Public Art on the Tufts University Medford Campus
In May of 2012 the Tufts University Art Gallery launched a pilot for
an outdoor public art program. The gallery hopes to continue this
series with many more modern and contemporary sculptures to be
installed in highly trafficked locations on the Medford campus.
Sponsored by the Tufts University Art Gallery, generous donations
from individual donors and installation support from Tufts
Current Public Art Installations
|Tufts/SMFA student "flash collective," InVisible (2015),
digital image printed on matte weather resistant poly fabric, 282" x 103"
Titled InVisible, this mural was
created by a group of 12 undergraduate students from Tufts University and joint
degree partner the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA). The project was
initiated by the Tufts Art Gallery and the Jonathan M. Tisch College
of Citizenship and Public Service
in the aftermath of recent deaths of unarmed people of color at the hands of
police and in recognition of the growing "Black Lives Matter" movement.
The group was asked to create a large-scale "billboard" for a public art
site outside the Mayer Campus Center on Talbot Avenue that would address
how race, privilege, and power operate in the world and on campus.
The group was guided by visiting artist Avram Finkelstein, who has worked for
decades to create public responses to urgent political issues.
Best known for his work around the AIDS crisis with the "Silence=Death"
project and the artists' collective Gran Fury, Finkelstein was tapped to lead
the project as a "flash collective," a model that he has developed in recent
years. The "flash collective" brings
a group of people together for a short amount of time – in this case just two
days – to produce an artistic intervention in public space that allows for
multiple opinions and perspectives to coalesce into one message.
Students were recruited through a call for applications and represent an array
of extracurricular groups and academic disciplines at Tufts and the SMFA.
The group discussed a wide range of topics that they care deeply about –
including racism, homophobia, sexism, and policing – on these campuses and in
the wider world. They grappled with
the difficulties of alliances and representation, remaining conscious of the
voices that were present in and absent from the group.
The resulting project uses one contemporary and two archival photographs taken
on the Tufts campus, along with four lines of evocative text, to comment on the
degrees of privilege, visibility, and safety available to various groups.
In evaluations after the flash collective's work was completed, students
responded that the process was an invaluable learning experience.
Finkelstein told the group that this public art project
was meant as "the opening sentence in a conversation" about these difficult
To learn more about InVisible, visit
the Art Gallery's
Museum Without Walls outreach program and website.
Funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Tufts University Art Gallery's
Contemporary Art Circle, the School of Arts, Sciences & Engineering Diversity Fund,
and the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.
Download the press release >
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