UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Ask Bobby #12
September 25, 2023

Arts on the Point Reaches Out

If you walk anywhere on campus, you’ve undoubtedly been touched by the far-reaching influence of Arts on the Point without even knowing it. Whether it’s the welcoming steel arms of Huru or Lagartos standing sentry outside the entrance of the Clarke Athletic Center, you have witnessed the product of efforts made by Arts on the Point to build up the collection that is UMB’s sculpture park.

Started in 1997 by Paul Tucker, a UMB art professor and specialist in Impressionist art, Arts on the Point has expanded from the few pieces of sculpture it once was to offering educational opportunities like after school programs and building up Columbia Point as a cutting-edge work in contemporary art. Still, you’d never guess it from the postage-stamp sized office it occupies in the back corner of the Administration Building.

Wendy Baring-Gould, director of external relations who also does fundraising and works as the educational coordinator, talks about getting the message out. “We’re at a place where we feel we’re doing a reasonable job on campus but we want Greater Boston visibility.” Baring-Gould wants the people to recognize it as a legitimate sculpture park with a “body of work that gives a sense of presence.” During the Democratic National Convention, Arts on the Point will be doing tours. A visit to the State Archives and John F. Kennedy Library will also include lunch and a stop at some of the many installations, like Stinger situated around UMass Boston.

Unfortunately, cash is hard to come by. Arts on the Point is currently raising funds to pay for specific work and is hoping for larger office space. Tucker identifies the work, contacts the galleries, and sees to the installations while Baring-Gould works in community outreach and education. However, this is more than two people can handle, especially those with other responsibilities such as teaching, like Tucker.

Baring-Gould wants to expand their role in the surrounding communities, particularly Dorchester. “We hear all the time of projects that people would love to do but there’s no one to be the ‘connective tissue.'” She describes their mission as threefold: “providing opportunities to engage in discussion of art, bringing a twenty and twenty-first century perspective to art,” and “sponsoring artists in residence.”

In one of their recent projects, Arts on the Point, along with ten UMB art students, worked with teens from the Walter Denny Youth Center of Dorchester to create identity books exploring their definitions of self in the context of what society says they should be. The works will be displayed later on in the semester at both UMB and Walter Denny. The artist-in-residence program is in its fourth year and is looking to create a summer camp for emerging sculptors.

Some time during the spring semester, artist Maya Linn will come to inspect the space around the new Campus Center for a future installation that has been in the works for months now. Although the Burghers of Calais, the long awaited Rodin piece, will not be coming, Paul Tucker is currently in negotiations with the Rodin foundation to find another work to decorate these hallowed halls.

There is no other place that focuses on contemporary sculpture besides the DeCordova Museum. However, some of it is difficult to understand. This is where the Art/Talks come in and play their role in explaining the ideas behind art by telling the stories of how the artist caused pieces to be made. Baring-Gould concludes that this is part of the “whole approach to help people enter the process the maker went through.”

She continues, “It’s about the why of this work, the aesthetic understanding comes along. It’s about changing perceptions over time.”

About the Contributor
MiMi Yeh served as arts editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2001-2002; *2002-2003; 2003-2004 *Evan Sicuranza served as arts editor for Fall 2002 Disclaimer: Years served is based on online database and may not detail entire service.