MIT Reports to the President 1997-98



In the ninth year of the Office of the Arts, Arts Communication published and disseminated up-to-date information on MIT's arts programs and events while promoting and cultivating awareness of the arts at MIT, both within and outside the Institute. Significant projects included the further cultivation of press contacts that led to the placement of MIT arts stories in national publications including The Chronicle of Higher Education, National Public Radio, Wall Street Journal and The New York Times; a national press mailing about the Council for the Arts at MIT on the occasion of their 25th anniversary; and the further development and design of the "arts at MIT" web site.


For the third year in a row, MIT's admission application included tear-out postcards for prospective students to request information on the arts at MIT and indicate specific arts interests. Postcards were returned from 2,239 individuals and a copy of the Student's Guide to the Arts was sent to each with a letter from Associate Provost for the Arts Alan Brody. Students who were eventually admitted and who had indicated interests in theater were sent congratulatory letters from Professor Peter Child and Associate Professor Janet Sonenberg giving specific information on opportunities in theater at MIT. Admitted students with interests in music were sent congratulatory letters from Professor Child with information on opportunities in music at MIT.

For the ninth year, Arts Communication provided text and images for the weekly Arts Page in Tech Talk. Material for 21 feature Arts Pages and eight Month-at-a-Glance Arts Pages were compiled and written by Lynn Heinemann, edited by Mary Haller. The director of arts communication attended weekly News Office meetings and continued to work closely with its staff. Arts Page stories were made available on-line through the World Wide Web. Copies of the Month-at-a-Glance Arts Page (including two two-pagers) were mailed monthly to 815 individuals at their request.

Twelve feature arts-related stories and seven arts-related photos-with-captions were published in Tech Talk's general spaces, including two stories and two arts photos on the front page. Authors included Mary Haller and Lynn Heinemann of the Office of the Arts, members of the News Office staff and members of the MIT arts community.

MIT arts-related photos continued to be prominent in The Tech, with many appearing on the cover of the paper --due, in part, to a partnership cultivated with The Tech's photo editor, graduate student Gábor Csányi. Through Mr. Csányi, Arts Communication also continued to add to its collection of stock photographs.

A World Wide Web site for the arts at MIT was maintained, publicized and linked to numerous other Web pages and sites by Lynn Heinemann. Design elements were added to the site.

Arts Communication worked with MIT arts departments and programs to update arts information for the MIT Student Tour Guide Manual and the Self-Guided Walking Tour of the MIT Campus.

As part of a subcommittee of the Creative Arts Council formed "to articulate the role of the arts at MIT in relation to the changing nature of undergraduate education at MIT," the Director of Arts Communication prepared a discussion and outline of MIT arts accomplishments in the ten years since the Joskow Report was released. It was submitted to the Council in the late Fall of 1997 in a report, "The Arts at MIT: Prospects and Accomplishments."

Arts Communication continued to oversee ArtsNet, which consists of about 90 campus arts representatives, the "Arts at MIT" bulletin board in Lobby Seven and the weekly "Arts Hotline" (253-ARTS).


Calendar listings of MIT arts events were produced and mailed monthly to 279 members of the electronic and print media. Press releases were produced for major events and announcements and mailed locally and nationally to targeted writers and media sources.

Recognizing that MIT can now boast three substantial programs in "world music" (Gamelan Galak Tika, MITCAN and MITHAS) which offer public performances, Arts Communication, for the second year, presented these concerts together as a series through ads placed in both the Fall '97 and Winter/Spring '98 World Music program booklets and through flyers that were mailed locally and distributed at MIT music events.

Press attention was also cultivated for MIT's world music programs: Boston Globe "calendar picks" were given to the April 1998 World Music Weekend and to many of the performances sponsored by MITHAS. The Oct. 29 broadcast of WGBH-TV's "Greater Boston Arts" included a short "calendar" segment featuring MIT's Gamelan Galak Tika filmed at one of their rehearsals in the new Endicott World Music Center in conjunction with their Nov. 15 performance. The Boston Herald noted that "In a quietly consistent way, MIT has been contributing to Boston's growing international music scene for several years."

As the result of a major press mailing and follow-up by Arts Communication, the Council for the Arts at MIT (CAMIT) was recognized in the press on the occasion of their 25th anniversary. The Boston Globe led their Oct. 27 "Party Lines" column with coverage -- including several photographs -- of the Council's Silver Anniversary Ball at the Museum of Fine Arts. An article in The Wall Street Journal focused on the Council's Grant Program and another in The Tab reported that "...For the last 25 years, the Council for the Arts at MIT has been quietly building a reputation for artistic exploration that's much akin to the institute's technological pursuits." The Tab concluded, "Whether the Council is renovating practice rooms, helping sponsor boundary-pushing exhibits at the List, or making project grants that reward innovations, its impact could be measured like a scientific model of ripples: each dollar given goes far beyond its worth in the lives of students and ultimately in the life of the city."

Local media attention was cultivated for various MIT artists-in-residence and guest artists:

Additional people and projects across the Institute receiving outside press attention through the efforts of Arts Communication included:

Other people and programs receiving press attention included Associate Provost for the Arts and playwright Alan Brody (for his play The Housewives of Mannheim); Institute Professor and composer John Harbison; Center for Advanced Visual Studies alum Chris Janney (for a collaboration with dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov), Associate Professor and composer Evan Ziporyn; sophomore Charlie Korsmo (co-starring in the film Can't Hardly Wait); Affiliated Artist Jean Rife; the Musical Theatre Guild's production of Blood Brothers and the List Visual Arts Center (received numerous positive reviews of their exhibitions, chosen to organize installation at next Venice Biennale).

More information about the Office of the Arts can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

Mary L. Haller


This year was a busy and exciting one for the Council for the Arts at MIT. Among the highlights: the Silver Anniversary Annual Meeting; the creation of the Arts Scholars Program; the appointment of a new chairman and vice-chair; the Arts Holiday: London excursion in May; and a bumper crop of new members, resulting in a grand total of 100 (including ex officio members).


Annual Meeting (Dorothea Endicott, chair). The Council for the Arts celebrated its 25th Anniversary in grand style on October 23 and 24, 1997 with a gala dinner-dance in the Koch Gallery at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Council member Kitty Carlisle Hart delighted the dinner attendees (over 170 people strong) with her one woman show My Life on the Wicked Stage. Another Annual Meeting highlight was the dedication of the Endicott World Music Center, donated by Bradford '49 and Dorothea Endicott and devoted to the study of World Music.

At the Friday morning business meeting Martin Rosen '62 was officially welcomed as the new Chairman of the Council, and John Kunstadter was thanked for his dedicated service as past Chairman. Alan Brody announced the Council's "Special Project": the formation of a program for students, loosely based on MIT's Burchard Scholars in the Humanities, to be called Council for the Arts at MIT Arts Scholars (see Special Programs below).

The Eugene McDermott Award and the Gyorgy Kepes Fellowship Prize were presented, respectively, to Toni Dove, New York based media artist, and Professor Stephen Benton, head of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies and E. Rudge Allen Professor of Media Arts and Sciences (see Special Programs below).

Communications (Pepi Weis, chair). The Communications committee produced three issues of the Council newsletter, Council Currents, this year, to great success. Currents is written by Council members, for Council members.

Development (Daniel Vershbow '45, chair). Seventy-five Council members provided unrestricted contributions averaging $3,430. Fifteen non-member donors contributed unrestricted gifts averaging $595. The total raised was $266,200. In addition to unrestricted gifts, 14 Council members gave a total of $391,523 to other MIT arts projects.

Grants Program (Bradford M. Endicott '49, chair). Under the leadership of Chairman Bradford M. Endicott '49, $65,000 in the form of 38 grants were awarded to projects such as a bagpipe recital held in honor of Scottish poet Robert Burns' birthday; funds for the development of an oral history videotape on the life and work of the late Lawrence B. Anderson '30 (former head of Architecture and member of the Council for the Arts); and the recording of Professor David Epstein's farewell concert as conductor of the MIT Symphony Orchestra.

Membership (Bernard G. Palitz '47, chair). At the writing of this report (7/98), Council membership stands at 95, plus five ex officio members. Eight individuals accepted appointment to the Council upon the invitation of President Vest: Marilyn Breslow, Patricia Lamson Chute, Michael Rechtin '70, Brit D'Arbeloff '61, Beth Marcus '86, Darryl Pomicter '68. Anne Street '69, and Stanley Proctor '43. With deep sadness this report must note the passing of Robert Rudy '37, a beloved member of the Council, and longtime supporter of the Theater Arts Section.

Special Events Committee (Catherine N. Stratton, chair). The Special Events committee kicked off its career with a spectacular event, the Arts Holiday: London, a jam-packed four and a half days (28 May - 1 June 1998) full of theater, architecture, visual arts, delicious food and good fellowship. Approximately 40 Council members and guests attended. Kimberly Shilland, the curator of Architectural Collections at the MIT Museum, provided fascinating architectural tours of London, and proved once again that MIT has connections with everything (in this case, the architectural style of the Victorian era). Clive Norris (Sloan Fellow 1992), the head of the MIT Club of Great Britain, gave us a charming welcome at the opening cocktail reception, at which a number of London-area MIT alumni joined the Council members.

List Visual Arts Center (LVAC) Advisory Committee (Kitty Glantz, chair) The List Visual Arts Center enjoyed great critical acclaim with the exhibition entitled Mirror Images: Women, Surrealism and Self-Representation, curated by art historian Whitney Chadwick, Katy Kline and Helaine Posner. The exhibition will go on to travel around the country after it closes on June 28, 1998. The LVAC announced major personnel changes near the end of the fiscal year - Curator Helaine Posner left at the end of May 1998 and Director Katy Kline announced her resignation in late June. Posner has gone on to the International Center of Photography in New York, while Kline will be the director of the Bowdoin College Museum in Brunswick, ME.

MIT Museum Advisory Board (Harvey I. Steinberg '54, chair). A new director was chosen for the Museum this year. Jane Pickering, former curator for the Royal College of Surgeons in the United Kingdom, will take up the reins in September.

Artist-in-Residence Committee (Stephen Memishian '70, chair). Organized along the lines of the MIT Museum and LVAC Boards described above. This committee works with MIT Office of the Arts Director of Special Programs Maureen Costello and a panel of arts professionals, Council Members and artists to bring artists to the MIT campus to work throughout the Institute.


A very exciting program was established this year: the Council for the Arts at MIT Arts Scholars Program. The Arts Scholars will be a group of 25-30 undergraduates who will meet each month for a program on the arts (a lecture, a visit to a performance with a backstage tour, or the opportunity for the student artists themselves to share their work with their peers, etc.) and dinner. Council members and MIT arts faculty will also attend the monthly meetings. The goal of the program is to create a community of student artists, from all of the arts disciplines taught at MIT, who otherwise would have little opportunity to meet each other. The students are chosen by a committee made up of one faculty member and one Council member with expertise in each of the branches of the arts taught at MIT, namely music, architecture, writing, visual arts, media arts and theater. The first meeting of the committee as a whole took place on May 15, resulting in all 23 applicants being accepted as the inaugural class of Council Scholars.

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.

The free-ticket program with the Boston Symphony Orchestra continued this year. MIT students can obtain, with their student ID, free admittance to Open Rehearsals, Thursday evening and Friday afternoon concerts on a day-of-show, stand-by basis. The success of this unique program continues unabated.

The successful Student Performing Arts Excursions Series continued, with each event enjoying full attendance, an average of 50 students per event. The Council provided tickets to see the Huntington Theatre production of Game of Love and Chance and ART's production of Brecht's In the Jungle of Cities; World Music's presentation of the Balé Folclorico de Bahia; Boston Baroque's presentations of L'Allegro/Messiah and Classical Masters (works of Mozart and Bach); Alan Brody's Housewives of Mannheim; a recital by cellist Carlos Prieto '58 at the Boston Conservatory; a performance by Luis Alfaro presented by the Theater Offensive; the Mark Morris and Alvin Ailey dance troupes; and Pilgrim Theatre's Guys Dreamin'.

The Gyorgy Kepes Fellowship Prize was presented by Alan Brody to Professor Stephen Benton at the Annual Meeting luncheon on Friday October 24. At the gala Annual Meeting ball, the Eugene McDermott Award was presented by Dorothea Endicott (McDermott Award Committee chair) and Glorianna Davenport (Ms. Dove's nominator) to Toni Dove, media artist, who will be returning to MIT in the fall of 1998 to work with students in the Media Lab.

At the Institute Awards Convocation on May 13, Associate Provost for the Arts Alan Brody presented the Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner Student Art Awards to Elaine Chew (G) and Kevin Simmons '98 . The Louis Sudler Prize was presented to Stephen Tistaert '98 for his achievement as a musician.

More information about the Council for the Arts can be found at the following URL:

Susan R. Cohen


Special Programs created a distinguished Advisory Board for the Artist-in-Residence Program. Artists-in-residence continued to gain national prominence. Felice Frankel, artist-in-residence at the Edgerton Center in the School of Engineering, received national recognition for her book and touring exhibition of science photographs, both entitled On the Surface of Things. Kinetic sculptor Arthur Ganson was selected to design the prestigious Lemelson Prize for Invention and Innovation.


In the Artist-in-Residence Program's seventh year, an Advisory Board was created to both strengthen the mission of the program and to consider how to expand as an endowment is raised. The Board is chaired by Steve Memishian G'70, and distinguished membership includes MIT faculty members such as Paul Joskow, Economics; former director of the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe Florence Ladd; and ceramic artist Jim Melchert, who created the mural in MIT's Biology Building. Substantial time was devoted to the cultivation of the Board, which met three times in its first year.

A contribution was made to the Artist-in-Residence Program Endowment in memory of Alan Katzenstein'42.


The Office of the Arts joined the Latin American Politics and Performance Consortium along with the David Rockefeller Center at Harvard, the New York University Tisch School of the Performing Arts, and Dartmouth College. A symposium entitled The Paucartambo Project: Andean Popular Religiosity in Representation was presented at NYU by Professor Brenda Cotto-Escalera, Theater Section; Professor Nicolás Wey-Gómez, Foreign Languages and Literatures; and visiting artists Miguel Rubio, artistic director of Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani and documentary film producer Miguel Villafañe.

The Theater Section Residency Committee developed a three year plan for visiting artists.

The Music Section, in collaboration with MIT Heritage of the Arts of South Asia (MITHAS), offered a three day Residency and concert program with Indian dancer Chitdresh Das.

The Foreign Languages and Literatures Section formed a Residency Committee and commemorated the 100th anniversary of the birth of playwright Bertolt Brecht with a residency program with Holger Teschke, chief dramaturg of the Berliner Ensemble. Scene 13 of Brecht's Galileo Galilei was staged in German and English in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Boston. A symposium on Brecht was presented at the Goethe-Institut.

In collaboration with the Program in Women's Studies, novelist Achy Obejas was keynote speaker at the OutWrite Lite conference on gay and lesbian writers held at MIT. A residency program followed.

A planning symposium for the Race and Cyberspace Conference was held in collaboration with the Media in Transition Project and the Program in Women's Studies.

The Office of the Arts consulted with American Repertory Theater and the Ford Foundation on the development of the Arts and Civic Dialogue Summer Program which is directed by Anna Deveare Smith and includes work with visiting artists Shu Lea Cheang and Donald Byrd.


Toni Dove, 1997 McDermott Awardee, filmmaker and new media artist, began the first of a two part Residency program by meeting with students in the Interactive Cinema group of the Media Lab.


The initiative to create productive pairings between artists and engineers gained momentum. With support from the National Science Foundation, Felice Frankel began the development of a curriculum on visualizing science. Her exhibition of science photography of MIT and Harvard research began its national tour at the American Academy of the Advancement of Science in New York, and continued to Washington DC and several other American cites. Feature articles appeared in Science News and Science.

Arthur Ganson, kinetic sculptor, conducted mechanical engineering classes in his exhibition Gestural Engineering at the MIT Museum and fully participated in Course 2.72, Elements of Mechanical Design. National Public Radio taped a portion of this course for later broadcast. Ganson contributed his artistic viewpoint in Media Lab classes and in the Visual Arts Program. An exhibition of Ganson's work opened at Ricco-Maresca Gallery in New York City. The Chronicle of Higher Education featured a story about Ganson entitled, "Fighting Physics to Engineer Sculpture." "Cybertimes," the New York Times on-line edition and "Circuits" the hardcopy edition also featured stories about Ganson's work.

The Page Hazelgrove Artist-in-Residence Program in the Glass Lab of the Center for Materials Science and Engineering was developed in memory of Page, who passed away very unexpectedly. Peter Ivey opened this program with a public talk and several workshops. Seed funding for an endowment for this program was secured. Fundraising materials were designed.


Susan Gamble and Michael Wenyon, holography and media artists, worked with research scientists at the Observatory. A digital camera was mounted on the observatory rotor to "observe the observers," a theme in a new work to be developed at Haystack and posted on the World Wide Web by Wenyon and Gamble. Wenyon and Gamble spoke about the Haystack Residency during the Physics and Art Exhibition at the Fuller Museum of Art in Brockton, MA.


Eto Otitigbe '99 studied printmaking with the esteemed printmaker Robert Blackburn at The Printmaking Workshop, an internationally acclaimed studio in New York City. Eto worked with professional designers to learn how to create an exhibition of his work for the Wiesner Gallery. Eto received first place in the Schnitzer Award and continued to distinguish himself, being named 1997-98 Cordover Scholar in the Arts.

Two List Fellowships, the first in musical disciplines, were awarded. Sumita Pennathur '00, majoring in Aeronautics and Astronautics studied Karnatic vocal music in India and jazz saxophone locally. Isela Rodriguez '99, of the Urban Studies and Planning Department, took lessons with renowned vocal coach Kamal Scott and showed her progress in mariachi vocal music with a Chapel Concert.

The continuation of the List Fellowship was insured through support from the Office of the Provost while the search for a private donor continues.


Membership in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee ended after six years of service. Membership to the Committee on Campus Race Relations began. RACE 2000! a series on race relations was created and opened with a symposium with activists Professor Noam Chomsky and Kathleen Cleaver. This program was broadcast nationally on C-Span. Film producer Lee Lew-Lee offered a Residency program of public screenings, course visits and talks on his award winning film, All Power to the People! The Black Panther Party and Beyond. Substantial alliances were renewed with diverse students associations in the development of RACE 2000! programming.

The Office of Special Programs received an Multicultural Distinguished Service Award for advancing the cause of race relations at the Institute.

More information about Special Programs in the Office of the Arts can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

Maureen Costello

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98