Associate Provost for the Arts
Academic year 2003 was a particularly vibrant one for the arts at MIT.
Michèle Oshima assumed the role of director of special programs with a mandate to refocus the office toward the student population while maintaining strong artist-in-residence scheduling. She and her associate, Nicole Vlado, have done a superb job organizing the complex Freshman Arts Seminar and Advising Program as well as the Council Scholars in the Arts, and creating positions of arts representatives in the dormitories. In addition, they have developed new programs for graduate students.
Glenn Billingsley moved from Resource Development to become the resource development officer for the arts reporting to the associate provost for the arts. Plans were made for the Student Art Association to move from the Campus Activities Center to the Office of the Arts.
The year was also marked by two remarkable theater events: a staged reading of Peter Parnell's play about Richard Feynman, QED, produced in collaboration with the Museum of Science and first performed in Room 10-250 with a panel of scientists and friends of Feynman following the performance; and a workshop performance of McDermott Award winner Vinie Burrows's Rose McClendon, Black on the Great White Way, directed by Alan Brody.
The search for a new director of the MIT Museum failed to yield any viable candidates and has been extended into academic year 2004. Mary Leen continues ably as acting director and David Ellis, former director of Boston's Museum of Science, has agreed to serve as consultant to keep the museum moving forward. Gary Van Zante was appointed as the MIT Museum's curator of architecture and design.
It was also a year for individual honors and achievements. Kathy Goncharov, curator of public art for the List Visual Arts Center (LVAC), was named commissioner of the American Pavilion of the Venice Biennale. She and the entire staff of the LVAC did a superb job of supporting the work of Fred Wilson and his installation, Speak of Me as I Am. Jane Farver, director of the LVAC, was also chosen as curator for the American installation of Paul Pfeiffer's work at the Cairo Biennale. Elena Ruehr's new opera, Toussaint and the Spirits, won unanimous praise in the press. Michael Hawley of the Media Lab won first prize in the Van Cliburn Amateur Piano Contest in Fort Worth, and later was soloist for Tech Night at the Pops. Alan Brody, associate provost for the arts, delivered the John Landrum Bryant lecture, "Playwriting From Memory," at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and later at the Harvard Summer Institute in Forli, Italy. He was also the 2002 recipient of the Kepes Award from the Council for the Arts at MIT.
This was the third year of operations for Teachers as Scholars (TAS), which offers K-12 teachers content-based, two or three-day seminars in the humanities, arts, and sciences as well as interdisciplinary topics, led by university faculty. The associate provost for the arts serves on the TAS Board of Advisors.
Brody also continued to serve as the MIT representative on the board of trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts and a member of the Education Committee of the board. He also participates in the Cultural Task Force of the Boston Foundation.
More information about the Office of the Associate Provost for the Arts can be found on the web at http://web.mit.edu/arts/associate_provost/.