In the last three years, MassBay Community College’s Wellesley campus has been transformed by art. Starting in 2013, with an art placement given in honor of Krystle Campbell, a MassBay graduate killed in the Boston Marathon bombing attack, the college has become close partners with The Art Connection. After three annual placements, the school now brims with 78 original artworks chosen by educators, administrators, and students. With art installed across its campus, the college envisions an impact even beyond its direct community as it begins to reimagine itself as an “open museum.”
Sculptures now stand as sentinels at the school’s entrances, photographs and works on paper inspire those at work in the library, and large format paintings beckon students down long hallways to their classrooms. An 18 foot long canvas mural—a special creation by The Art Connection’s founder, Fay Chandler —has been installed overlooking a courtyard. Clusters of people rendered in every hue on the mural complement the community college’s mission for inclusiveness and community engagement.
Mary Shia, vice president of institutional advancement and alumni relations has witnessed the school’s metamorphosis as it has become filled with original art. “Art changes how we experience our environment ,” she reflects, “When we are looking at a beautiful painting or sculpture we experience something and it is unique for us. Art—be it a painting or a sculpture transforms the public spaces at MassBay.”
Education is another means for transformation, so when the school received the large scale outdoor sculpture, Liminal Bloom, donated by artist Andy Zimmermann, Shia saw the work as a metaphor forstudents poised for change through education. The sculpture was installed outside one of the school’s main entrances and now has a dialogue with a second donation by Zimmermann, Floating Flower, given in 2015. Shia fondly imagines the bloom as the completed metaphor: the confident, flourishing state of students after their time at the college.