Founded in 1992 and named in honor of the late philanthropist, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School is dedicated to serving as a catalyst for the discourse on the role of the arts in society and their relationship to the sociopolitical climate in which they are created. It seeks to achieve this goal by organizing public programs that respond to the pressing social and political issues of our time as they are articulated by the academic community and by visual and performing artists. The center strives to further the university's educational mission by bringing together scholars and students, the people of New York, and national and international audiences in an exploration of new possibilities for civic engagement.
The center identifies a topic of particular urgency and broad resonance and convenes artists, scholars, activists, public intellectuals, and political and cultural leaders to examine this theme in a variety of programs. The first annual theme for 2004–05 was Homeland, followed by Considering Forgiveness in 2005–06, The Public Domain in 2006–07, Agency in 2007-08, Branding Democracy in 2008-09, Speculating on Change in 2009-2011. The theme for 2011-2013 is Thingness.
The Vera List Center (VLC) organizes panel discussions, lectures, workshops and online programs that are created in consultation with the center's advisory committee and with current and former fellows. VLC publications feature transcripts of events as well as newly commissioned texts. Occasionally, the VLC produces exhibitions. The VLC directs the Vera List New School Art Collection Writing Award and, in collaboration with students, produces a self-guided tour of select pieces from the collection.
The Vera List Center Switchboard is an online extension of our live programs that links them to debates, issues, projects and people within and outside The New School.