The arts need our attention

Rena Weafer, Arts Editor

In today’s world, the arts, including performing arts and fine arts, are often overlooked in favor of more profitable pursuits like science and technology-based industries. This calls for people to make more effort in engaging with the arts to keep these industries alive. UMass Boston’s University Hall Art Gallery and Rafael Jaen, Chair of the Performing Arts Department, were willing to answer a few questions about the importance of these subjects, so students can more easily incorporate them into their lives.
The arts are celebrated for many reasons, and arguably the most important is that it helps people see different perspectives. This creates more well-rounded individuals and promotes growth in our society. The representative from the UHall Gallery says, “experiencing art firsthand inspires us to see the world through new eyes.”
The Gallery also focused on the tangible benefits of engaging with art, including its ability to “help promote creative problem solving, lower stress and improve empathy.” Art created the world and culture that society sees today, including fashion, design and technology. This was created through generations of artists and their innovations and creativity, which impacted every aspect of life.
Rafael Jaen added that, “at UMass Boston, the liberal arts offer many pathways of study that help us understand, appreciate and improve life in our communities.” Students can get involved in the arts in a variety of ways on campus. The ability to add multiple majors and minors allows students to explore an array of diverse areas in their studies.
He also mentioned that “music ensembles, theater practicums, and dance theater workshops are open to all students interested in learning the rigors of mounting a production.” Students can stay informed on these performances through their Instagram, @umassbostonperformingarts, and their Facebook page under the same name.
At the UHall Gallery, students can keep up to date with current exhibitions and programs through their Instagram, @uhgallery, and sign up for their newsletter on the University Hall Art Gallery page on the UMass Boston website.
The UHall Gallery representative also writes, “More funding, outreach and engagement with the arts is always needed and appreciated. If anyone reading this wants to support our mission to connect our students with unique arts experiences, please reach out to us at [email protected]. We would be happy to collaborate.”
If students would like to get involved today, there are many upcoming events they can check out. The UHall Gallery has a closing ceremony for its current exhibit, “Equals 6,” on Feb. 13 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Room 2120 of University Hall. The exhibit is described as, “a monumentally scaled group show of contemporary Black artists working in abstraction.”
The Museum Partnership Committee at UMass Boston collaborated with the Museum of Fine Arts to bring this exhibit to the school. The committee is made up of a group of professors across the humanities departments to create stronger connections with local museums and students.
Their next exhibition “Center Street Studio: Translations in Print” will begin March 8. There will be a reception for this opening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. that day at the gallery, Room 1220 in University Hall. This exhibition will showcase “master printmaker James Stroud [in collaboration] with multidisciplinary artists to create aquatints, intaglios and monotypes that often reflect and respond to their practices beyond printmaking.”
This upcoming semester, the Performing Arts department will be showcasing a multitude of shows including the political satire “The Government Inspector,” “Jazz Live!,” the UMass Boston Orchestra’s “Timeless,” plus performances by the UMass Chorus and Choir and the Dance Spring Concert. The dates of these performances are located under the Performing Arts Department tab on the UMass Boston website.
Besides the arts at UMass Boston, students also have free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts, located on Huntington Ave., and students enrolled in the Art and Art History department have free admission to the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum as well.
When asked for any final advice for students, Rafael Jaen added, “immerse yourself in live music, explore exhibits in local museums, listen to the wisdom of your elders and partake in live theater events!”
The UHall Gallery would like students to know that they are “open to proposals for events and gatherings to be held in the gallery by student organizations. Please feel free to reach out to us if you would like to reserve the space to host photoshoots, poetry slams, reading groups, et cetera. We want this space to be accessible and functioning for you here on campus. We also host work study and internship-based Gallery Assistant Positions. Contact us at [email protected] to learn more.”
There are plenty of ways students can get involved with the arts both on and off campus at UMass Boston. Be sure to check out these resources to stay up to date.