Creativity & Innovation
When you approach the University of Massachusetts Boston campus, one of the first things you notice is the giant works of art: one bright yellow, the other steel beams that complement the rising Integrated Sciences Complex. Both pieces of art, Sunflowers for Vincent and Huru, are works by Mark di Suvero, and they stand as bookends to the UMass Boston’s Arts on the Point, a collection of 20th and 21st century art pieces that are situated around the campus and free to the viewing public.
“There are other public outdoor programs, but this is unique in the fact it is supported by public funds, not by the university, and it is the product of a belief that art can alter the world, and that art is essential to human enrichment,” says Professor of Art Paul Tucker, who founded Arts on the Point in 1997.
Arts on the Point also features art made from recycled materials (Sheila Pepe’s Simple Drawing), hand-crafted kettles that look like they are a part of Alice in Wonderland’s tea party (Dennis Oppenheim’s Black) and a sculpture designed from a 6-inch model (William de Koonig’s Reclining Figure.) Luis Jimenez’s Los Lagartos plays homage to the live alligators that were once kept in a gated, artificial lagoon in the middle of Plazita de los Lagartos (San Jacinto Plaza) in San Jose, Texas.
Tucker used his art world connections to create Arts on the Point so that students, faculty, and staff could experience a range of contemporary art at its finest.
“Artists, foundations, and collectors responded largely because they understood the value of the enterprise and had a specific admiration for what UMass Boston stands for and what UMass Boston is able to achieve,” Tucker says. “As Boston’s public university, our doors are open to all, just like the pieces of sculpture stand available to the entire community.”
Today, Tucker says he receives offers from around the country. The art department weighs each offer and then, once a decision is made to add a piece to the collection, the art faculty and staff; and facilities staff walk the peninsula to look for an appropriate spot.
Tucker says he doesn’t have a favorite art piece, but that Huru carries a special place in his heart because it was the first in the collection.
You can get Tucker’s take on all 11 works in the Arts on the Point collection and view a map on the Arts on the Point website.