Art Days, Boston University Medical Campus’s annual art exhibit, makes a much-anticipated in-person return this week.
The event, now in its 32nd year, is a Medical Campus favorite. Organized with the help of the Creative Arts Society Student Group and the Medical Campus Provost’s Office, Art Days showcases the work of students, staff, and faculty from the School of Medicine, Henry M. Goldman School of Dentistry and School of Public Health, as well as Boston Medical Center. Last year the exhibition was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic (check out the 2021 gallery here), but this year it is returning to its usual home: Hiebert Lounge on the 14th floor of the building. instruction of MED. Art Days takes place on February 22 and 23.
The show, which received about 70 submissions this year, typically includes a mix of sculpture, painting, poetry, illustration, pottery, metalwork, furniture and knitwear, says Keith Tornheim, faculty advisor for the Creative Arts Society, associate professor of biochemistry and frequent exhibitor at the Journées de l’Art. As long as you created it, it’s welcome, he says.
“There’s just been absolutely wonderful things on display,” says Tornheim, who has shown both poetry and sculpture over the years. “It’s so nice to go see each other’s work and support your colleagues and in some cases be surprised by what they can do.
It’s the best part of Art Days, says co-organizer Jie Yin (MED’24), Creative Arts Society Chair of Visual Arts. “As a medical student who enrolled in 2020, I found it difficult to interact with my classmates and teachers at first due to the pandemic,” says Yin, a “sporadic” painter from long-timer who has taken up this hobby in recent years. “However, seeing their works at Art Days 2021 allowed me to appreciate them in a new light that wasn’t academic, and it fostered a sense of camaraderie in me that was essential for my medical school debut. ” (This year, Yin exhibits a reproduction of “Van Gogh”Starry Night” in acrylic.)
Kitt Shaffer, an MED radiology professor, has exhibited her work in Art Days almost every year since she arrived at BU in 2008. For her, the event is not just a celebration of the talents of her colleagues on campus, but a reminder that art has a home in the sciences.
A lifelong painter, draftsman, and craftsperson (she’s exhibiting one of her oil paintings this year), Shaffer often uses guided drawing exercises in her classes to aid visual learning. She also stresses the importance of having a creative outlet as a medical worker, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m convinced that having something — to draw, to music, to write, to sew, anything that brings a sense of accomplishment — is key to fighting burnout,” Shaffer says. “I am certain that my artistic activities have made me a better doctor and helped me through difficult times. When I talk to students and residents about their careers, I always stress the importance of keeping a few outside outlets to allow them to decompress and maintain a well-balanced life.
Jade Nortey (SPH’23), an Art Days newcomer, is also exhibiting her work. Nortey uses bold lines and bold colors in her paintings, which often feature black women against vibrant backgrounds. Her designs are inspired by her “personal experiences and identities,” Nortey says, as well as the R&B music she most enjoys painting to. Although this is the first time she has presented her work for the event, it is not her first exhibition – last year the Worcester Historical Museum asked Nortey to paint a mural for her Powerful enough: 100 years of vote and style exposure.
The Medical Campus Arts Event, initiated in 1990 under the leadership of MED Dean Emeritus Aram Chobanian (Hon.’06), BU President from 2003-2005, to foster the arts at the Medical Campus, is made possible by the continued support of his Provost’s Office and the organizing efforts of the Creative Arts Society.
Not to mention, of course, the artists who exhibit each year: “We’re not as good as the Ecole des Beaux-Arts,” Tornheim jokes, “but the non-medical arts have an important and ongoing history on our medical campus. It’s really wonderful that there is this point of sale and this storefront that is supported.
Medical Campus Art Days are today, Tuesday, Feb. 22, and tomorrow, Feb. 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Hiebert Lounge, 72 E. Concord St., on the Medical Campus. The event is free and open to members of the BU community.
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