Arts Leadership

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Seattle University

The Master of Fine Arts in Arts Leadership (MFAL) at Seattle University—the first program of its kind on the West Coast—brings together our nationally-renowned faculty in arts leadership with the essential business, management, advocacy, and community engagement skills necessary for you to lead in the arts sector. With our low student-to-faculty ratio and the program’s cohort approach, you will benefit from direct access to faculty and develop lifelong relationships and support networks. In the thriving, arts-dense Seattle region, you will gain the theoretical and practical experience necessary to successfully compete for arts leadership positions nationally and internationally. You will learn alongside a cohort from various backgrounds including community art practitioners, curators, designers, development managers, education directors, public artists, and theater directors.

Goals and Objectives

Seattle University is dedicated to educating the whole person, to professional formation, and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world. Seattle University provides the only opportunity to earn an MFA in Arts Leadership in the Pacific Northwest. With a thriving arts community, Seattle is an excellent place to grow your network and develop your skills in locally, nationally, and internationally recognized arts organizations. With evening classes our program is designed to accommodate working professionals. Seattle University’s MFA in Arts Leadership program also has merit- and need-based scholarship funds that are awarded yearly to incoming students. Visual artists, performing artists, educators, and experts from the field teach the skills necessary to be the arts leaders of tomorrow. We merge the latest arts management practices with the specific skills necessary to lead complex arts organizations. Our graduates are playing leadership roles in arts organizations across the country.


MFA in Arts Leadership students build a portfolio of practice in the arts sector strengthened by academic rigor and applied research. Seattle's vibrant cultural community serves as the laboratory while they develop professional skills and strategic insight informed by a commitment to social justice.

The 2-year, 48-credit program includes coursework, practicums, and a summary project. Outside of class, students can expect to spend an average of 6-10 hours a week on homework, readings, and group assignments, plus a minimum of 4-5 hours a week at their practicum.

Students work in local organizations, applying their classroom learning to real world situations for Graduate Management Practicum credits. Through their practicums, students gain valuable practical experience and develop important professional relationships with the arts sector.

During the final quarter of the MFA program, students complete their Summary Project, a synthesis of academic research in a particular area of focus with the work produced through their community practicum experiences.


Contact Kevin Maifeld at [email protected] to attend a virtual info session, visit a class, or ask questions about the program and application process.