Art Business

Get a behind-the-scenes look at New York’s illustrious art world and discover how art is created, bought, and sold in a dynamic global market.


This course will provide an insider’s look at New York’s vibrant contemporary art market through galleries, auction houses, and studio visits. Students will gain an understanding of both primary and secondary art markets in New York and London, and also be introduced to other globally important art markets in China, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. The course will delve into the recent evolution of blockchain, NFTs, and digital art commerce and examine how art institutions have adapted their business strategies for an increasingly virtual world. The class will also explore the potential for a myriad of business innovations in an ever-changing art industry.


Students will go on site visits to the various businesses that deal in contemporary art and engage with prominent artists, gallerists, and auction house specialists. The series of lectures and tours throughout the city and its immediate surroundings will identify the key personalities and most influential venues that contribute to the rich, varied dialogue around contemporary art and its trade. This class will also address the relationships between the marketplace and the not-for-profit sector with a focus on museums — a notable facet of New York’s cultural landscape.


Site Visits
Visits will include a combination of trips to both commercial and non-profit art venues, such as museums and artists’ studios, as well as other places of business related to art production and sales.


In the past, site visits have included:

  • Sotheby’s auction house
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • Corporate art collections
  • Top galleries such as David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth, and Pace Gallery
  • Chelsea and the Lower East Side neighborhoods, epicenters of art dealing
  • Artists’ studios and collectors’ homes
  • Public Art Fund art installations


Guest Speakers 
Students will hear firsthand about the inner workings of the art industry from speakers that will include artists, gallerists, art fair directors, and online art sales entrepreneurs.


In the past, guest speakers have included:

  • Auction house experts and famous auctioneers
  • Gallery Directors from some of the best galleries in the business, including Gagosian and Lisson Gallery
  • A gallery tour with an important art advisor
  • Marketing and communications specialists for galleries and museums
  • Collectors opening their homes for a private visit
  • Artists working in new media


Please note: This information is subject to change at any time at the discretion of Sotheby’s Institute of Art

Term Dates

Term dates and course availability depend heavily on instructors’ schedules.

  • Term 1 July 7 to July 19 Limited Space
  • Term 2 July 21 to August 2 Limited Space

All courses are open to rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors. Explore the full summer schedule.

View Summer Schedule

Course Highlights

Summer Institute enables students to dive deep into a course of study, sharpening skills for their academic and professional careers. Each course is carefully designed to suit student interests and encourage intellectual curiosity.

  • 1

    Students will visit galleries, collectors’ homes, and artists’ studios. Trips may include a peek behind the scenes at Sotheby’s auction house and a private tour of a collection in a collector’s home. Outings will focus on the neighborhoods that have been home to cutting-edge artists, galleries, and museums, such as Chelsea, Tribeca, and the Lower East Side.

  • 2

    Students will hear firsthand about the inner workings of the art industry from speakers that will include auctioneers, gallerists, art fair directors, and online art sales entrepreneurs. On visits to gallery districts, students will get to hear from gallerists about day-to-day dealings with artists, collectors, and other art industry professionals.

  • 3

    The course is ideal for students who love looking at art or creating art themselves and are interested in turning this passion into their life’s work. Students will learn how to identify steps to prepare for a career in the art world and learn about the professionalism and knowledge expected in this industry.

  • 4

    Students will examine the art world cycle from art production to sale as well as the various art market outlets using the newest technologies and exploring future opportunities for art world innovation.

Summer Institute Faculty

Our instructors are award-winning Sotheby's Institute faculty, recognized thought leaders and professional experts in the art world. Each faculty member structures their course around real-time conversations defining their professions and helps students master the unique forces at play in the art world.

Summer Institute Faculty

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