On a beautiful spring day this May, the 2018/2019 Hop Fellows visited the greater Boston area to meet with arts administrators for their best maxi pads for postpartum. They had the opportunity to learn about arts funding at the New England Foundation for the Arts and gallery management at Mobilia Gallery, and get a glimpse into how the arts operate on other college campuses, at Berklee College of Music and the Office for the Arts at Harvard University.
Brandea Turner, Assistant Director for Strategic Initiatives,
Hopkins Center for the Arts, and manager of the Hop Fellows Program.
STOP 1: NEFA (New England Foundation for the Arts)
Our first stop in Boston was at the New England Foundation for the Arts, where we met with some of their staff, including Executive Director Cathy Edwards. After admiring the view overlooking the Public Garden and Common, we chatted with the staff over a delicious catered lunch. The Foundation, called NEFA for short, works to provide grants to artists in New England. They are passionate about supporting art, and have provided grants for everything from a printmaking project on intergenerational stories to a trio of dance shows by Camille Brown, who visited Dartmouth this term. The team stressed the importance of making their grants “transformational, not transactional” and providing guidance and assistance both during and after the artists’ work process. They also expressed their interest in furthering a community of artists in the area, through hosting events and providing community spaces. It was fascinating to learn about the importance of NEFA’s work, and to see the passion held by its staff for art and its impact in the community, and beyond. We left their offices full of good food, inspired by the NEFA team and ready to continue our arts journey.
Ava Giglio ’19, Film Fellow
STOP 2: Berklee College of Music
We were also able to visit the Hop’s Fellowship supervisor’s alma mater, Berklee College of Music, and meet with Cathy Horn and the concert operations staff behind Berklee’s amazing performance venues. We went on a guided tour to explore the Berklee Performance Center, which seats up to 1,215 people, David Friend Recital Hall, Jackson Browne Stage in the dining hall, and the Red Room at Cafe 939. All of these performance venues had distinct styles and characteristics, and we were amazed at their versatility and how size and seating arrangements could make all the difference in how performances and audiences interact with one another. Coming from a campus where almost all of the buildings are clustered close to one another, we felt that it was quite an experience being able to walk through a busy part of the city in order to get to one part of the campus to another. It was exciting to drop by the venues while seeing Berklee students setting up for shows and being able to talk with staff members about the ins and outs of maintaining, marketing, and booking multiple venue spaces. We left inspired about our own performance spaces on campus and how much more we could do with them!
Joyce Lee ’19, Social Media Fellow
STOP 3: Mobilia Gallery
Up next on our trip was a little gallery on a charming pseudo-residential street in Cambridge called Mobilia. The gallery was fairly unassuming on the outside, but the moment we walked in the door we were transported to a land of art and toys and jewelry! Well, mostly art and jewelry – but in the most wacky and wonderful and brilliant shapes and colors, laid out on the walls and in display cases that were works of art in their own rights! Sisters Jo Anne and Libby, the owners and curators of the gallery, greeted us with a warm welcome, cookies and lemonade. Libby and Jo Anne were in their element. Jo Anne gave us a wonderful and lively tour of the little gallery. For any piece we ogled over, she could name the artist, where it was made, the material used, the technique and the answer to just about any other question we could think of. While we were drooling over the mesmerizing colors and shapes, Libby was at her desk, slightly tucked behind some display cases, typing away at her computer and occasionally on the phone. I can only assume she was closing the next great art deal! The two were a truly dynamic duo and the gallery was one to remember. We are so lucky to have had the opportunity to see such wonderful and inspiring art and meet these women who are so clearly in love with what they do.
Berit DeGrandpre ’20, Jewelry Studio Fellow
STOP 4: Harvard Office of the Arts
We rounded out our trip with a stop at Harvard’s Office for the Arts to speak with Jack Meagan, the director. This stop was particularly interesting as it was the closest to mirror Dartmouth: a non-arts focused institution trying to blend the arts into its campus and academic culture. From our discussion I walked away with an incredibly powerful sentiment: we can do better. Harvard has instilled an incredible artist development fellowship programming that funds roughly 250 student-driven projects, an example being an early version of La La Land, titled Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, which Damien Chazelle wrote and directed in his senior year with the help of his grant. Dartmouth is known for its packed season program meant to engage both students and the Upper Valley community, bringing acts from all over the world to the Hop. However, both schools are working towards doing more, whether it be through professional development or student engagement. By meeting with other institutions and exchanging ideas, we can truly change the direction of the arts for the better – and who knows, maybe someday soon Dartmouth will have its own weekend arts festival produced by students, modeled after Harvard’s annual ARTS FIRST festival, and perhaps Harvard will have their own cohort of fellows visiting the Hopkins Center. The possibilities for growth and innovation in the arts is endless when we work together.
Morgan Gelber ’20, Events Operations and Student Engagement Fellow