Six Students Recognized by OFA

GRACE M. CATENACCIO ’04

Considering that Grace M. Catenaccio ’04 will be onstage in two separate shows this weekend, it’s surprising to learn that her biggest art contribution takes place in the background. This Adams House Visual and Environmental Studies (VES) concentrator is one of the year’s recipients of the Louise Donovan Award, which recognizes outstanding work behind the scenes.

Catenaccio says she is thrilled to receive the award. “I did a tremendous amount of work to get others’ art shown, and while people definitely noticed and appreciated it, it was heartening to have the OFA recognize that” she says.

Catenaccio’s primary work is encompassed by State of the Art, a program she initiated her junior year to showcase student artists. “There are so many talented artists…that don’t have the oppurtunity to show their artwork in a context where it’s for its own sake rather than representing some other social issue,” she says.

Catenaccio’s solution was to put on six shows in the next year and a half. She tried to avoid showing only her friends work, but adds that “it’s kind of impossible…in VES you become friends because you’re interested in their work.” She says she was also “contstantly trolling the Carpenter Center and asking VES professors who their best students were.” Her position on the Advocate’s Art board helped as well.

Each show was based on a theme. Catenaccio points to last year’s “Portrait of the Artist,” which consisted of work that was “vaguely self-portraitive,” as her biggest show, drawing scores of people to the Adams Artspace.

Catenaccio has also been heavily influential in reviving “The Collective,” a bi-weekly concert in the Quincy Cage. Her involvement began her sophomore year. “I went to the first [concert] and immediately became obsessed,” she says. She spent the rest of the semester offering her help, but the organizers never got back to her. “I’m pretty sure it was because I’m a girl,” she says, and points to how even now, it’s hard to find female performers for the space.

Catenaccio’s boyfriend was slated to take over the Collective. “I kept pestering him to let me help,” she says. When he stopped showing interest in the program, Catenaccio contacted some students in Quincy, and with the help of her now co-director Daniel H. Senter ’04, resuscitated the Collective.

In contast to Catenaccio’s very particular curating, “the Collective is much more Communist,” she says. “It glories in enthusiasm for music over talent, though considering the musicians’ background and training, they’re really all quite good.”

Catenaccio’s plans for the future remains unclear. She hopes to attend architecture school after spending some time in England. As for the future of State of the Art, she says she hopes that the two sophomores taking over the Collective will continue it as well.

But Catenaccio is not concerned. She says she feels confident that the resurgence in student curating won’t ebb away. “The Artspace is being used more now,” she says. “The spirit is still there.”

—Jayme J. Herschkopf

BEN D. MARGO ’04-’05

As a fledgling actor in his first year at Harvard, Benjamin D. Margo ’04-’05 made a decision that has earned him all the attention he could hope for. He stepped off-stage.

Since then, the efforts of this Currier House philosophy concentrator behind the scenes have seen him play the role of producer, director, sound designer, and writer, making him one of the most active and visible members of Harvard’s theater community.

This weekend, Margo, who is also a Crimson editor, will be a co-recipient of the Louise Donovan Award for his efforts. His journey through Harvard’s theater world has led him to the presidency of the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club (HRDC) and a co-chair of the Hyperion Shakespeare Company (HSC).