Art revolution opportunities in Allston

Local artist Dushko Petrovich think aloud in today's Globe about the possibilities for the arts in Boston. Harvard has done a lot of thinking about the arts at Harvard and below are some interesting ideas from Mr. Petrovich about how those ideas could be put into action.

How to start an art revolution - The Boston Globe
What if Harvard established a fine arts degree, offering teaching positions to internationally known artists and providing their students warehouse studios in Allston?

For a relatively small investment, the university could convert some of its holdings in Allston into a program that would bring in world-class artists (with their ambitious students), make better use of its soon-to-be-unified museum system, and put the school on par with Yale and Columbia universities, which already have highly influential masters of fine arts programs. This would not only transform a neighborhood and raise the cultural profile of the school, it would be exactly the kind of gesture that could rouse the city’s other players into action.

What if one of the universities helped the ICA secure a satellite location in a cheaper neighborhood, the way New York’s Museum of Modern Art runs the dynamic P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Queens? Imagine ICA Lower Allston.


  1. Anonymous5:43 PM

    I read Duschko Petrovich's "How to start an art revolution" with great interest, and thought that the article contained many good ideas. It reminded me of an event I attended I had two years ago in Washington, DC and I thought I would pass this along as another possible idea. Since there was no contact information for Mr. Duschko in the Globe article, I'm using this forum as the vehicle to contact him - please pass it along. The event was called "Artomatic" . I believe it was a weeklong event that took place in an office building that was under construction. It was weather tight, heated/AC, and with functioning rest rooms and elevators, but otherwise bare bones. Paintings, sculpture, poetry readings, music, dance, and refreshments were served up on perhaps 6 floors. There was a charge to get in. It was well attended in the afternoon when we went, and I understand the place was mobbed at night. It seemed to be a great vehicle for promoting the local art scene, and is held annually. For more on Artomatic 2010, contact:
    . I also suggest checking out the Washington, DC Metro Arts website
    , it appears to be a good one-stop directory for the arts in the DC area. I hope this information is helpful, good luck in your endeavors.

  2. I doubt Harvard has an interest in an undergraduate fine arts degree along the line of what he suggests.

    Harvard considers itself an academic institution, not a trade school. Hence it offers undergraduate degrees in music but not music performance, visual and environmental studies but only a more limited "studio arts" option within it, economics but not business (like accounting), etc.

    A hundred years ago Harvard unsuccessfully tried to pawn off all its engineering to MIT. For many years it had only limited engineering opportunities for undergraduates; only a few years ago did it form a school of engineering.

    Harvard does, however, offer many of these "trades" at the graduate level. Suggestions for Harvard to expand those programs are more likely to find traction.

  3. Mike,

    Your description of undergrad arts at Harvard as it is differs quite a bit from what Faust's Arts Task Force aspires for it to be:

    "First, the arts should have a greatly enhanced place in the undergraduate curriculum. That is, students should be actively encouraged to engage in the practice of art, not only as an incidental pleasure but also as an integral part of their formal education at Harvard. To this end, we recommend that an art-making component be incorporated into the General Education curriculum, both in the current “Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding” category and, where possible, in a wider range of areas. More generally, we urge the integration of arts practice in relevant courses across the undergraduate curriculum. The making of art, we believe, should be understood to be an essential element in the cognitive training of our students...

    The broad-based incorporation of arts practice into the curriculum should be accompanied by a significant effort to ensure that those courses specifically dedicated to art-making are readily accessible to interested and qualified undergraduates. Harvard students should be able to receive a full and progressive range of instruction—from elementary and introductory classes to advanced workshops—in a wide range of arts practice."