School of Art

Dennis Adams in class with students Class at Cooper Union Class at Cooper Union

The mission of the School of Art is to educate artists in the broadest sense, both as creative practitioners engaged with a wide range of disciplines in the visual arts and as enlightened citizens of the world who are prepared to question and transform society. The program is structured around an integrated curriculum that fosters connections between disciplines, as well as between traditional and new media. The studio experience affords the opportunity for the development of individual artistic vision in dialogue with collective debates and experiments within an intimate community of artists. The study of history, theory and criticism in the visual arts and general studies in the humanities and social sciences are considered essential in intellectually grounding studio practice. Central to the school’s philosophy is the advancement of the artist’s role in relation to the prevailing forms and institutions of cultural production. Students are challenged to expand their research and experimentation across The Cooper Union, as well as in the surrounding urban environment and in the wider public sphere.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.