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List Center to Lend Out Art

By Laura Dilley

A lottery being sponsored by the List Visual Arts Center will allow approximately 350 lucky students to walk away with a free piece of art for a year.

"If you enter the lottery and win, you get to have a print in your room or work space for free," said Ronald P. Platt, curatorial assistant to the List Center.

Students can enter the lottery anytime between Sept. 8 and Sept. 22. A drawing will be held Sept. 23 to determine which of the 600 expected entrants will win a framed print, lithograph, photograph, or other work of art. Winners will be allowed to display their works in private rooms or public areas within their dormitories or independent living groups for the rest of the academic year. One representative of each student group may enter the group in the lottery. There is also only one entry allowed for any given student.

To enter the lottery, students must fill out a card listing in order of preference their three favorite works from the List Center's Student Loan Collection. By requiring students to list their top choices, the List Center encourages prospective entrants to view the collection.

"The mission of the lottery is to present contemporary art which mirrors the Institute's cutting edge in science and technology," Platt said.

Contestants can choose from a wide range of contemporary artworks, from bold, vividly colored abstracts to muted black and white charcoal sketches to straightforward photographs.

According to Platt, there is a difference between the contemporary art that the gallery shows and "modern art." Whereas contemporary art is done by living artists, the term modern art denotes a specific artistic period, extending from the early to middle part of this century.

"An orderly mixture of colors is sort of what I'm looking for, as opposed to something completely random," John M. Prato '95 said. "This sure beats a Bud grill poster."

Prato became interested in the lottery when his roommate received a work of art through the drawing last year.

"It seems like a good way to pick up [a piece of art]," Prato said. "I can't afford to go out and buy a sculpture or some other art."

Since there is no charge for borrowing the works, the lottery has become a popular way of obtaining a classy wall hanging to liven up not only the rooms of individual students, but also the floors or lounges of different living groups or clubs.

"Most people seemed pretty delighted to have a work of art in their room for a year," Platt said.

Entrants will receive their first choice as long as that particular work is still available. If the work has already been awarded, the winner will receive his second choice, and his third choice if the second is also unavailable. In the event that all three works have been taken, the card is set aside as an "alternate." Alternates may then choose from unassigned works in the order in which their cards were drawn.

"I have very bad luck, so I'll be lucky if I get my third choice," Sunitha Gutta '93 said.

The list of winners will be posted on the List Visual Arts Center doors on Sept. 23 by 5 p.m. The lucky entrants will not be individually notified by the center. Works may be picked up at the List Center's desk Sept. 24 through Sept. 26 from 12-5 p.m. Students must show their MIT identification.

Unclaimed artwork will be distributed on Sept. 28 on a first-come, first-serve basis to any MIT students who have not already won a piece.

Students interested in a free work of art should proceed directly to the List Center desk and request an entry card. Potential entrants should allow enough time to browse around the gallery to choose their favorites. The deadline for entry is Sept. 22 at 6 p.m.