Students, faculty, staff, and visitors entering the second floor of the Stratton Student Center (W20) have long been greeted by the Jerome B. Wiesner Student Art Gallery—a gift from MIT’s Class of 1983 that has served as a home for student art exhibits for more than thirty years. On November 16, the gallery opened its latest exhibit of student work, curated by Sam Magee, Manager of Student Arts Programs, and PhD candidate Carmen Castaños.
While the Wiesner Gallery generally features one theme or one student’s work per installment, this particular exhibit gave eighteen students the opportunity to display a wide variety of work in the shared space. Showcased art included watercolors, oil paintings, photography, mixed media, film, fashion design, and audio. Students featured in this exhibit were all members of MIT’s Arts Scholars, which convenes student-artists at all levels for study, mentorship, and group outings. “[It’s] really nice to see a lot of different artists,” said Arts Scholar Ivy Li ‘20. “There’s a whole wide range of people with different experiences, and it just all comes together in one gallery.”
The Arts Scholars program accepts applicants once a semester, and currently boasts nearly fifty members. Scholars come from a variety of artistic experiences and backgrounds, and include painters, sculptors, designers, photographers, and performing artists. “It’s a cool community of people who are very diverse,” said Arts Scholar Rachel Osmundsen ‘17. The program gives students the chance to share a passion for hobbies outside their fields of study, which are mostly in STEM fields. “I think the opportunity to experience new forms of expression is a really valuable experience for undergraduates and graduates,” said Arts Scholar and PhD candidate David Rolnick ‘12. “I’m really glad the Arts Scholars gives us that sort of opportunity.”
Over the course of each semester, the program organizes speaker events, exhibitions, and group outings to local museums and performances, giving students the opportunity to explore a variety of art outside their preferred medium. “I just really love the community that has introduced me to just a bunch of MIT students who really value the arts and want to serve as leaders in the arts on campus,” said Arts Scholar Carolyn Joseph ‘15 SM ‘17. “I’ve just been so impressed by my peers and their artistic endeavors, and really enjoyed sharing my interests with them.”
The Arts Scholars exhibit came on the heels of a long-awaited renovation to the gallery. While previously the gallery had served as a more informal area to display art, the newly revamped space boasts a bright and open floor plan. “It feels like an art gallery now,” said Osmundsen, “. . .like a space that’s for art, rather than just hanging out in the Student Center.”
The exhibit ended on January 20, but the Wiesner Art Gallery’s next exhibit with feature the work of Arts Scholar Holly Haney ‘18.
Check out the gallery video here!
Story by Isabella Dionne, video by Stephanie Tran.