“Engulf” by Juan Travieso ’13 on the Greenway in the heart of downtown Boston.
I’ve lived in Boston for 8 years now, and I could go on forever about what makes this city so special (I mean, history on every corner, the most coffee shops per capita, and outdoor adventures in every direction, to name a few favorites). But for now, I want to tell you why I chose to study art in Boston and what has kept me here ever since. It boils down to two essential facts:
1. Art is everywhere in Boston.
The SMFA campus is centrally located on the Avenue of the Arts alongside major collections at the Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and surrounded by a consortium of visual and performing arts schools. It’s essential for our art students to have access to the professional development and exhibition opportunities that come with this location, not to mention the cool factor of going to class in a gallery filled with Mesoamerican masks or Monet’s masterpieces.
But the arts scene doesn’t just stop at the end of the block; around the city, over 50 museums, dozens of galleries, and arts districts like the top-rated SOWA district offer opportunities to see what’s happening in the art world right now, meet fellow artists and art-world professionals, participate in internships, make connections, exhibit their work, and join the amazing Boston art scene.
“The Greenway Carousel” by Jeff Briggs ’71, which features animals native to New England like a harbor seal, a skunk, a cod, a monarch, plus a sea monster which I hope cannot be found in our harbors.
2. Art is for everyone in Boston.
What doesn’t always show up on a Google map of Boston are all of the pop-up gallery spaces, local film festivals, craft markets, performances, and amazing public art experiences that you’ll come across in the city: You can see emerging and accomplished artists alike exhibiting together in the SOWA Studios or Fort Point Arts Community, which host open studios and exhibition receptions weekly. You can support local makers (or join them in selling work!) at weekly craft markets throughout the city. You can collaborate with artists of all sorts, including composers, dancers, musicians, architects, and more, through the Pro Arts Consortium and show the results at a local theater, gallery, or friend’s apartment. You can be a part of exciting art experiences like Nick Cave’s “The JOY Parade,” which was commissioned and produced by Now + There, an organization run by alumna Kate Gilbert that curates engaging and inspiring public art projects across the city.
Nick Cave, Kate Gilbert, and Bob Faust during The JOY Parade, September 2019. Photo by Dominic Chavez.
Or, my favorite way to spend a day in Boston: you can take a long walk through this beautiful city and marvel at the public artwork along the way. You’ll see Professor Mags Harries’ bronze fruit and vegetables imbedded into the ground at the Haymarket farmers market. Nancy Shön’s much-photographed Make Way for Ducklings sculpture will greet you as you enter the lovely Public Garden. Victor Quiñonez’s South End street art gallery features muralists and graffiti artists like Rob Stull. Along the mile-long Greenway, ride Jeff Brigg’s whimsical carousel featuring New England native animals, take in Juan Travieso’s stunning mural “Engulf”, and catch Furen Dai’s neon “A Mouse with Ears and Tail” as you cruise into Chinatown for a delicious meal. Did I mention that all of these artists are SMFA alumni? Spend any time in Boston, and you’ll see: the arts are free and public here.
To learn more about our place in the heart of a vibrant arts scene, register for a campus tour.
-Julia, Admissions Counselor & Bostonian
“A Mouse with Ears and Tail” by Furen Dai ’16, which explores the evolution of the Chinese character “鼠” (mouse) in celebration of the Year of the Mouse.
“Asaroton” by Professor Mags Harries, which, 30 years after installation, is well-worn by the footsteps of thousands of visitors to the bustling open air farmers market at Haymarket –one of my favorite public art pieces here!