Columbia University School of the Arts’ Lenfest Center for the Arts is a dynamic new hub for cultural and civic exchange in Upper Manhattan. Featuring four flexible venues and a public plaza, this state-of-the-art facility offers unprecedented opportunities for the presentation and generation of contemporary art across disciplines.


From readings and installations to performances, screenings, and symposia, the vibrant array of activity at the Lenfest Center for the Arts aims to strengthen local partnerships while highlighting contemporary scholarship, global perspectives, and compelling voices of our time.

Recent guests to Columbia University School of the Arts include visual artists Kerry James Marshall, William Kentridge, and Deb Willis; filmmakers Lizzie Borden, Mira Nair, and Aaron Sorkin; writers Alexander Chee, Maggie Nelson, and Zadie Smith; theatre artists Annie Baker, Ping Chong, and Bill T. Jones; composers Hannah Lash, Jason Moran, and Steve Reich; theorists Chantal Mouffe and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak; South African Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs; economist Joseph Stiglitz; and designer Mabel O. Wilson. In addition, the School of the Arts has organized residencies with visiting artists Joan Jonas, Issac Julien, Young Jean Lee, Ralph Lemon, B. Ruby Rich, Rebecca Solnit, Richard Rodriguez, and Elia Suleiman; and hosted readings by New York City high school students who have produced original work in collaboration with young artists from Columbia University.

Staff Leadership

Carol Becker

Dean of Faculty, Columbia University School of the Arts


Jana Wright

Dean of Academic Administration, Columbia University School of the Arts


Melissa Smey

Associate Dean and Executive Director


Gavin Browning

Director of Public Programs and Engagement


Lauren Weigel



Brendan Regimbal

Director of Production and Operations


Jack Lynch

Production Manager


Blake Kile

Production Manager


Natasha Norton

Audience Services Manager


Rebecca Plunkett

Production Manager/Lighting


Marçal Forés

Film & Video Projection Manager

Columbia University School of the Arts

Columbia University School of the Arts awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts and Writing and the Master of Arts degree in Film Studies; it also offers an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts. The School is a thriving, diverse community of talented, visionary and committed artists from around the world and a faculty comprised of acclaimed and internationally renowned artists, film and theatre directors, writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, playwrights, producers, critics and scholars.


Manhattanville: A City Campus Built for People and Ideas

The first new buildings on Columbia’s Manhattanville campus will come to life during the 2016-17 academic year—the first stage of a sustainable urban design that will unfold over decades. The campus will provide innovative spaces for teaching, pioneering research, artistic expression and the shared human experiences of a great city defined by openness and diversity.


The Building

The Lenfest Center for the Arts was made possible by a gift from Trustee Emeritus H.F. (Gerry) and Marguerite Lenfest, leading patrons of the arts. Mr. Lenfest (LAW ’58, HON ’89) served on the boards of Philadelphia’s Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Curtis Institute of Music.

The building was designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop with Davis Brody Bond, LLP, as executive architect and Body Lawson Associates, a Harlem-based certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), as associate architect.