Harvard gave Christie’s and Sotheby’s a run for their money at the first Harvard Student Art Show on Monday (May 4). The exhibit and sale, held in a bright yellow tent on the Science Center Lawn, featured 160 works of painting, sculpture, photography, and other media such as jewelry and clothing. Students from across the University submitted artwork ranging in price from $30 to $8,000.
More than 2,500 students, faculty, staff, and community members filtered through the gallery from its opening at noon until it closed at 9 p.m. A silent auction, held from 6 to 8 p.m., featured 20 works that showcased the diversity of artistic talent at Harvard. Guests at the auction enjoyed a performance by the Harvard Krokodiloes, an all-male a cappella group.
Sixty-eight works of art were sold during the show and auction, but all of the pieces were left on display until closing for visitors to enjoy. The sale generated almost $11,500 in total — almost all of which went directly to the artists.
The Harvard Student Art Show was conceived and co-founded by Paris A. Spies-Gans ’09 and Margaret M. Wang ’09. They developed the idea during the annual Harvard Student Arts Leaders Luncheon with President Drew Faust, sponsored by the Office for the Arts at Harvard last October.
“Until now, there has been no real place for students to sell their art on campus,” said Wang. “The administration has been very supportive of the event and we hope it will continue for years to come.”
The call for submissions drew more than 500 replies, Spies-Gans said.
“It was an overwhelming response, and demonstrated that there is clearly a demand for an opportunity like this,” she said. “It’s amazing to see how many people do art — so many people you wouldn’t even expect, from all of the different Schools.”
A committee of students with a background in the arts evaluated the submissions and selected 160 works for exhibition. They then worked with the artists to determine appropriate pricing. The final step was to curate the inside of the tent and decide what pieces should hang where.
Helen Molesworth, Maisie K. and James R. Houghton Curator of Contemporary Art at the Fogg Art Museum, was one of several faculty members who served on the advisory board for the show. She noted that the event reflected the spirit and aims of Harvard’s Task Force on the Arts.
“One of the goals of the Task Force on the Arts was to pull the making of and thinking about art into the daily lives of students and faculty at the College, so this event very much feels like a step in that direction,” she said.
The Harvard Student Art Show was sponsored by the Office for the Arts at Harvard and the Office of Student Life and Activities.