MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Office of the Arts


In the sixth year of the Office of the Arts, Arts Communication published and disseminated accurate, up-to-date information on MIT's arts programs and events while successfully promoting and cultivating awareness of the arts at MIT, both within and outside the Institute. Significant accomplishments included the introduction of two new publications, a direct mail campaign to prospective students (in collaboration with the Admissions Office), and increased local media coverage, particularly in the Boston Globe and by local public radio stations.

Internal (MIT)
Arts Communication published the first professionally-produced "Student's Guide to the Arts," designed to raise student awareness of MIT's arts programs, activities, and resources, and to encourage student participation in these programs and activities. In the first effort of its kind to communicate directly with prospective MIT students, copies of the new Guide were sent with a letter from Associate Provost for the Arts Ellen T. Harris to individual high school students who had been accepted to MIT as "early admits" and had indicated interests in the arts. Student's Guides were distributed internally to targeted distribution sites, arts representatives, and administrative staff members.

Arts Communication published a new arts brochure ("The Arts at MIT") for general fundraising and general public relations purposes. In addition to external distribution through Arts Communication and the office of the Associate Provost for the Arts, internal distribution was made to members of Academic Council and the Creative Arts Council, Resource Development, the School of Humanities and Social Science, and targeted individuals.

The "Student's Guide to the Arts" and "The Arts at MIT" were selected for display at the Best of New England design show at the Massachusetts College of Art, presented by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA).

For the sixth year, Arts Communication produced the weekly Arts Page in Tech Talk. Nineteen feature Arts Pages and eight Month-at-a-Glance Arts Pages were produced by Lynn Heinemann (writer) and Susan Cohen (designer). Arts Page stories and arts information were made available on-line through Tech Info and, for the first time, the World Wide Web. Student photographers were hired to document campus arts events for the Arts Page and other on-campus publications, and the office's growing collection of photographs was used widely in various MIT publications and by the media. Copies of the Month-at-a-Glance arts page were mailed monthly to over 700 individuals at their request.

The number of feature stories and photos on MIT arts news and events in Tech Talk's general spaces increased to 30, more than twice as many as in previous years. Authors included the director of arts communication, members of the News Office staff, and members of the MIT arts community.

Arts Communication continued to oversee ArtsNet, which grew to a total of 100 campus arts representatives, the "Arts at MIT" bulletin board in Lobby 7, and the weekly "Arts Hotline" (253-ARTS).

IAP activities included over 100 arts-related programs, workshops, and performances. Separate listings of arts events occuring during IAP were prepared by Arts Communication and distributed throughout the Institute.

Proceedings from the conference, "The Public Patron: drafting a mandate for a federal arts agency," presented in June 1993 by the Office of the Arts, continuted to be distributed to local and national arts leaders, members of the media, and members of Congress.

Local and National Media Attention
Arts Media Calendars were produced and mailed monthly to 272 members of the electronic and print media. Press releases and posters were produced for major events and announcements, and mailed locally and nationally to targeted writers and media sources.

Local media attention given to MIT artists-in-residence included enthusiastic previews and coverage of a joint appearance by Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner; Puerto Rico's Ballets de San Juan; the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company; the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey; and the Endellion String Quartet. The Boston Globe hailed the return engagement of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, co-sponsored, they noted, by "MIT's adventurous Office of the Arts."

The MIT residency of 1995 Abramowitz Lecturer Steve Reich received extensive press coverage, including a photo in the Boston Globe's "Names and Faces" column and an appearance by Reich and MIT Associate Professor Evan Ziporyn on WGBH-FM's "Boston Performances" with Richard Knisely. Reich's concert with MIT students and Ziporyn was praised by the Boston Globe as a "feast lovingly prepared by all involved" who "flew at Reich's music with white-hot energy and concentration."

Arts Communication was highly successful in promoting the premiere of the collaborative oratorio, Reckoning Time: A Song of Walt Whitman, by Profs. Alan Brody (text) and Peter Child (music), commissioned by John Oliver. The extensive pre-performance press coverage included an appearance by Brody with author/Whitman biographer Justin Kaplan on Christopher Lydon's popular talk show, "The Connection" on WBUR-FM, an appearance by Child on WGBH-FM's "Boston Performances" with Richard Knisely; and an article by music critic Richard Dyer beginning on page one of the Sunday Boston Globe's Arts Section. A glowing review/feature story appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, accompanied by color photos of the artists in rehearsal. The Globe gave a positive review to the work as well.

MIT-related arts announcements covered in the local media included the resignation of Ellen T. Harris as MIT's first Associate Provost for the Arts, the awarding of the Killian Award to John Harbison, and Harbison's promotion to Institute Professor.

The List Visual Arts Center received extensive media coverage and praise for their 1994-95 exhibitions. War and Memory, the joint show of works by married artists Nancy Spero and Leon Golub, was rated the List's "the most involving show this season," (Bay Windows); the Boston Globe said that the idea of exhibiting the couple in tandem "is such a natural, one can only wonder why no one did it before." The hologram exhibition at the MIT Museum was the subject of feature stories in the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Cambridge Tab.

MIT's Gamelan Galak Tika was the subject of a feature story on WBUR-FM, and earned high reviews from local media from local as well as New York City media for performances ranging from the MIT Student Center to the Lincoln Center Bang on a Can Festival.

Reviews for the MIT Concert Choir under the direction of John Oliver included one from the Boston Globe's Richard Dyer who called a performance "one in which experience and taste were enlivened by genuine enthusiasm and even excitability. ...The MIT Concert Choir ... has cherishable qualities...--good discipline, complete engagement with the piece and fresh, glistening unspoilt voices."

In a discussion of "Music and Science" on WBUR-FM's, "The Connection," Christopher Lydon spoke favorably about music at MIT, praising the MIT Symphony while he wondered rhetorically, "why is it that so many MIT students are also great violinists?"

"[MIT is] a school that is as passionate about its rumbas and sambas as it is about ROMS and RAMS," said a Boston Magazine article (April 1995) on Boston "Swing Kids" which featured members of the MIT Ballroom Dance Club.

Theater and music at MIT was prominently featured in an article on "Boston Stage" in the November-December 1994 issue of Endless Vacation magazine, complete with a full-page photograph of MIT students in the Dramashop production of David Henry Hwang's FOB.


Prof. Alan Lightman's latest novel, Good Benito, received glowing reviews nation-wide; advance praise was given to Shaping Time: Music, the Brain and Performance by Prof. David Epstein, who discussed the book on WBUR-FM's "The Connection"; the Boston Globe gave rave reviews to compositions by Prof. John Harbison, including the song cycle, Mottetti di Montale, and his new Oboe Concerto; Aardvark Steps Out, a new CD by lecturer in music Mark Harvey, received enthusiastic reviews in the recent Penguin Guide to Jazz; Prof. Marcus Thompson was viola soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in a performance taped for rebroadcast on National Public Radio's "Performance Today"; WERS-FM broadcast cuts from recordings by the Logarhythms and the Chorallaries at MIT, while the Muses performed live in the studio; the cast of the Gilbert & Sullivan Players' production of The Mikado presented a live preview on WERS-FM's "Standing Room Only."

Mary L. Haller


In its fifth year, Special Programs further refined and solidified the Artist in Residence Program model within the School of Arts and Humanities, began a major long term initiative to integrate artists into the Schools of Science and Engineering, and expanded its role as a collaborative producer of significant and diverse programs with local cultural agencies.

School Of Humanities And Social Science
In collaboration with the Theater Arts Section, the Office of the Arts marked the tenth anniversary of the Program in Women Studies with the production of a rare stage appearance of performer Lily Tomlin and writer/director Jane Wagner. A Writer-in-Residence Program is planned with Jane Wagner. Additional collaboration on the maladjustments film and theater series and the Myrna Vazquez Theater Project written and directed by Rosa Marquez garnered a strong program identity with feminist, gay, lesbian and non-mainstream audiences.

Two significant residencies within the Music Section enabled committed faculty and students to realize the benefits of long term and in-depth study and rehearsal of both an individual composer's work and the repertoire of a string quartet. The compositions of Steve Reich, one of the fathers of 20th century music, were scrupulously studied and performed by students in the course of the fall and spring semesters through support of the 1995 William L. Abramowitz Program. Reich coached a student ensemble performance of Tehillim, one of his most difficult works, and a full concert of his works was performed by MIT students, faculty and Reich himself. The Endellion String Quartet from England mobilized music faculty and students through intensive individual and group chamber music coaching sessions and several well-attended concert programs. Both watershed programs re-affirmed the value of in-depth, long-term Residencies and the impact of direct contact with professional artists.

Science And Engineering Initiatives
Five artists realized successful programs of varying lengths and in several different departments. Felice Frankel, photographer, former biologist and Guggenheim Fellow who is interested in the aesthetic depiction of scientific research and material surfaces worked at the Edgerton Center. Through seminars with students and contacts with individual faculty, she is slowly educating faculty about the importance of the aesthetic depiction of their research. Her work was recently on the cover of Science and internal MIT materials.

As artist-in-residence, kinetic sculptor Arthur Ganson engaged one of the largest audiences to date for an MIT Museum-sponsored exhibit in Compton Gallery (mechanical e motions A large number of engineering faculty and students attended several artist talks in the gallery as well as Ganson's over-subscribed IAP course How Many MIT Students Does It Take To Turn On A Lightbulb? The first year of this long-term residency at MIT showed much promise for a continued partnership with Ganson. Under the sponsorship of Professor Ely Sachs, Jill Smith and Phil Dench, a team of designers/computer programmers from Australia, advanced new techniques in three-dimensional modeling which are now being integrated into the broad based Three-Dimensional Printing Project. Ms. Smith brought into the 3-D project the support and participation of Pfaltzgraff, a significant ceramics manufacturer. The Residency continues in the 1995-96 academic year.

Chuck Hoberman, sculptor and architect of deployable, unfolding structures, conducted a two-day residency in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Architecture on the uniqueness of the mechanics of deployable structures. A return Residency is planned.

Community Collaborations
Collaborations with many local agencies have been very successful. The fourth year of working with IBA Arte Y Cultura was marked by the successful return of Los Munequitos de Matanzas and the joint curatorship of a summer world music program for Lincoln Center's Out of Doors Series. A pilot program, Barriga Llena, Corazon Contento/Full Belly Happy Heart with IBA Arte Y Cultura, expanded the opportunity for student and faculty engagement with local community arts through interviews and the collective creation of a new theater text based on a recipe for healthy community. New partnerships with feminist organizations such as Next Stage Theater and The Arts Company have broadened programmatic offerings, and additional partnerships with the Boston Center for the Arts and Northeastern University continue to strengthen MIT's position as a leader in the Boston arts scene. Existing partnerships with the Cambridge-based Dance Umbrella, the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center and World Music have expanded to include more participation by visiting artists in the MIT curriculum.

Maureen Costello


The Council for the Arts at MIT completed an active, inspiring year. Although greatly saddened by the loss of our founder, Jerome B. Wiesner, the Council continued in the refinement of its work in standing and prize committees, and development of new initiatives to foster student engagement with the arts. The Council was honored this year by the invitation of John W. Kunstadter `49, Chairman, and Martin N. Rosen `62, Vice Chairman to serve as honorary members of the Provost's search committee for the Associate Provost for the Arts, and the bestowal on the Council of a 1995 Presidential Citation for its distinguished service to the institution.


Annual Meeting (Catherine N. Stratton, Chair)
Led by Catherine N. Stratton, the Annual Meeting committee planned and executed a splendid and informative event, the Twenty-Third Annual meeting, on October 20 and 21, 1994. Eighty-eight Council Members and guests attended. The meeting was organized to highlight one of the six curricular arts disciplines at MIT (architecture, media arts, music, theater, visual arts, writing). Music was chosen as the curricular focus of the 1994 Annual Meeting. President Charles M. Vest and Provost Mark S. Wrighton addressed the Council on MIT affairs, and Associate Provost for the Arts Ellen T. Harris delivered her annual "State of the Arts" address at the Friday morning business meeting in Killian Hall.

Also at the Friday morning session it was announced that the Roy Lamson Memorial Fund had commissioned works from MIT Music and Theater Arts faculty members Edward Cohen, Elena Ruehr and Evan Ziporyn, to be performed at the second Roy Lamson concert to be held in the 1995-96 academic year. The fund also commissioned program notes from Professor Lowell Lindgren.

Council members and guests were treated to an eclectic student recital featuring a jazz quintet consisting of: Eric Scheirer (G), Damon Bramble `97, Sol Douglas `95, Ali Azerbayajani (G), Mike Protz `96 and performances by pianist Julia Rosolovsky `97, flutist Sara Gaucher `96, and a cappella singing group the Chorallaries of MIT, headed by Erin McCoy `95.

The Eugene McDermott Award and the Gyorgy Kepes Fellowship Prize were presented, respectively, to Tan Dun, a Chinese-born avant garde composer based in New York City, and Peter Child, Associate Professor in the Music and Theater Arts Section (see Special Programs below).

Development (Martin N. Rosen `62, Chair ad hoc)
Sixty-two Council members provided unrestricted contributions averaging $2,850. Twenty-six non-member donors contributed unrestricted gifts averaging $943. The total raised was $201,265. In addition to unrestricted gifts, 17 members provided designated contributions totaling $318,800 to other MIT arts programs, including support for the endowment and programs at the List Visual Arts Center and exhibitions at the MIT Museum; the Wasserman Forum on Contemporary Art; and the "Student Playwrights in Performance" series developed by the Theater Arts faculty.

Contributions were also designated to a "Special Project" undertaken by the Council's Executive Committee as a $50,000 commitment. This year, pledge payments were completed on the commitment to the MIT Museum's holography collection.

Grants Program (Bradford M. Endicott `49, Chair)
Under the leadership of Chairman Bradford M. Endicott `49, grants were awarded to projects ranging from new robes for the MIT Gospel Choir to the support of a studio workshop in Beijing for MIT architecture students. The committee implemented a three-round schedule this year, crafted to afford the committee members the chance to meet with the heads of arts programs on campus to discuss a more pro-active role for the Council in commissioning works or initiating projects and programs.

The Grants Committee considered many applications for support of arts projects, submitted by MIT students, staff, and faculty. From its annual allocation, the committee recommended funding of 23 projects, with grants totaling $61,181. Eight Director's Grant proposals were reviewed by the Council Director and awarded a total of $1,645.

List Visual Arts Center (LVAC) Advisory Committee (Kitty Glantz, Chair)
The LVAC Advisory Committee, composed of Council members, MIT faculty, and outside museum professionals, held four meetings during the 1994-95 academic year. The Committee allocated $15,000 of Council funds to the LVAC Director as discretionary income. Kitty Glantz was chosen as chairman after the committee's original chair, Ruth Bowman, stepped down. At the end of the academic year, the advisory committee "spun off" from the Council for the Arts, and was re-defined as a committee under the LVAC's aegis. Ms. Glantz will report on the disbursement of the allocation to the Executive Committee of the Council for the Arts at MIT.

Membership (Bernard G. Palitz '47, Chair)
At the conclusion of the 1994-95 academic year, Council membership stands at 78, excluding five ex officio members and two Life members. Six individuals accepted appointment to the Council upon the invitation of President Vest: Priscilla "Pat" Blum, Claude Brenner '47, Ina Gordon, Marjory Jacobson, Stephen E. Memishian '70, and Robert B. Millard '73.

With deep sadness this report must note the passing of Dr. Jerome B. Wiesner, MIT President Emeritus and founder of the Council for the Arts at MIT, on October 21 at the age of 79.

MIT Museum Advisory Board (Harvey I. Steinberg `54, Chair)
The MIT Museum Advisory Board, composed of Council members, MIT faculty, and MIT alumni, held four meetings during the 1994-95 academic year. The board allocated $20,000 of Council funds to the Director of the MIT Museum as discretionary income. Over the course of the year, the committee witnessed the development of the holography lab in the basement of Building N52, which will eventually become a "make your own hologram" facility, and MIT Museum staffperson Kara Schneiderman demonstrated the impressive capabilities of putting the Museum collection "on-line." At the end of the academic year, however, the board "spun off" from the Council for the Arts, re-defined as a committee under the Museum's aegis, with Mr. Steinberg reporting to the Council's Executive Committee on decisions made about the allocation.


Museum Membership Program
Since 1980, the Council has underwritten MIT's enrollment in the University Membership Program offered by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. This program provides free admission and discount benefits to all MIT undergraduate and graduate students, as well as ten membership cards for the daily use of MIT faculty and staff.

Boston Symphony Orchestra Program
This year the Council initiated a program similar to the MFA relationship with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. MIT students can obtain, with their student ID, free admittance to Open Rehearsals, Tuesday evening and Friday afternoon concerts on a day-of-show, stand-by basis. This program has proved to be wonderfully successful as well, made evident in the comments the Council has received

from MIT students. In the words of an Electrical Science and Engineering student: "I know next to nothing about music and really appreciate this chance to spend one afternoon a week experiencing and learning ..." and the words of a Management major: "I cannot thank the founders enough for starting such a great program. Also, hearing the BSO play inspired me to pick up the violin again and join the MIT Symphony ....I did not realize how much I missed the music and atmosphere until I saw it again that evening."


The successful Student Performing Arts Excursions Series continued, with each event enjoying full attendance, an average of 35 students per event. The Council sponsored the following: The Woman Warrior, a play based on the eponymous memoir by Maxine Hong Kingston at the Huntington Theater; a trip to the Origins of Impressionism exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; a performance of the jazz great Ornette Coleman; a production of the Oresteia mounted by the American Repertory Theater; the Festival of the Nile, a musical celebration of Egyptian cultural heritage presented by Cambridge's World Music; the premiere performance of Reckoning Time, an oratorio based on the life and poetry of Walt Whitman, written by MIT faculty members Alan Brody and Peter Child, featuring Theater Arts lecturer Michael Ouellette and the John Oliver Chorale; Boston Ballet's American Festival I featuring the work of Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor and Merce Cunningham; Angels in America at the Colonial Theater; New England Conservatory's The Magic Flute; and finally, Pilgrim Theater's The Wild Place, written and performed by MIT Theater Arts faculty members Kim Mancuso and Kermit Dunkelberg.

In addition to the events listed above, Council members Mr. and Mrs. Bradford M. Endicott made possible for an excursion for 45 students to the "Bang On A Can" Marathon, a concert of new music featuring MIT Music Professor Evan Ziporyn and MIT's Gamelan Galak Tika at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center on May 21.


The Council for the Arts was delighted to arrange for a number of MIT student musicians to help the Boston Museum of Fine Arts celebrate its 125th anniversary on May 20, 1995. The MIT/Wellesley Toons, a co-ed a cappella singing group, performed at the West Wing entrance of the museum, treating museum visitors to contemporary popular songs by artists such as Aretha Franklin and James Taylor. Later in the day, the MIT Jazz Quintet, led by Eric Scheirer (G) (Media Arts and Sciences), played works by Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk at the West Wing alcove. The Tapestry Gallery was the setting for the performance of flute duo Sara Gaucher '96 (Chemistry) and Euree Kim '96 (Mechanical Engineering), and pianist Julia Rosolovsky '97 (Chemical Engineering).


The Gyorgy Kepes Fellowship Prize was presented to Peter Child, Associate Professor in the Music and Theater Arts Section, at the Annual Meeting. Also at the Annual Meeting, the Eugene McDermott Award was presented by Ida Ely Rubin (McDermott Award Committee chair) to Tan Dun, a Chinese-born avant garde composer from New York City.

At the Institute Awards Convocation on Monday May 15, the Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner Student Art Awards were presented by Professor Ellen T. Harris to the student officers of Dramashop, Edward W. Kohler Jr. `95 and painter and architecture student Lian Quan Zhen (G). The Louis Sudler Prize was presented to Ms. Erin E. McCoy `95 for her achievement in such diverse musical endeavors as the Chorallaries of MIT and work with MIT's Gamelan Galak Tika.


The fourth Max Wasserman Forum, entitled Facture/Faction: Form and Discontent in Contemporary Art was held on Thursday, October 13, 1994 before a standing-room only audience in the Bartos Theater in the Wiesner Building. A panel of artists/art theorists came to campus to examine the acknowledged shift in contemporary art towards subject matter that addresses personal, political, and social issues at the expense of such formal and aesthetic principles such as craft, quality, and beauty. The panelists were painter Leon Golub; Silvia Kolbowski, photographer and member of editorial board of the journal October; and Peter Schjeldahl, senior art critic at the Village Voice.

Susan R. Cohen

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95