The BLOG: Lifestyle

Celebrate MIT’s eclectic arts scene in person or online

Mark Di Suvero's Aesop's Fables II (Photo by Shane Rossi)

Mark Di Suvero’s Aesop’s Fables II (Photo by Shane Rossi)

HUB week celebrates many of the spokes supporting Boston’s diverse artistic, economic, and scientific circles. Events of the week included a whirl of dynamic lectures, tours and training forums introducing some of our city’s transformational thinkers to the inquisitive minds of many community members.

Creativity’s kinetic energy connected ingenuity to people and ideas that routinely spin around our streets. Each event suggested the Hub’s electrifying history is prologue to its even brighter future.

On the campus where it’s uber-chic to speak geek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology organized a guided tour highlighting a few sites of significance around its metropolis. Inside the I.M. Pei designed Wiesner building the List Visual Arts Center (LVAC) introduced guests to the Institute’s 6,000-square-foot flexible gallery space. Overseeing MIT’s significant collection of contemporary art, the LVAC reflects an institutional commitment to inter-lock inspirational experiences for students and the public.

Estimated to have more than 3,000 pieces in their permanent collection of paintings, photographs, and sculptures the public is welcome to explore the campus in-person or online and experience art considered to be ‘challenging’ and ‘intellectually inquisitive’ without charge. Sharing works by Alexander Caulder, Pablo Picasso, Sol Le Witt and others, maps are available through List’s website and at the LVAC to site the location of particular pieces. The eclectic online tour of 51 works of Public Art is introduced by late Boston native, Mr. Spock — aka Leonard Nimoy — and narrated by artists, scholars, and curators briefly explaining the provenance of each piece.

The old cliche “necessity is the mother of invention” explains the charm and ultimate wisdom of MIT’s inclination to display art across campus outside a gallery. The tradition began serendipitously in 1951 when then Institute President James Killian accepted a gift of 26 paintings and drawings from Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. Without a designated space in which to display the gifts, the works were scattered across the Cambridge campus surprising passers-by, and leading art lovers on a trans-grid treasure hunt.

As appreciation of art’s transformational powers and the tech-terrain campus grew a “Percent-for-Art” policy was formally adopted by MIT in 1968. The initiative links art commissions to major renovations and expansion projects. Allocating 2% of a budgeted project, up to $250.000, underwrites continued funding of the arts at MIT.

The online narrated tour of Public Art on campus is available at:

The MIT art gallery is open to the public and free six days a week:
The List Visual Arts Center
2o Ames Street
Cambridge, Ma. 02139

Gallery Hours are:
Tuesday, Wednesday Friday, Saturday, Sunday 12-6
Thursday 12-8
List Center is closed Mondays and major holidays.
[email protected]
phone: 617 253 4680.