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$1 million gift launches Distinguished Arts Program at MIT

Gift from philanthropist and entrepreneur Dasha Zhukova will support the MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology.
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Dasha Zhukova
Dasha Zhukova

MIT has announced a gift of $1 million to establish the Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist Program. The gift from Dasha Zhukova provides support to endow a vibrant, ongoing residency organized by the MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology (CAST) open to creators from art, architecture, or design. This contribution marks Zhukova’s first major gift to a university and first to endow a visiting artist program, which will be sustained over time through her continued support.

“Dasha Zhukova’s support will create unparalleled opportunities for MIT to foster collaborations and inspire new artistic work,” said Philip S. Khoury, MIT associate provost and the Ford International Professor of History, who oversees the arts at MIT. “We are grateful for her vision and understanding of how to nurture the creative process of inspired artists in combination with the extraordinary talent in multiple disciplines at MIT.”

The residency program is designed to support artists from a range of disciplines by connecting them with the creative energy, innovative thinking, and advanced technology found throughout the MIT community. Through an extended appointment at the Institute of one to two years, artist recipients will have the opportunity and time to pursue sustained, in-depth research and development in order to shape new creative projects in collaboration with MIT faculty, students, and researchers. The arts have been an integral part of MIT since its founding, and this new distinguished visiting artist position builds upon the university’s vision for the intersections of art, science, and technology as an essential foundation for achieving institutional excellence. The first appointment will be made for the academic year 2016-17 and extend through June 2018.

Dasha Zhukova is a Russian American philanthropist, entrepreneur, and art collector.  She is the founder of Garage Museum for Contemporary Art in Moscow, designed by Rem Koolhaas, and editor-in-chief of Garage Magazine, a biannual art and fashion publication.

“I have always held an interest in science and technology, just as I have with the worlds of art and design, which is mirrored in my upbringing — my mother is a microbiologist and at the same time a lover of classical art. Recently, I have devoted a lot of my time and energies to projects at the intersection of technology and the arts; for me, the fusion of these worlds is where cutting edge creativity and innovation takes place,” Zhukova said. “Having spent time at MIT and exploring its Center for Art, Science and Technology, I see it as a true hub of creativity — a virtual center that touches all areas of the arts, from the visual arts to architecture, design, music, the performing arts, and more. What most impresses me is the way that CAST creates mutually enlightening encounters for visiting artists and the creative culture on campus. I’m excited and honored to begin this relationship with MIT and launch such an innovative visiting artist program.”

A cross-school initiative launched in 2012 by the office of the associate provost with responsibility for the arts, the dean of the School of Architecture and Planning and the dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, CAST has been the catalyst for more than 31 artist residencies and collaborative projects with MIT faculty and students, including 15 cross-disciplinary courses and workshops, the concert series MIT Sounding, and numerous multimedia projects, lectures, and symposia. The visiting artists program is a cornerstone of CAST’s activities and encourages cross-fertilization among disciplines and intensive interaction with MIT’s faculty and students. The center is funded, in part, by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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