Brown Arts Institute

About the BAI

The Brown Arts Institute (BAI) cultivates creative expression and fosters an interdisciplinary environment where faculty and students learn from one another and from artists and scholars in a wide range of fields across the campus and around the world.

The BAI is home to six academic arts departments plus the David Winton Bell Gallery and Africana/Rites and Reason Theatre. Taking full advantage of the University’s Open Curriculum, the BAI builds on Brown’s reputation as a destination for arts exploration, contributing to cultural enterprise through the integration of theory and practice, with an emphasis on innovation and discovery that results from rigorous art-making and experimentation.

Our Goals

The Brown Arts Institute builds on over two decades of work fostered by the Creative Arts Council (1999 - 2015) and the Brown Arts Initiative (2016 - 2021) and represents the full breadth of the performing, literary, and visual arts at Brown. Building on this strong history of interdisciplinary work in the arts, the BAI aims to achieve the following goals:

  • Expand Brown’s artistic legacy by supporting work that is experimental, forward-thinking, and on the cutting edge

  • Exemplify and promote a unified artistic and academic program that fosters the education of artists and scholars whose work embodies the transformational power of the arts to address critical issues facing society

  • Facilitate greater opportunity for collaboration across academic departments and campus units, among artists, and with external partners locally, nationally, and globally

  • Position Brown as a home for future generations of high-achieving students, award-winning scholars, multidisciplinary artists, leaders of equitable and diverse cultural institutions, and highly trained arts industry workers

Exposure to the arts helps people reflect not only on themselves but also on the wider world. The process of making art is like having an encounter with the unknown. It teaches people to never stop thinking like a beginner and asking those fundamental questions. At the BAI we invite and support artists and arts-scholars to practice among us, work with students, and show us our world.

Thalia Field BAI Faculty Director

The BAI’s vision as an incubator for new work in both traditional and experimental art and media is outlined in the executive summary of A New Plan for the Arts at Brown. In concert with the BrownTogether capital campaign, this plan calls for the expansion of academic and co-curricular programs, with an emphasis on cross-departmental collaboration. The plan also substantiates increased resources for students and faculty, including new professors of the practice, prominent working artists or arts specialists who will work alongside students in the classroom or studio, while also continuing their own professional pursuits. In addition, the plan emphasizes enhancing partnerships with local, national, and international organizations, as well as upgrading existing facilities and constructing a signature new performing arts center to centrally locate the arts on campus. 


[email protected] | 401-863-1934