First Cabot House Arts Month Shows Hidden Student Talent

In the News

Ever wonder where all the artistic talent at Harvard is hidden? Ever consider that there is only one small student are gallery on campus to house the talent? Ever think that a House committee would be the agency to ferret out that talent?

All through April and the first week of May, Cabot House Arts Month, held this year for the first time, is highlighting student projects. The House is trying to find a way to make student art more accessible, offering the artists and their prospective audiences a way to not only to see, but to discuss the art work being done, said organizer Jeffrey S. Miller '90.

"It's a wonderful way to get people together and to get people who have talent to share that," said Beth D. Hastie '91-92, another organizer.

"People in the house have a lot of different talents," she added.

The Month's offerings encompass visual art, theater, music and poetry readings. The events and displays are ecclectic, featuring everything from a hand-printed and bound book of an Alabama folk song to a recital of Nietzsche's musical compositions.

The Month is comprised of weekly visual arts shows followed by receptions with the artists; student poetry readings and discussions of those works; music before milk and cookies; and various theatrical productions, including two plays and an improvisational group performance, according to organizers.

Long concerned over the scarcity of exhibit space for student artists, the organizers said they stumbled upon the idea of holding a special Arts Month when they realized that there were already a variety of art celebrations happening in April. They said they simply decided to expand on them.

"It's pretty informal, and whoever thinks they have something of worth can exhibit," says Anca M. Achim '92, who helped organize the month. "It's really not pretentious."

Organizers also said that one of the objectives of their varied agenda was to encourage the artists to bring their talents into the House community and see what others are doing.

"A house is supposed to be a central social place, but a lot of people go off and do their own thing outside," said Hastie, who is also part of the impovisational theater group performing in a couple weeks. "In the Arts Month we get a chance to see and appreciate what they do."

By encouraging people who do things on their own to bring them into the community for scrutiny and discussion, organizers said they hope to contribute to the House spirit.

"This is a way to bring people's extracurricular activities back into the House to share with their Housemates," said Miller.

"It's more of a community spirit type thing," said Achim. This sentiment was also voiced by students not directly involved with the Month's activities.

"It focuses people's attention on a common theme--it's something everyone can talk about at dinner," said Stephen F. Amato, a senior in Cabot House.

Thus far, organizers say they are pleased with the participation. Goldenfarb said she has noticed that the Month has brought artists out "from the woodwork."

Artists contacted said they were pleased with the opportunity to exhibit, especially in the low-pressure, open environment provided by the Month. They contrasted the atmosphere and scope favorably to the currently existing gallery.

"There's not very much exhibit space at Harvard and it's a nice thing to be able to do." said Elizabeth C. Elsas '92, one of the visual artists displaying her work.

Organizers also expressed hopes that everyone on campus would feel welcome and that other houses will be inspired to join in the attempt to open up more space and discourse for student artists.