Student Lending Art Program

The Student Lending Art Program is a unique and popular MIT tradition.  Students have been borrowing artwork since 1969, and since 1977 the collection has been exhibited annually every September.  Through this annual loan program, individual students and student groups borrow original works of art from the collection for their private rooms and communal spaces.  Although only MIT students may borrow work from the exhibition, the galleries and related public programs are open to the general public. 

The Collection

The collection now includes more than 600 framed original works of art, primarily prints and photographs by leading contemporary artists, which are made available to students for loan each September. The collection began with the Catherine N. Stratton Collection of Graphic Arts, the List Student Lending Collection, and the Ronald A. Kurtz Student Loan Collection, established in 1966, 1977, and 1985 respectively. 

The Exhibition and Lottery

During the course of a two-week annual exhibition in at the List Center, MIT students view available artworks in our galleries and register their top five preferences. After the conclusion of the exhibition, List Visual Arts Center staff administer the lottery. Students receive their result via email. Generally about 600 works of art are lent out every year to students.

Undergraduate students who are selected to receive an artwork for the academic year are required to return it to the List Visual Arts Center in May; graduate students have the option to keep artwork until August. If a student leaves MIT before the end of the academic year, he or she is required to return the artwork to the List Visual Arts Center offices before departing. Loans are not transferable.


The List Center actively collects new works each year with leadership support provided by the Alan M. May Fund and the John Taylor Endowment.

In 2017-2018 the List Center received gifts of art from Karen & Gregory Arenson, Hope & Mel Barkan, Arlette & Gus Kayafas, and Neil Ross. Additional funds for acquisitions were provided by Karen & Gregory Arenson, Idee German- Schoenheimer, Alberta Gerschel & Peter Wasserman, Joan L. Lewis, Anne & Kurt Locher, and the Friends of Boston Art.

Support for the program is provided by Vera G. List, MIT’s Campus Activities Complex, MIT List Friends of Boston Art, Stanhope Framers, and the Council for the Arts at MIT.

Having [artwork] in my apartment made me look for beauty in my own ordinary possessions. It made me more aware of everything around me.
Jennifer Schloss, Graduate Student, Course 8 (Physics)