Arts Vanity: The Fringe Board (A Guide to Crimson Arts)

Arts Board
Zennie L. Wey

It’s come to my attention that some people consider the Arts Board to be a “fringe board” with regard to the rest of the Crimson. I don’t know why this is. Maybe it’s because about twelve people read Arts (Hi Mom!). Maybe it’s because FM keeps stealing the Arts sign off the door of our shared office. Maybe it’s because the last time the Arts Board attended a Crimson-wide social event was Spring 2014, when one of the compers got lost during Grand Elections and wandered around the basement for half an hour.

Whatever the reason, apparently some people don’t see Arts as particularly “essential to the core mission of The Crimson,” or “essential to any mission of The Crimson,” or “compliant with basic journalistic standards.” So I’ve decided to compile a brief guide to Arts, so that everyone understands what a valuable and relatable board we are. Unfortunately, I appear to have put this guide in Arts’ Year-in-Review, a collection of inside joke-packed vanity pieces and bizarre rankings of popular art, so “everyone” is likely to be about six people (Hi Mom!).

Arts began its existence writing informative pieces about artistic offerings around Harvard’s campus. Today, this service has largely been shelved, because (a) nobody wanted to write them and (b) nobody wanted to read them. It lives on largely in the form of the Arts Calendar, a weekly guide to Cambridge-area art written by indentured laborers under the supervision of incoming Arts Chair Grace Z. Li, a cruel and unforgiving taskmaster.

Arts nimbly transitioned to other media, previewing and reviewing artistic offerings (films, books, music) on the national stage with all the sophistication and nuance that college freshmen are known for. These pieces were published in Arts’ magazine, a beautifully designed weekly collection of art and art criticism that I imagine brought a great deal of joy to its three readers. Admittedly, Arts’ policy of refusing to publish any article online if it didn’t happen to refer to a piece as “flawed but compelling” was not exactly “digital-friendly.” Still, this was a golden age for Arts. Unfortunately, the rest of The Crimson eventually noticed that we’d been using their printer for this project, and so the magazine got cut. But hey, now print media’s dying (along with journalism generally), so really the joke’s on them, right?

Arts today is largely focused on providing cutting-edge commentary on Taylor Swift’s music videos. Still, if you would like some coverage of your artwork or event, please feel free to reach out to us! You might be able to reach Arts at our email address (, at the Crimson’s building (ask to be shown to FM’s office), or by talking to incoming Arts Chairs Mila Gauvin and Grace Li. Just please, for the love of God, don’t contact me. I’ve done my time.


Once Arts agrees to write a piece for you, you may not hear back from us for a while. Our policy is not to publish a piece until it’s been edited twice, fact-checked, proofed in triplicate, lost in the archives for several months, proofed again, and then poorly rewritten at the last minute. Rest assured, however, that somewhere in the shadows of The Crimson, Arts is working as hard as ever to produce quality content for its readers (Hi Mom!).

—Outgoing Arts Chair J. Thomas Westbrook is a ghost. He cannot be contacted by any means known to man, especially not email or Twitter. Some say that those willing to brave the trek to Pforzheimer House can find him there, but who would do that?


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