Student Art Competition Launched for Radcliffe Yard Garden

Beginning this September, visitors to the Radcliffe Yard will be greeted by the usual flowers and park benches—and a newly installed exhibit of original student art.

In October, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study launched an annual University-wide art competition allowing students to solicit proposals and designs for an installation to be displayed in the garden bordering Brattle Street in the Radcliffe Yard.

The winning entry will win a $5,000 prize, as well as funding to install the design.

“Our mission as the Radcliffe Institute is to advance work beyond the classroom, beyond the usual curriculum, and so I see the garden as a way of doing that for the arts,” Radcliffe Dean Lizabeth Cohen said.

Cohen said she was excited about the student response to the new competition. Several College students and many from the Graduate School of Design entered the contest.

After hearing about the competition through an email list, Madelynne A. Hays ’13 and Oliver Luo ’13 decided to work together to create a design to enter in the competition. Their entry features a multifaceted dome with two-way mirrors intended to allow visitors to see multiple reflections of themselves when they view the display.

“Our common idea is to sort of make a work in response to the current situation with the creation of multiple personalities, like the multiple profiles a person could have on the Internet,” Luo said. “We wanted to make a work that would be interactive and bring the people who are visiting this site a greater awareness of that sense of exposure, sort of self-reflection.”

Avery W. Williamson ’13 submitted a plan for a light installation using warm, white LED lights. Her interest in the project stemmed from a history research seminar for which she researched Harvard’s past relationship with slave labor. The focus of her design is for visitors to think of “labor, light, and the fluidity of space,” she said.

“If chosen, my hope is that people can walk through the installation space and consider the different hands that constructed Harvard,” she said.

According to Radcliffe Institute spokesperson Alison Franklin, the winning design will be announced in either April or May.

The selected installation will be constructed during July and August before going on display in September. The exhibit will remain until June 2014.

—Staff writer Madeline R. Conway can be reached at mconway@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @MadelineRConway.

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