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A Guide to Art at HBS and Beyond

Lydia Yao

Art may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about HBS, but you would be misguided if you didn’t take in some of the cultural gems right in your backyard while you’re here. From major museums to off-the-beaten path galleries, here is a guide to the best art picks around you.

On Campus – The Schwartz Collection
Take a moment to look around you next time you step foot in Aldrich, Spangler, Shad, or Hawes. The Schwartz Collection decorates the walls of HBS. The collection began in 1998, when Gerry Schwartz (MBA ‘70), Founder and CEO of Onex Corporation, contributed art to the school with the goal of inspiring students and provoking conversation.

This initiative quickly grew to benow one of the largest contemporary art collections at Harvard, featuring emerging artists from around the world. It now hasWith now more than 250 pieces, and the collection continues to grow every year. The art sparked the creation of the Art Society student club at HBS in 2001, and every year, members of the club accompany Mr. Schwartz and his team on a trip to New York City galleries to purchase additional art for the campus.

Cambridge – Harvard Art Museum reopens after $350m renovation
On November 16th, the Harvard Art Museums will finally reopen to the public after closing its doors for renovation six years ago. The $350 million renovation and expansion is bringing all three art museums–Fogg Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, and Arthur M. Sackler Museum–under one roof for the first time. Look out closer to the opening date for special preview events for Harvard students.

If you’re interested in performing arts or film, there are several great venues in Harvard Square to check out, including Sanders Theater (orchestra), Brattle Theater (art-house film), and the American Repertory Theater (plays and musicals).

The Cambridge art tour doesn’t stop there: the boundary-pushing List Visual Arts Center at MIT features changing pieces that explore contemporary art across various media, including their current exhibition on producing sound through sculptural forms.

Boston – A thriving and growing contemporary art scene
Venture further into Boston, and you’ll find a wealth of culture, from major art museums to commercial galleries on Newbury Street. Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum are some of the most well-known and respected museums in the world.

On the first Friday of every month, the MFA and ICA keep their doors open late for social events for Boston’s young professionals. Cocktails and music add a whole new dimension to the experience of seeing these art collections.

One of the more unique destinations in Boston is Fort Point. This neighborhood is home to over 300 artists and makes up one of the largest creative communities in New England. Every October and May, Fort Point hosts Open Studios, a chance to explore the workspaces and meet painters, jewelers, ceramicists, sculptors and other artists.

And finally, in just the last year, Boston has seen a push for alternative art. Pop-up galleries, underground art shows, and art-meets-food concepts like Voltage Coffee and ArtBar in Kendall Square, and Liquid Art House in Back Bay present unexpected ways to experience art. If you’re interested in these offbeat finds, the Art Society is a great way to stay updated on what’s happening in the arts scene.

Perhaps you didn’t come to HBS for the thriving art scene, but art can be a meaningful addition to your experience here. As busy as business school can be, a few moments spent appreciating art can start a creative spark, provoke a conversation, or, in the words of Gerry Schwartz, “make you think about a problem differently.”

September 8, 2014
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