After enjoying a relaxing winter break, many CLAS students returned to the Lesley campus to a very unpleasant surprise: they no longer had free admission to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Of course, many members of the Lesley community were not too pleased with this decision. In a college where creativity is encouraged and valued, it is very disappointing that Lesley would do away with this very important program. You may be wondering why people are so upset about this situation. There are many CLAS students who do not even study art. Why should we care about going to the MFA? By having free admission to the MFA, CLAS students can further their creativity, supplement their academic experience, and further build connections with LUCAD students.
Spending the day at the MFA can be a very enlightening experience for college students. These trips allow us to temporarily step away from the hectic lifestyle of homework, research papers, and final exams and to immerse ourselves into a world of new ideas. The museum has a wide variety of different types of art, from ancient artifacts to colonial oil paintings to contemporary videography. Students could be inspired by things they may have never considered art. These exhibits could influence students to be creative in their own way. The best part was that this experience did not cost us any extra money. As Lesley Public Post Editor-in-Chief Harrison Ford, explains, “MFA is one of the premier cultural landmarks of the city. In addition to the Museum’s permanent traditional fine art displays, contemporary exhibits of different mediums allow students to expand and enrich their perspective of art, whatever it may be. One of the best things about going to school in an urban area like this one is to take advantage of all it has to offer, and we simply cannot afford do certain things on a modest student budget.”
By taking this experience away, it is harder for students to be inspired by the art world around them. “The MFA is one of my favorite places,” says junior expressive arts therapy student, Victoria Leggett. “It makes me live for Boston…There’s so much to learn from it…It’s part of my inspiration…Just because we aren’t LUCAD students doesn’t mean arts don’t heavily influence us. It’s such a creative school, that we put such an emphasis on that.”
Of course, sometimes student trips to the MFA go beyond having an influential study break. We can learn so many important lessons about the human experience through art. As a result, many courses at Lesley require students to explore the exhibits for projects. Julia Pugliese, a biology student, has gone to the MFA for class purposes in the past. She went to the museum when she assisted with costuming for the Play Production class’ performance of “Antony and Cleopatra,” and this semester, she will have to go again for her art history course. As Julia explains, “I think it’s an important resource because a big draw for coming to Lesley was taking the CAD/AIB courses without majoring in any art or design degree. I’m finally taking a CAD art history course and getting worried because of how many times I’ll need to go to the MFA for assignments.”
I, too, have attended exhibits at the MFA for several of my courses, like my Introduction to Mythology course. It was amazing to see the pieces of art that were created around the myths we were studying. If it were not for assignments like those, I probably never would have attended the museum on my own. Now, I go every chance I get because I learn something new every time I go. After all, isn’t that what college is all about? When the admission was free, MFA trips were not a major problem. However, it does not seem very fair for us students to pay $23 every time we need to complete an assignment for class (and that is not including the transportation fare to get to and from the museum).
Finally, MFA admission can further bridge the gap between CLAS and LUCAD students. It is a great way for students from both colleges to connect to one another outside of the classroom. LUCAD and CLAS students can learn so much from each other through these trips by viewing each piece of art with new perspectives. However, if only the LUCAD students have free access to the museum, we can no longer have that interaction among classmates. While I am sure there were good reasons for making the decision to limit free admission, this decision should be revisited as soon as possible, so that all Lesley students can once again benefit from what the Museum of Fine Arts has to offer.