There is a certain unspoken code that arises when Boston College semesters come to an end. For many, this code sounds something like, “My professors are stressing me out with work. I do not want to do any of this work, but I will definitely end up homeless if I do not get an ‘A’ on my final paper, so I will not sleep for four days.”
While many students agree that the weeks leading up to finals week are daunting, and that finals week itself is a living hell, there are ways to reduce and relieve this anxiety and pressure. This week, that reprieve might be a two or three-hour trip down to the Waterfront in order to visit the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) for their 10th anniversary week of celebrations.
If staring at paintings, old pieces of furniture, and nude statues all day is not your thing, then the ICA is the place for you. Unlike more traditional galleries, the ICA is an art museum with alternative types of programming that change constantly.
Collette Randall, director of marketing and communications for the ICA, explained that part of the ICA’s mission is providing a space for community. This part concerns constantly re-engaging and involving members of the Boston Community through special events like the 10th anniversary celebrations.
As part of the museum’s 10th anniversary, many of the events center around a 10 day theme. On Dec. 1, the 10 days of programming, activities, parties, and exhibitions at the ICA began, a week of festivities that culminates on Dec. 10 with a free community day for all to participate.
Randall also noted that the institute is based in community through the ways it provides Bostonians, and other visitors, with opportunities to explore something new about themselves and others.
The heart of the ICA is the innovation that art and the artists put forth—innovation that can be found without even leaving Boston.
“Part of the community that we build is in direct correlation to surrounding the Boston landscape,” Randall said. “Many works of art are contributed or collected from directly within or around Boston.”
Currently on exhibit in the ICA is a showcase called First Light. Open to the public from mid-August to Jan. 16, the exhibition tells stories of emotion through art. Pulling from the strengths of the ICA’s physical collection First Light examines the ways that community has formed around these various forms of media by combining the highlights from the collection that the institute has built since 2006 with newly acquired pieces. The collection, which recently opened to the public, features a wide representation of voices and strong new media. You will see sculpture, photography, video, painting, installation, and many other groundbreaking themes.
One of the other notable aspects of the ICA that Randall highlighted was the unique collection of art made by women. Housed within the Institute’s Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women lies an impressive trove of artwork that was created by women. Some of the notable artists include Cindy Sherman, Eva Hesse, and Kara Walker.
Whether you are binge-eating Half Baked Ben & Jerry’s, stress exercising, or pulling the dreaded all-nighter, consider relieving some of that stress by going down to Shore Dr. on the water to see and experience the ICA’s innovative exhibits and anniversary celebrations. Thursday, Dec. 8 is free admission between the times of 5 to 9 p.m, and the free community day is Dec. 10.
Additionally, for those students 21 or over, the ICA hosts “First Fridays” throughout the year. These nights, which occur on the first Friday of each month, are filled with a variety of themed activities.
Each month there is a different theme, but be sure to show up early—the ICA usually fills to capacity on these special Friday nights. Last Friday’s theme was “Snowball,” and was be filled with activities developed to welcome winter back into the city with a good heart, and to throw back the mood to 2006.
For those under 21, Randall pointed toward “British Arrows,” a particularly unique experience during which attendees will watch and review the best of Britain’s television commercials. “British Arrows” is for those who want stray off the beaten path and have a night of humor and fun.
“[The commercials] are surprisingly amazing,” Randall said. “They are these two-minute little masterpieces. They’re often touching, hilarious, and they really seem to be a cult favorite.”
Correction: The date of the ICA’s ‘Snowball 06’ First Friday has been changed to reflect that it took place on Friday Dec. 2.
Featured Image by Iwan Baan