Taking Advantage of Boston’s Art Scene

Whether you are an art connoisseur or not, Boston’s art museums are a must see. Beautiful exhibitions are scattered all throughout the city and admission is free or discounted for all of them if you are an Emerson student! Here is a quick look at some of the great things these museums have to offer:

Museum of Fine Arts

Admission: Free with your Emerson ID

Must see: Egyptian Art Exhibit

One piece of advice: Plan to spend an entire day at the MFA…maybe even two. The MFA is the most classic museum experience on this list, showcasing a wide variety of artistic styles and classic paintings from different time periods. This museum offers art collections from all across the world to really put into perspective the vast array of artistic styles that exist. There are also photography exhibits, prints, drawings, musical instruments, and jewelry scattered throughout the museum.

It can be overwhelming how much content is inside the MFA, but each room deserves as much attention as the last.

Pottery at the MFA. Credit: Flickr.com

For all sports fans looking for something interesting…there is an exhibition all about David Ortiz that is open from now until September 4th. Tickets must be bought to view this gallery, but anything is worth it for Big Papi, right? Ortiz’s 2013 World Series MVP ring will also be on display, so get a close look while you can!

A rainy day is best spent at the Museum of Fine Arts, or multiple rainy days in a row!

 

ICA – Institute of Contemporary Art

Admission: Student discount with ID

Must See: Nari Ward: Sun Splashed

The ICA is a great place for college students to explore. The exhibits are fun, modern, and sometimes interactive. Each exhibit is important to view, many often presenting social and political issues in unique mediums.

This museum really makes you think about what you are seeing and how it can be interpreted to convey a bigger message. There is also a new exhibit by Dana Schutz being put up right now, set to open July 26th…even more new art to check out!!

ICA at night. Credit: Flickr.com

The large glass building overlooking Boston Harbor could not be more picturesque if it tried, and you could easily spend a whole day enjoying the incredible views. Aside from the amazing art, the ICA also holds outdoor concerts every Friday in July and August. These fun outdoor events feature new DJ’s every week and certain themed events to keep things new and interesting. The ICA always keeps me guessing, and I cannot wait to see what fun thing comes out next.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Admission: Student discount with ID (or free if your name is Isabella!)

Must See: Portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is like something out of a movie. The minute you step inside the museum it feels like you are taken back in time, admiring all of the beautiful paintings and scenery. The inner courtyard is breathtaking, and visible from every angle of the museum.

What makes this museum unique is that Isabella Stewart Gardner actually used to reside in the building before it turned into a museum, and still resembles a home in many ways. The tall ceilings and wooden floors add a homey feel to the artwork which is something you do not see everyday.

I highly recommend reading up on the Gardner heist before visiting, as it adds excitement and a bit of spookiness to your visit.

A great addition to the museum is the modern wing, which is the only part of the museum with changing exhibits. Set aside from the original building, this modern room showcases beautiful artwork and sculptures to add a modern twist. Next to the modern room is also the Gardner Museum’s incredible concert hall, which must be seen in person to truly admire. Isabella Stewart Gardner had a passion for music and this hall keeps her spirit alive in a beautiful space. The concert schedule and ticket options can be found on the museum’s website.

 

The Museum of Bad Art

Admission: Free museum passes can be requested.

Must See: “Dog” By: Unknown

After you have admired all of the famous pieces in the previously listed places…why not lighten the mood with this fun museum?? The MOBA gallery in Somerville is a private institution that is committed to celebrating bad art. Located in the basement of a theater, it is not the most glamorous of exhibits. That being said, it is definitely a memorable experience. It is a one of a kind museum visit and every piece of art is sure to make you chuckle.

Can’t get enough of the bad art? Have no fear, there is now a book available for purchase, “The Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks,” that showcases the worst of the worst, bottom of the barrel pieces of artwork.

Some pieces imitate famous works like the Mona Lisa, and with others it can be hard to decipher what is going on at all…

Quirky and humorous, the MOBA is Boston museum fun for all ages and a great way to lighten the mood after viewing maybe one too many gorey war depictions.

I hope this master list of Boston museum’s inspires you to view some new places and some very cool art.

 

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An Evening With ‘Our Revolution’

On March 31st, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) took the city of Boston by storm when they spoke at the Our Revolution rally at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre. Given the impending Nor’Easter, the crowd at the event was tremendous. Most of the seats in the theater were filled by rally-goers. The orchestra was filled to the brim, and the second-level of the theater was at least ¾ of the way full. Overall, the event boasted an impressive turnout, despite the weather. Online, about three-thousand people RSVP’d—less than the number of people who actually turned out for it, but 3,000+ people would have been far too many people for this rally anyways.

For the people who were there, it probably seemed like a peaceful, easy event to attend. Unlike the rallies I saw during this past election cycle, attendees were able to sit comfortably in the theater and listen to the speakers onstage. Concessions were on sale in the lobby, like you would expect from a space like this. The line to get inside became more chaotic as the night moved closer to the event’s start time, but I’m doubtful anyone was turned away at the door. Anybody who wanted to see Bernie, Elizabeth and the other speakers that preceded them onstage were more than welcome to enter the theater and take a seat.

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A Newbie’s Guide to Subletting

For those of us who come from anywhere outside of New England, you understand the added stress of figuring out where the hell were going to go during the four month break we call summer. Do we go home and sit around with our high school friends, work at our old jobs and get antsy as we mark the days on the calendar till we can come back to school? Or, do we stay in Boston work our jobs here, take summer classes or try to even get an internship?

For those of you who prefer to stay in Boston there comes the added stress (and fun) of looking for a place to stay. Some may be lucky enough to have a friend’s guest room they could crash in over the summer. But if you are like me and don’t have that luck, you are forced to sublet. For those who don’t know what a sublet is, it is basically taking over the leaser’s rent for the months you need to stay in it. The time and price depends on what you coordinate with the owner.

Continue reading “A Newbie’s Guide to Subletting”

No Internship? No Problem!

You go to Emerson College, so odds are when you think of summer, you’re not thinking about lazy days spent relaxing at the beach or the memories you’ll make with family members and friends. Instead, you’re thinking about resume building: how can I get an internship this summer? And what happens if I don’t find one? That’s when the panic sets in. You’ll then find yourself staring at your laptop screen till all hours of the night, trying to perfect your resume and cover letter. Though it might be scary, I’m here to tell you that there is always something productive you can do with your time over summer break.

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Elizabeth Warren is the Politician We Need

Permanent Massachusetts resident or not, it’s likely that you know Elizabeth Warren’s name by now. She’s currently the senior US senator from Massachusetts and is a very prominent figure in the Democratic Party. There’s even talk that she might put in a bid for the presidency in 2020. And for many Emerson students who lean to the political left, the possibility of Elizabeth Warren becoming president in four years is the hope they need right now.

Having grown up in Massachusetts, I have watched Warren rise from a Senate hopeful to a leading voice among the country’s Democrats. Though I might be biased given my political party of choice (hint: I love the color blue), Warren’s journey has undoubtedly been an incredible one. I’m glad to have witnessed it firsthand as a Massachusetts resident.

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Navigating Professional Dress

I spent 3 weeks in professional clothing.

via Tumblr

3 sad, long weeks without leggings, sweatshirts, t-shirts, sneakers, moccasins – basically all of my most loved pieces in my wardrobe.

And the reason why I spent 3 weeks in professional clothing was primarily due to the fact that I was pledging Emerson College’s only local, professional sorority, Kappa Gamma Chi! Now that those 3 weeks are over and I crossed into Kappa, I learned a lot about professionalism and what it means to dress professionally; especially figuring out how to balance professionalism with comfort.

For the most part, I had two constant questions running through my mind when I was pledging: Is professional dress limited to a select handful of clothing options? Are we all going to be stuck wearing dress pants, blouses, and heels for the rest of our lives?

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Get Out the Vote at Emerson

On Tuesday, November 8th, millions of Americans will cast their votes in the presidential election. But, you might be shocked by how many college students find themselves confused and lost once election season finally rolls around. For many students, their first experience voting will be via an absentee ballot, and yet obtaining that ballot may not seem like a simple task. Students may find themselves wondering: when is the absentee ballot application deadline? And, why do we even need to apply for an absentee ballot? Or, for college kids even further behind, they may be left wondering how to register in the first place.

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Learning the Forgotten History of Boston’s West End

When people think of neighborhoods in downtown Boston, they think of the North End, the South End, Chinatown and Beacon Hill. When I heard of the “West End” of Boston, I wasn’t even sure if it existed.

Because it doesn’t.

Of course, the area of land that is the West End still exists, but there is no longer a neighborhood. Instead, the space is home to complexes that take up vast tracts of land, such as the Mass General Hospital and the TD Garden.

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So what happened?

A complicated but ultimately devastating political movement called “urban renewal” occurred in the 1950s, which explains why many cities in America look the way they do now. Urban renewal is “the redevelopment of areas within a large city, typically involving the clearance of slums.” Boston embraced this movement, particularly in two areas: the West End and Scollay Square (what is now Government Plaza). It’s hard to imagine what these places look like to what we immediately know; the equivalent of these neighborhoods is the North End, which was spared from the razing.

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By City of Boston Archives, “West End Urban Renewal Project sign”, https://goo.gl/uVuz5r

I had never known this chapter of our city’s history and always assumed things were just the way they were. Looking up pictures of the West End in its original form, I see a completely unrecognizable village, featuring the brick built homes that give Boston its character. Observing the before and after pictures of the urban renewal policies shows the scope of destruction. The only remnant of the “Old West End” is a single tenement. It stands at 42 Lomasney Way. 500 feet from the building is the West End Museum, a museum dedicated to preserving the history of the neighborhood. The exhibit I visited, “The Last Tenement,” tells the story of how an entire community dwindled down to a deserted flat.

by City of Boston Archives, "56-62 Leverett Street", https://goo.gl/M85JZq
by City of Boston Archives, “56-62 Leverett Street”, https://goo.gl/M85JZq

At the entrance of the room, the introductory sign asks its patrons a few questions. What makes a neighborhood and what makes a slum? What makes a community? How do local values and public policy interact with each other? How do cities come to make decisions? All of these questions are answered in the tragedy of the West End.

For most of its existence, the West End was a haven for Boston’s “undesirables.” These areas were home to lower-class Bostonians and immigrants: Irish, Italians, Jews and various nationalities from Eastern Europe all lived side by side. Something that was completely unknown to me was that the West End was home to a number of free black residents, starting in the late 18th century. Between the years 1876 to 1895, at least one black resident from the West End served in Boston’s community council. The information was enlightening, especially since the stories of black Bostonians are a component of the city’s history that are too often overlooked.

by the Boston Public Library, "West End Branch - story hour", https://goo.gl/3Ezyxo
by the Boston Public Library, “West End Branch – story hour”, https://goo.gl/3Ezyxo

The museum does its best to humanize those who were residents, to show that this was once a place where real people made their lives. Trophies from sports clubs are on display in a glass case, bulletins from the social clubs are framed and pictures of kids in classrooms are shown in grainy black and white. There is heavy emphasis on what makes a community: active church life, the importance of the corner store, a sense of belonging despite differences. One sign jokes how Greek Jews and Russian Jews complained about each other, while the Italian Catholics had their opinions on Irish Catholics; but when confronted with outsiders, they stood united in their shared West End identity.

by the Boston Public Library, "Christmas and Hanukah at the Boston Public Library's West End Branch", https://goo.gl/CljC0X
by the Boston Public Library, “Christmas and Hanukah at the Boston Public Library’s West End Branch”, https://goo.gl/CljC0X

Alas, they could not stand against the larger forces in the city and federal government that were determined to destroy them. While the process of urban renewal is perplexing and dense to tell, the museum manages to explain the neighborhood’s demise. Important historical events such as the middle class flight from the city, the Housing Act of 1949 and decaying buildings all contributed to the razing of the town. What surprised me most was that initially most West Enders did not fight the demolitions, because they had been promised housing in the “new West End.” Thus, there was no major protests or outrage from residents. Only when their tenements had been destroyed did they realize they would never be able to return home.

by City of Boston Archives, "[Unidentified location in West End, near Massachusetts General Hospital]", https://goo.gl/52A2xH
by City of Boston Archives, “[Unidentified location in West End, near Massachusetts General Hospital]”, https://goo.gl/52A2xH
Of course, Boston as a city has changed significantly over time since it was founded in 1630. Even the exhibit noted how the West End went from a collection of marshes, to Yankee townhouses, to immigrant settlement homes. Cities are ever changing organisms and should embrace their role of being places where transformations can flourish; whether they be technological, political or social.

Some may wonder at the purpose of such discussions when these issues are clearly a matter of the past. Yes, cities should embrace change; but the nature of how cities change should be decided by the citizens that call it home. These discussions are especially relevant now, in Boston and all over America, when gentrification is becoming a major determinant of change in urban life. Who gets to to be a part of the conversation and who gets left out? As the lessons learned in the West End shows, including residents in the process is absolutely vital to creating thriving cities and happy citizens.

The West End Museum is located at 150 Staniford St, Boston, MA 02114. It is open to the public from 12-5 PM Monday-Friday. Admission is free.

Free Things You Can Do in Colleges Around Boston

Boston is America’s #1 College Town. It’s a phrase that has sold many a student to coming to the city in their pursuit of higher education. Besides the contribution of new undergraduates, many of these schools give the public a chance to share in the knowledge that goes on behind closed doors. You can take advantage of that by going to any of these events that are free and open to the public.

Stargaze at the Boston University Observatory

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Wednesday is the worst day of the week, but it doesn’t have to be anymore. Every Wednesday night, Boston University opens it’s Coit Observatory to the general public to see the night sky through telescopes, as well as learn more about astronomy. Harvard also has a free Observatory night, but only on a monthly basis.

Go to a Harvard lecture 

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Getting into Harvard as a student is one thing, but going to a lecture is surprisingly easy. Harvard University hosts a range of lectures open to the public from many of it’s schools. The entirety of lectures available can be seen on the university’s event website.

Enjoy a concert in the park from Berklee student musicians 

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The Summer in the City events by Berklee College of Music combines two great things: the outdoors and free music. The series involves Berklee students performing at parks all over Boston for free, playing pop, rock, jazz, Latin and other kinds of music. Who knows? It might be a chance to see the next John Mayer of Esperanza Spalding before they hit it big.

Take a class with former Governor Michael Dukakis at Northeastern University

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I know, I know, the last thing any college student wants is another class added to their courseload. But whatever happened to learning for the sake of learning? The Myra Craft Open Classroom at Northeastern University lets members of the public learn about a specific subject from experts on the topic and participate in a panel discussion after class lectures. The Open Classroom is hosted by Professor Barry Bluestone and former Governor of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis. The fall 2015 course is focused on studying the transformational decade of the 1960’s. Attendees can go to as many or as little classes as they like, as long as they register beforehand online.

See a free movie at Emerson College

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Taking place at our very own Emerson College, the Bright Light Series showcases free films in the Bright Family Screening Room. From blockbusters such as Mad Max: Fury Road to documentaries such as She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, the variety of genres offered ensures everyone can find a movie they like. Screenings are followed by a discussion, usually with someone involved with the movie or a faculty member.