Time to get back to my phone calls with Jamaica before I pick up my sister this afternoon. Happy 2013, everyone.
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Time to get back to my phone calls with Jamaica before I pick up my sister this afternoon. Happy 2013, everyone.
Thomas Lee is director of the OFA’s visiting artist program, Learning From Performers, and also director of Office of the Arts communications.
Author Thomas Merton once wrote, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
“Losing ourselves” is a concept not readily embraced in a community like Harvard, where discipline and structure are prized as key ingredients for success. And yet, there is something fundamental about the urge to create, to express oneself, to get lost within the stanza of a poem, the recitation of a dramatic monologue, the movement of a symphony or a piece of choreography. It’s how we identify ourselves, how we learn who we are by experimenting with forms and genres, making molds and breaking them, finding out what works and what doesn’t.
It’s art making. And the Office for the Arts at Harvard (OFA) is in the business of making art making happen for undergraduates and the entire Harvard community.
At its essence, the OFA champions artists—whether first-year Harvard undergraduates or master innovators. Forty-five regular employees and fifty professional instructors comprise the staff of specialists across arts disciplines. Traditional and contemporary aesthetics are integrated into the teaching of co-curricular courses, as well as in the artistic direction of our music ensembles, exhibitions and guest artist programs. The OFA creates connections among practice, theory, and history. It also strives for state-of-the-art practices in the management of many Harvard arts venues.
Taking classes in dance, ceramics and figure drawing, creating theater, working with professional artists from a range of disciplines, playing in an orchestra, singing in a choir, obtaining funding for arts projects and subsidies for music lessons—all of these are in the OFA’s portfolio, which is waiting for you to open and explore.
What’s striking about the artistic community at Harvard is its diversity and the passion of its participants, many of whom will never go on to careers in the arts. That saxophonist in the jazz band who takes on a solo in a Duke Ellington composition? He’s pre-med. The actor tackling Gertrude in Hamlet? She’s got her sights set on law school. And the young woman working with the master artist in the OFA’s ceramics studio might end up running a major corporation some day.
Of course, Harvard has educated hundreds of accomplished artists over the years. When Tommy Lee Jones ’69 received the Harvard Arts Medal in April in recognition of his acting and directing career, he noted, “My experience here [as a Harvard student] is the best thing that’s happened in my creative life, and the reason for that is not simply what I learned, but that I learned how to learn, and I will be grateful for that as long as I live.”
(And don’t just take Mr. Jones’s word for it—to learn more about the importance of the arts and creativity in the lives of Harvard students, visit the OFA’s Harvard Arts Blog: http://ofa.fas.harvard.edu/wordpress/)
Whatever your creative journey, we’re here to help you find your way—and to lose yourself, too.
You can follow the OFA on Facebook at Harvard Arts; and on Twitter, @harvardarts. Visit the OFA’s main headquarters at 74 Mt. Auburn St., Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm, and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.495.8676.
Here are some photos from my trip!
So yesterday was the last day of classes (ohmigosh). However, I still have class to go to; today we’re watching a play presented by Italian 40 for part of our Italian Acd final, and we have an oral exam on Monday. The only weird part about taking a foreign language is that we meet during Reading Period and have exams during that time instead of in the Final exam period. So, on Friday I’ll have my final French presentation on the topic of writers fighting against oppression, and on Monday I have my oral exam for Italian, and then I am DONE! (My final paper for Expos is also due on Monday…eek, I have to do some research in Harvard’s intimidating library system.)
Besides studying this upcoming weekend, I’ll be participating in Grand Elections for The Crimson (from the other side, as an exec instead of a comper, electing the compers to the board) and playing many gigs with The Nostalgics. YAY. My mom is coming up to hear my band play for the last time this year on Saturday and Sunday, and she’s also going to see my Freshman Seminar’s printmaking art show! It’s in the Adams Art Space, which is really cool, and we’ve been working hard to set this exhibit up, so I’m excited to have her come!
I’ve been reallllll busy these past few days trying to catch up on the work I missed last week, but soon it will be done and I’ll be missing it all, so I’m savoring it, I guess. I’m going to stick around until June 1st, and my dorm crew work doesn’t even start until May 13, so I have an entire two weeks to do absolutely WHATEVER I want! I am looking forward to exploring Boston, Cambridge, and other places around the area. Perhaps I will bike to Walden Pond, or better yet, take the train to Appleton Farm, my favorite place in Massachusetts. (Seriously, it is so gorgeous.) I will also be packing up all of my stuff and moving it into storage in Currier, where it will stay until next fall when I move into my new room! (Crossing my fingers for a single.) I’ll be far, far away in Paris…it’s becoming so real, I bought my ticket last week and this week we have an orientation meeting to figure out logistics! Harvard is great; even if you hate everything about it for some weird reason, you can’t deny the amount of resources that abound from the university (:
I don’t have much else to write about. If any of you have questions, feel free to comment and I’ll cover them next week! Congrats on accepted students, and choose Harvard … you will not regret it.
Ciao a tutti!
Shopping week for second semester is almost over, with Study Cards (an official list of the courses you’re taking) being due tomorrow. Luckily, I’ve figured out my semester. I’ll be taking Intensive Italian (Italian Acd), Advanced French Grammar II (French 50), Expository Writing 20 (Expos), and a Freshman Seminar called “Pressing the Page: Making Art With Letters, Paper & Ink.” I’m very excited about this semester, especially for my seminar and Italian. They’ve been amazing so far, with Italian flying by every day and my printmaking seminar seeming too short, though it’s two hours on M/W! So far I’ve made calling cards and monogrammed notecards. Check out my first creation thus far!
Anyways, get ready for a lot more artsy stuff this semester, to add to my arts list from a previous post. Seriously, this is a Liberal Arts college and my goal is to find out why.
Though all Freshmen do not have to take seminars and two languages (well, there is a language requirement, but I definitely loaded up on Romance Languages), everybody who graduates from Harvard College must take Expository Writing. Shaun talks about it from the other side of the bridge, having taken it already, but I have yet to experience this wonderful essay course. Actually, most people don’t like it, but I really love writing, and all the courses I’ve signed up for have high Q ratings (which means they’re good) and are in very close proximity to my dorm! Sweet graphic here:
Anyways, these are the Expos courses I’ve sectioned for. A lot of them haven’t been offered yet, and are brand new, so I thought I’d give them a chance, even though it is risky. Imagining Animals does sound pretty interesting, though.
If I get sectioned into a M/W 11:00-12:00 time slot, I’ll be having bagged lunch twice a week for the next semester! Good thing Harvard offers them for all students, all the time. Also, our dining services have become quite interesting, with HUDS reintroducing the Korean Barbecue night. Let me tell you, that Kimchi was spicy! After I enjoyed my Korean dinner today with my roommate, I met a few of my bandmates and headed up to the SOCH for our first practice of the second semester. We’re playing a few songs and a lot of transition material at Harvard Thinks Big, which is a very popular set of mini-lectures hosted in Sanders Theater. Last year’s information can be found here. It was awesome seeing everyone again, even though the rehearsal was short and the walk to the quad was a bit chilly. If you’ve forgotten about my band, check out this link! Being part of my amazing mini-community was definitely the best part of my first semester, because it helped me to transition into college life much more smoothly.
Another super awesome thing in my life right now continues to be The Crimson! I realized that last semester was a ton of fun, and I had the best time taking photos of sports and arts, specifically for the Fifteen Minutes magazine. Over break, I took a lot of photos, and they have definitely improved, to the point where I am proud of my photography skills. Soon I will be monitoring compers as a Junior Editor, chillin’ with them as they experience that which I’ve just done. Tomorrow, I’m covering the Harvard-Yale hockey game, and my family is coming up to watch with me. I am also “schmoozing” with some peeps (editors/my superiors/great people) in order to be (hopefully) elected Arts Photo Exec. That basically means a lot of mini meetings in order to hold a higher position than my current status. I’ll update you when I hear back, but for now, cross your fingers for me!
The weather has been uncannily warm as of late, which definitely freaks me out a little bit; climate change is upon us, and it’s been pretty evident here in Cambridge. Hopefully it cools down, so I can use the really great skating rink on the Science Center lawn. (What? Harvard has a free skating rink? Why yes, we do.) Most of the time though, I’m inside, doing my homework so that I don’t get behind. I definitely don’t want to make that mistake again, because it creates a lot of unnecessary stress. I’ve been doing a bit of walking recently, because I’m auditioning through Common Casting for Legally Blonde and Hair (the musical), and I have to hike up to the Aggassiz Theater (also home of the visitor center), Loeb Theater, and Farkas Theater. I really missed auditioning, so this process has been a blast! But I should get back to the pile of work on my desk….
Okay! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my post, and for those applying to Harvard, these next few months might be a little worrisome, but try to keep the admissions process in the back of your head and enjoy your last part of high school. You’ll end up wherever you need to be.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated everyone on my life. The 30th, I was in New Hampshire with my family, doing a little snowshoeing and reuniting with my crazy relatives. The 5th, I was flying from JFK to LAX, happily squished between an old Italian man and a snoring jetsetter. Now that I’ve been in the land of sunshine for a week, I suppose it’s time to write an entry!
Christmas was, of course, excellent. I received a UKULELE from my stepdad and my mom, which was awesome, and a lovely plane ticket to Los Angeles from my father. (Awesome again? Yes.) After the celebrations, I said goodbye to my mom, little sister, stepdad, dog, and cat and headed off to NYC with my other sister to visit our father. (Enough family for ya?) The ride was smooth, and we arrived in Connecticut in time for dinner with my grandmother. It was great to see the other side of my family, and although I missed Vermont’s snow, I was excited to get into the city for a few days. Here’s my “travel guide.”
NYC in 36ish Hours
COOL. So NYC was awesome, per usual, but on the fifth I started a new adventure in the City of Angels. Read on for the exciting bit.
I’ve been here for a whole week, visiting my GREAT friend Georgie, and staying in her house in the urban sprawl. I cannot think of a city more physically different than New York– it goes on forever, buildings are generally low (except for in downtown), it’s always fair weather (as opposed to the extremes of NYC), everyone drives, and there’s not really a subway system (earthquakes, you know). However, the fashionistas, musicians, actors, and the like can be found comfortably (or uncomfortably) residing in either city; they’re known for similar arts. Needless to say, I love LA and NYC equally, but this weather is the perfect break from the cold. (Yeah, it’s 73 and sunny right now.) Here’s a photo-essay of the highlights of my trip, including captions.
So that’s all for now. Next time I post, I’ll be back on campus for Speak Out Loud Wintersession workshop!