This past weekend, the Harvard Student Art Show opened its ninth annual exhibition. On view through April 20 in the Crossings Gallery at the Harvard Ed Portal and Gallery 224 at the Ceramics Program, the show includes works in a variety of media by 38 student artists across six Harvard schools. Eloise A. Lynton ’17 and Diana M. Ingerman ’17 co-directed this year’s exhibition. Grappling with the inherent financial and space challenges of showcasing student art on Harvard’s campus, the pair collaborated with multiple sectors of the University and worked with the College to find the resources for this spring’s show.
According to Lynton and Ingerman, The Harvard Student Art Show is one of the few opportunities for Harvard students to showcase their work in a professional setting. Lynton said that growing the arts community was one of the key intentions of the show. “I think that realizing that people I talk to every day are creating art, and I had no idea, is really exciting and getting to support them is amazing,” she said.
Ingerman elaborated on the submission process. “We had an open call for submissions. Our goal was to sneak into every corner of campus to represent as many people and schools as possible, which was especially important to the Harvard Ed Portal and Ceramics Studio, who have sponsored our whole show and let us use their space,” Ingerman said. Submissions came not only from the College, but also the Graduate School of Design, Extension School, Law School, Business School, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Maia L. Suazo-Maler ’19, who attended the exhibition opening, said she appreciated the breadth of the show. “I thought it was a really cool balance, both of undergrad and grad work, and of static and moving art. They had performance art and also paintings, and photos, and sculptures, and other media,” she said.
Ingerman pointed out that artists at Harvard can have difficulty showcasing their talents for a variety of reasons. “It’s a space, time, money issue,” she said.
Lynton agreed that Harvard would benefit from offering more resources for showcasing student artwork on campus. “I would like to see more student-organized events on campus supporting the arts, because a big part of creating your own art on a college campus is feeling like you have a community that supports you,” she said.
This year, the Harvard Student Art Show collaborated with the Harvard Ed Portal, a community center offering educational opportunities to Allston-Brighton residents of all ages, and the Ceramics Program. This collaboration provided the show with its first professional gallery setting to exhibit works of all media.
Lynton explained how the show originally became involved with the Ed Portal. “They reached out to us asking to collaborate, and we couldn't turn down this amazing space. In the past we’ve been in a hodge podge of spaces like classrooms,” she said. She added that, in addition to the space, the Harvard Ed Portal and Ceramics Program proved to be helpful advisers to the directors and board.
Due to space limitations, not all submissions could be displayed. According to the directors, the board was overwhelmed by the number of submissions received, a total of 300 pieces. In the end, 50 works made the final cut. Instead of centering on a theme, the show endeavored to showcase the most creative of the submissions they received.
Suazo-Maler saw this mission manifest in the works on display. “I thought it was cool to see what people on campus are up to and what they can produce with their creativity,” she said.
Lynton spoke to the progression of the show over the years of its existence on campus. “The Harvard Student Art Show has evolved so much over the past nine years,” Lynton said. “It's grown and grown, and we've tried to take advantage of the trend in the administration of moving towards funding. I think this year legitimizes our organization, because until recently, we weren't officially recognized by the College.”
Staff writer Rebecca H. Dolan contributed reporting.