project includes an exhibit, digital platform, oral histories, face-to-face community dialogues, and interactive media.