UConn Inks Agreement with Wadsworth Atheneum

A student stands outside the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
A student stands outside the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. Under a new agreement, the Wadsworth Atheneum will provide work space for UConn Hartford students, a seminar room, and faculty offices for use by the three-year graduate program in Arts Administration. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

The School of Fine Arts will relocate its Master of Fine Arts program in Arts Administration to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the oldest continuously operating public art museum in the nation, further expanding UConn’s presence in the capital city since the opening of the new Hartford Campus last year.

Under a five-year agreement approved at today’s Board of Trustees meeting, the Wadsworth will provide 1,100 square feet of work space for students, a seminar room, and faculty offices for use by the three-year graduate program in Arts Administration.

“All of our students undertake intensive internships and hands-on research with arts institutions in Hartford. This partnership is mutually beneficial,” says Anne D’Alleva, dean of the School of Fine Arts. “We have national caliber arts institutions in Hartford. Our students will benefit from engaging with them. The arts institutions will benefit from working with bright, motivated, and dedicated graduate students.”

The MFA program curriculum is highly individualized and divided into two main parts: the core curriculum, which all MFA students are required to take, and advanced research and training in each student’s chosen area of expertise within the general field of arts administration. Areas of specialization include fundraising and development, marketing, general management, community engagement, executive leadership, strategic planning, advocacy, partnerships, and budgeting and finance.

In addition to being located within the Wadsworth Atheneum, one of Connecticut’s major art museums, students in the graduate arts administration program will be closer to other major resources for their studies such as the Bushnell Center for Performing Arts, Charter Oak Cultural Center, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Stage, Mark Twain House & Museum, TheaterWorks, and Real Art Ways, among others.

D’Alleva says the MFA in Arts Administration program trains students to work in any type of arts organization, gaining skills that provide the ability to move to different institutions across their careers.

“The professional skill set you have to develop is the same for all arts institutions,” she says. “Leading a strong arts organization requires knowledge and experience that transfers core skills in marketing, strategic planning, and fundraising, among other professional requirements.”

Tom Loughman, director and chief executive officer of the Wadsworth Atheneum, says, “We are proud to continue a tradition of the Wadsworth Atheneum as incubator of arts enterprise in Connecticut, extending back to our founding moment and in action today in our relationship with The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, and now the University of Connecticut.”

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, founded in 1842 by arts patron Daniel Wadsworth and opened to the public in 1844, is the oldest continuously operating public art museum in the United States.

It has paved the way for encyclopedic museums across the country, presenting engaging and groundbreaking exhibitions that explore every era of art history while consistently being at the forefront of collecting works by artists such as Caravaggio, Frederic Church, Joseph Cornell, Salvador Dalí, and Joan Miró. The museum’s collection has grown to include approximately 50,000 works of art, spanning 5,000 years and encompassing European art from antiquity through Modernism as well as American art from the 1600s through today. The Wadsworth Atheneum is located at 600 Main St. in Hartford.