Introduction to Curating

Learn the skills you need to curate a world-class exhibition in a hands-on environment that provides an immersive encounter with today’s art world.


Students enrolled in this course will delve deeply into the many exciting parts of curation and exhibition-making and study the fundamentals of what it means to not only care for collections, but also to conceptualize, plan, and install a top-tier and thought-provoking exhibition in the 21st century. In addition, students will develop an understanding of the different fascinating career paths in the curatorial field by looking back at its history, examining famous case studies, and hearing from exceptional guest speakers.


Through site visits to New York’s most famous museums and galleries, students will see firsthand what successful curating looks like, applying their observations to build fundamental curatorial skills. With a focus on contemporary art, students will explore the ways in which the field is changing and examine increasingly diverse approaches to exhibition-making such as curating in the digital realm. The course will culminate with the opportunity for students to present their own ambitious exhibition proposal.


Site Visits

Visits will include a combination of trips to major New York City art museums and galleries, with a focus on exemplary contemporary art exhibitions.


This is a new course. Possible site visits may include:

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  • Manhattan’s Chelsea gallery district
  • Top galleries, such as David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth, and Deitch Gallery
  • Artists’ studios


Guest Speakers

Students will hear firsthand from curators, gallerists, and contemporary artists about the topics that shape our understanding of curatorial practice in a variety of settings.


This is a new course. Possible guest speakers may include:

  • Museum curators
  • Independent curators
  • Exhibition designers
  • Gallerists
  • Art critics
  • Artists


Materials Fee: $245

Health Fee: $100


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 June 18 to June 30 Term Closed

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

View Summer Schedule

What is an Intensive?

Intensives immerse students in a single subject area for the entire two-week Institute term, with the goal of cultivating comprehensive knowledge of that discipline. This thorough approach to learning enables students to develop deeper insights about the field by closely investigating its inner workings.

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 museums, galleries, and places of art production. Trips may include a private tour of a major exhibition at a gallery, a peek behind the scenes in an artist’s studio, or a visit to The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum before opening hours. Outings will focus on the neighborhoods that have been home to cutting-edge galleries, museums, and artists, such as Chelsea, Tribeca, and the Lower East Side.

  • 2

    Students will hear from a variety of curators working in different areas of the art world, including museum curators, independent curators, but also gallerists. Students will also hear from a practicing contemporary artist and may have their questions answered from the perspective of a curator related to the artist’s current body of work.

  • 3

    This course is ideal for students who love to attend museums and look at art, as well as having an interest in design and the logistics of creating an exhibition.

  • 4

    Students will examine the elements of successful exhibitions and understand the curatorial skills which bring these compelling shows to life.

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

Looking for more information? Download the prospectus

Sign up for updates about our programs, courses and events.