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Michigan State University

Our Mission
and Vision


From its founding, Michigan State University has had a transformational impact on higher education in the United States. Dubbed “an experiment” by the university’s first president, MSU was a leader in democratizing education and advancing knowledge through an uncommon will to make a difference.

Powered by innovation and this desire to make a better world, the arts help us advance the common good by encouraging creativity, fostering connection, and inspiring us to speak up about the things that matter most. Collaborative, connective, and generative by nature, the arts encourage us to stay curious and envision brighter futures.

The Spartan community brings together world-class art and performances, surprising moments of discovery, unique interdisciplinary collaborations where the arts meet research, and experiences that celebrate diversity while elevating our collective strength. And rooted in the university’s mission, the arts at MSU are equitable, accessible, and extend their impact far beyond the bounds of campus.

Just as MSU has transformed higher education, the arts continue to transform MSU.

Read the Arts Strategy
Young woman in blue shirt does pirouette with shoulder length hair spinning on dark purple stage


Arts MSU foregrounds creativity and exploration, igniting innovation and connecting campus and communities through the arts.


Guided by the belief that the arts are essential to a vibrant university community that is resilient, inclusive, collaborative, and globally minded, Arts MSU advances the impact and amplifies the presence of the arts on campus and beyond. Integrating the arts across MSU’s missions will lead to innovative practices of discovering, connecting, exploring, and remembering.


In laying the groundwork for the arts strategy, focus group interviews with MSU students, faculty, staff, administrators, and arts stakeholders in Michigan explored why the arts mattered to them. This collaborative community process shaped the values for Arts MSU.


Connective by nature, arts on campus will be accessible, relevant, and intentionally support the diverse communities we serve.


Woven into the fabric of university life, engagement with the arts will catalyze empowering and lasting change to our campus culture.


Guided by a deeply rooted sense of social responsibility, arts on campus must be dedicated to advancing the common good.


Arts on campus will be bold and experiment with ways of addressing issues and ideas, modeling and encouraging the risk-taking inherent in learning.

Globally Minded

Reflecting the international focus of MSU, the arts promote exploration and engagement with diverse modes of understanding and expression.


The arts merge the critical with the creative, providing the skills necessary to approach 21st century problems with empathy, resourcefulness, and an openness to think differently.


Three big ideas ground this strategic approach to arts research, practice, and engagement.

The educational experience

Integrating the arts into the educational experience fosters a more holistic approach to learning and problem solving.

Why it matters

By including the arts in curricular and co-curricular experiences, we can transform the intellectual and ethical habits of students, leading to an expanded, inclusive sense of community and an understanding of how curiosity and empathy drive innovation and change. The result will be that the arts are woven integrally into the fabric of an MSU education, supporting an exceptional experience that prepares students for the next chapters of their lives.

The research endeavor

Integrating the arts into the research endeavor drives innovation and openness to new ways of knowing.

Why it matters

The sorts of co-discovering and co-creating driven by the arts strategy will empower the identification of new and complex problems—laying the groundwork for creative solutions and amplifying the broader impacts of knowledge generated at MSU towards the common good. The result will be more deliberate opportunities for active engagement among the arts and across other disciplines, leading to thoughtful and creative scholarship that elevates the impact of MSU’s global research impact.

The sculpture,

The campus infrastructure

Integrating the arts into the physical and cultural infrastructure of campus nurtures a sense of place, belonging, and community.

Why it matters

By rethinking how public art functions on campus and creating new forms of engagement for various audiences, we will build stronger ties to MSU, to one another, and to our neighboring communities. Woven into the fabric of university life, engagement with the arts will catalyze empowering and lasting change to our campus culture. The result will be that the arts are recognized as a ubiquitous feature of the campus and the mid-Michigan experience.