An excursion to a Huntington Theater production and discussion with the dramaturg... an evening of spirituals with senior lecturer Pamela Wood... a reading by Alan Lightman, the John E. Burchard Professor of Science and Writing, of his latest work-in-progress. These were just some of the activities enjoyed in recent months by the first 23 participants in MIT's Arts Scholars Program.
Funded by the Council for the Arts at MIT, the program was started in fall 1998 to encourage greater interaction among MIT undergraduates who are active in the arts, and to foster a sense of community among them.
"The session in which the students shared their own work was one of the best," said Susan Cohen, director of the Council for the Arts and administrator of the program.
The program is structured around informal monthly dinners accompanied by presentations or excursions. Presentations may be given by faculty members, artists-in-residence, fellow students or Boston-area artists. Excursions may include off-campus performances as well as gallery, museum and behind-the-scenes tours.
"This is really the pilot year and we're just beginning to find out what the students' expectations and needs are," said Associate Provost for the Arts Alan Brody, who came up with the idea of the Arts Scholars Program. "I'm hoping to see the students take more ownership of the program and to generate more informal ways of sharing their ideas and passion."
Arts Scholar Petra Chong, a senior in music, acknowledges that while the first group of scholars started out not knowing each other very well, their regular meetings and events are promoting interaction and, perhaps, collaboration. "It's important to me that MIT acknowledges that the arts have an important place in my life, because we're not an arts school," she said.
The program is now seeking applicants for next year's program. Participation is open to students who will be sophomores, juniors and seniors in September 1999. The application deadline is Monday, April 12. Application forms and guidelines are available in Rm E15-205 and Rm 3-234. For more information, call x3-4005.
A version of this article appeared in the March 17, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 23).