Student Loan Art Program

The Student Lottery 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 is comprised of the Catherine N. Stratton Collection of Graphic Arts, established in 1966, the List Student Loan Collection, established in 1977, and the Ronald A. Kurtz Student Loan Collection, established in 1985. Approximately fifteen new works are added to the collection annually to expand the breadth of its offerings. The previous year’s purchases are exhibited in the Stratton Student Center (Building W20, third floor) for one academic year, after which they are moved to the active collection for borrowing.

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.


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

Approximately fifteen new works are added to the collection annually with leadership support provided by the Alan M. May Fund and the John Taylor Endowment. In 2016-2017, additional support for acquisitions was provided by Karen & Gregory Arenson, Rhea Cohen, Leila Kinney, Cynthia & John Reed, and Idee Schoenheimer.

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)