Art Among Us | Art on Campus

Art Among Us

Art on campus

What is art? Why do we look at art? What purpose does art serve? These are centuries-old questions that are still debated by people in the art industry.

At HBS, we rarely have the opportunity to discuss these sorts of questions in cases. Nevertheless, the artworks displayed throughout our campus hopefully help trigger a search for our own answers. These artworks belong to the Schwartz Collection. Since 1998, the collection owner, Gerry Schwartz (Harvard MBA ’70), and a team of HBS staff and students have been purchasing provocative contemporary art for HBS buildings most frequented by students. Mr. Schwartz established the collection to inspire students to think creatively and incorporate art into their lives.

For instance, the next time you’re in Shad and walking upstairs up to the second floor, look out for the large piece of charcoal on wood artwork, by the artist Whitfield Lovell. The texture of the wood, the use of color, as well as the found objects attached to the surface, overwhelm our vision and bring us closer to the artist’s mentality. Its title, “Strive”, further echoes with this visual effect and allows us to extract energy from looking at the artwork.

With the help of the Schwartz Collection, art is no longer an esoteric territory for the business students at Harvard. Instead, it has become a part of our lives and our experiences. For more information on the Schwartz Collection, visit //

Art near HBS

Cambridge and the Harvard community are home to a vibrant arts scene. While the Harvard Art Museums are closed for renovation until fall 2014, there are still many hidden gems to discover. Here, the Art Society lists its top five.

(1)   Sanders Theatre (Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge)

The 1,166 seat Sanders Theatre is known for its design and acoustics. Originally designed as a lecture hall and to host college commencements, it is now home to undergraduate choir and orchestral groups. It also regularly hosts many professional performance ensembles, like the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and Boston Conservatory Orchestra. Look out for upcoming events on the Calendar of Events (// If you’re lucky, you can get rush tickets for the Boston Philharmonic for as little as $8.

(2)   The “Glass Flowers” (Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge)

An exquisite collection of glass life-size models of 847 plant species, this collection is not to be missed. The models were created by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, father and son nineteenth-century glass artisans based in n Hosterwitz, near Dresden, Germany. Officially entitled ‘The Ware Collection of Glass Models of Plants”, the collection was commissioned to facilitate the teaching of botany. The Collection is housed in the Harvard Museum of Natural History; current Harvard I.D. holders and one guest are admitted free.

(3)   Brattle Theatre (40 Brattle St., Cambridge)

Don’t expect to find your summer blockbusters here. Brattle Theatre screens classic film as well as cutting-edge foreign and art-house films. It also hosts themed movie screenings: Think an eclectic range of choices from the classic horror movie, “The Shining”, to indie rom-com, “Before Midnight”, to premieres of art-house films. Students get $2 off the usual ticket price: $7.75 with valid student ID.

(4)   The Mahindra Humanities Center (Barker Center, 12 Quincy Street, Cambridge)

The Mahindra Humanities Center sponsors lectures, panels, and readings on a wide range of topics, to foster collaborations between the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Past events have touched on issues as diverse as Proust, African music abroad, asymmetric war and the Arab Spring. Yo-Yo Ma is on its advisory panel and he occasionally hosts symposiums. Great experience for enriching your mind (and soul) outside of the HBS bubble.

(5)   The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

Yes, we know this technically does not count as art and is stretching the definition of “near”, but this beautiful 281-acre space is not to be missed. A public-private partnership between the City of Boston and Harvard University, the Arnold Arboretum is a Natural Historic Landmark, a beautiful public park with a state-of-the-art research center. Guided tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday, until Nov 3, 2013. The Arnold Arboretum is free and open to the public every day of the year: Perfect for get-to-know you RC section picnics or EC section reunions in the fall while the weather is nice!

P.S. The Office for the Arts at Harvard also offers short courses in ceramics, dance and figure drawing. Worth checking out for those who want to nurture the artist in you!


Outside The Bubble

If you’re feeling more adventurous, there are some fantastic Boston Art institutions just a short T ride, cab ride, or bike ride away. Instead of venturing out of the bubble only for Euro Club parties, why not hit up one of these Boston landmarks as well? You’ll notice a beautiful confluence of art and drinking in the first three venues recommended below.


1)     Museum of Fine Art (First Fridays)

The MFA is actually one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world with a collection of nearly 450,000 works of art. That’s a whole lotta lookin’. We don’t expect you to explore that vigorously when you head out on the First Friday, of the month for (wait for it) “First Fridays”, when the Museum throws a party – complete with DJ – in the atrium, with cocktails and food available for purchase. They don’t keep the whole museum open, so the exhibition is a little limited, but it’s a great way to combine Friday nights with drinking and a bit of culture. Hit it up before you head out elsewhere in the city after. Take your ID. Tickets are available to purchase in advance. $26. Our picks of the current exhibitions:

  • Hippie Chic: a psychedelic romp through the fashion of the Woodstock generation.
  • East 100th Street: Photographer Bruce Davidson’s renowned images of the gritty reality of life in East Harlem in the late 60s are powerful and captivating.


2)     Institute of Contemporary Art  (First Fridays + End of the year harbor gala)


We are always getting the MFA and the ICA confused – especially since both host “First Fridays” and have, you know, art and stuff. That said, both are worth a visit, so mix it up at the ICA on a different first Friday. This one is down by the water in the Seaport district, so it’s best on a warm evening when you can soak up the gorgeous Boston harbor and enjoy the last remnants of summer. As well as First Fridays, they also host the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series (!), and free guided tours on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays (// for times).


3)     Isabella Gardner Stewart Museum (check out their new wing)

This place is one of our favorites in Boston. It’s essentially an old, rich lady’s house – but it’s so much more than that. Isabella was a wealthy art collector and philanthropist, and she filled her abode in Back Bay with artifacts from around the world and through the ages. It’s a wonderful example of how careful preservation can keep the past alive. That said, this is not what it’s really about. The house is built around an interior garden that may be the most beautiful sanctuary in the city, and it’ll make you want one installed in Spangler immediately if not sooner. It’s gorgeous on a snowy day, and magical after hours when they open up on Thursday nights so you can enjoy the hauntingly beautiful space in low, magical light. There’s also a new wing which has recently opened.


4)     American Repertory Theater (ask about student tickets / see The Glass Menagerie


This professional not-for-profit theatre in the Loeb Drama Centre, located over the river at Harvard, has been named one of the top three theatres in the country by Time magazine, has been the recipient of many distinguished awards including Pulitzer and Tony, and is known for its commitment to new American plays, neglected works of the past, and new, invigorating reinterpretations of classic texts. The headline show this coming season is All The Way, and in May June next year, The Tempest. Theatre tickets from $25.


5)     Boston Symphony Orchestra  Check out student offers here.

One of the five major orchestras in the US, the Boston Symphony is housed in Symphony Hall, considered one of the finest concert halls in the world. Check out the student offers, including the College Card, which is a steal: buy it for $25 then attend any show for free (there are some black out dates, so check the website first). There’s also a symphony gala in September (if you have $100,000 to throw down for the underwriting benefactor table), which includes limo transfers to the event, the opportunity to name a Symphony concert, and a back stage tour.