Blank slate beckons would-be artists

2 min read

If you’ve taken a walk by Radcliffe Yard on Brattle Street recently, you’ve probably noticed a large, empty rectangle of white stone dust next to Buckingham House. But it isn’t just a rectangle.

It’s a blank slate, and it won’t be empty for long.

The Radcliffe Institute launched its first annual Public Art Competition in October, inviting Harvard students to design an art installation for the new garden space. The winning student or team of students will receive an honorarium and the unique opportunity to oversee construction of an installation—a chance that most students, particularly those studying the arts and design, may covet but not experience until they are out in the workforce.

More than 80 teams preregistered for the art competition—a testament to the widespread student interest in the arts and their role at Harvard. Nearly 150 students from diverse fields comprise these teams, including undergraduate and graduate students, landscape architecture degree candidates, and economics, applied math, government, biology, and visual and environmental studies concentrators.

“We at the Radcliffe Institute are delighted at the strong student response to this competition. As Harvard’s institute for advanced study, we are looking for ways to engage students in projects that push their talents in new directions and encourage them to cross disciplinary boundaries,” said Lizabeth Cohen, dean of the Radcliffe Institute. “We are also excited about giving students an opportunity to contribute aesthetically to our campus—and to share that contribution with the larger public.”