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Arts on the Radar

Hosted by List Visual Arts Center, ACT, and Arts at MIT

List Visual Arts Center

September 4, 2015

Arts on the Radar, a “block party for the arts” hosted by the List Visual Arts Center in collaboration with MIT’s Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) and Arts at MIT, took place on Sept. 4.

Amanda Moore ‘11, a graduate of the ACT program at MIT, and current administrative assistant for Communications and Public Programming, was one of the event’s organizers. “I was sitting around with one of our grad students and a masters student, and we were saying we’d really love to have a dance party,” she said. She approached members of Arts at MIT and the List Center to see if they would like to collaborate.

“It happened organically,” Moore said, “There needs to be more collaboration among the arts organizations at MIT.”

In addition to a social gathering for arts students at MIT, the event was also an opportunity to raise the profile of arts on campus. “We have a long tradition of innovation in the arts,” Moore said. “We want an opportunity to show that the arts are also experimental.”

I really enjoy visual arts. One of my favorite places in Boston is the Museum of Fine Arts, and I’ve always been curious about art at MIT, so I was excited to have the opportunity to attend an art-related event on campus.

The evening began with an outdoor picnic on the steps behind the List Center. The event took place before undergraduates moved back to campus, so I wasn’t surprised to see that the crowd consisted primarily of graduate students.

Inside the List Center, approximately 600 works of art were on display for the annual Student Loan Art Program exhibition. I had never participated in the program — which allows students to enter a lottery to take home works of art for a year, at no cost — but many MIT students do. Last year, over 1,000 students entered the lottery, and of the 611 pieces on display, 595 were taken by students to decorate rooms around campus.

Courtney Klemens, List Community Outreach Coordinator, led me through the gallery. The collection comprised prints and photograph, modern and contemporary, of all styles and all sizes. Klemens pointed out some of the perennially popular pieces: a Picasso print, photographs by Doc Edgerton, and a piece by Warhol (not on display this year) were in high demand.

Inspired, I decided to enter the lottery for the first time. I had a lot of fun walking through the gallery with a pencil and paper, trying to decide which of the pieces of artwork I might want to take back to my Simmons dorm room. Eventually, I narrowed the list down to the five choices I was allotted, ranked them, and entered them into the computers at the entrance to the exhibit.

After leaving the gallery, I was given the opportunity to try my hand at making some art of my own: at tables in the lobby, guests were decorating masks inspired by art from the exhibit. I joined in, painstakingly gluing collage paper and glitter onto the curved surfaces. It felt like a fun throwback to third grade, and made me wish there were more events like it throughout the year.

At 9 p.m., a dance party kicked off on the lower level, featuring student and professor DJs. I stayed just long enough to catch a glimpse of a huge disco ball before heading back to my dorm to plan out the best place to hang a piece of art.

The lottery runs until Sept. 13, and I highly recommend going to the gallery to see if anything catches your eye. With all the different styles and colors, there’s a piece there for anyone.