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Council for the Arts at MIT welcomes Andrea Volpe as new director

The council has funded arts programs at MIT for 47 years.
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Andrea Volpe, Council for the Arts at MIT director
Andrea Volpe, Council for the Arts at MIT director
Photo: Council for the Arts at MIT

The Arts at MIT has announced that Andrea Volpe has assumed the position of director of the Council for the Arts at MIT (CAMIT), effective today.

CAMIT is a group of up to 100 alumni and friends of MIT who support and promote the arts at the Institute. The council has served the arts at MIT with unflagging enthusiasm and support since it was founded in 1972 by Jerome B. Wiesner, the 13th president of MIT, and looks toward its 50th anniversary in 2022. The organization was created to support “a broadly based, highly participatory program in the arts, firmly founded on teaching, practice, and research at the Institute.”

Volpe arrives at a time when the arts at MIT are stronger than ever before, with new arts facilities recently opened and on the horizon, global rankings of MIT arts and design consistently high, international recognition of the arts faculty, and student enrollments in the arts at record levels.

Volpe has been program manager for the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University since 2015, where she planned and executed an annual seminar funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, including collaborative ventures with the American Repertory Theater, Harvard Scholars at Risk Program, and the Office of the Dean of Arts and Humanities. Previously, she served as speechwriter to the dean of the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, working closely with the vice dean for external affairs and the director of communications during a period when the institution’s mission was renewed and expanded. She earned a BA in government from Oberlin College and a PhD in U.S. cultural and intellectual history from Rutgers. She has served as a lecturer in the writing program at MIT and has taught American art, American studies, and American history and literature at various institutions, notably Harvard College, Boston University, and Tufts University.

The director’s search was led by associate provost Philip S. Khoury, with responsibility for the arts, and Executive Director of Arts Initiatives Leila W. Kinney, and included two advisers from the Council for the Arts: Hyun-A Park ’83, MCP ’85 (CAMIT chair) and Nancy Lukitsh ’78 (CAMIT treasurer).

“Andrea Volpe’s wide-ranging experience in academic communities in the greater Boston area really set her apart,” comments incoming chair Hyun-A Park, “and I am looking forward to working with her as CAMIT embraces the many exciting developments in the arts at MIT.” Nancy Lukitsh adds, “Andrea was described to me as an ‘idea machine’ — and I can’t wait to see what that means for the council.”

Volpe will work closely with Kinney, Khoury, and the Office of the Arts to strengthen CAMIT’s connections to the Institute, including faculty in the School of Architecture and Planning and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, as well as the leaders of the Center for Art, Science, and Technology (CAST), the List Visual Arts Center, and the MIT Museum. CAMIT council members are appointed for three-year, renewable terms by MIT’s president to serve as advocates and ambassadors for the arts at MIT.

CAMIT supports students from across the Institute with an annual grants cycle and the Arts Scholars program, which was endowed by the council. CAMIT members fund the popular tickets program, which provides free or subsidized access for MIT students to local arts organizations and performance events, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Annual donations by CAMIT members fund a wide array of programs and arts events at MIT, including the List Visual Arts Center and the MIT Museum, arts awards, visiting artists, concerts, and performances.

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