A brush with creative brilliance

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  • Art students at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

    Art students at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

  • School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

    School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.


Robyn Reed knows very well how parents can sway would be art students away from art towards careers they believe will be more lucrative.

When she was a teenager her parents convinced her to study finance. It wasn’t until age 40 that she managed to swing her life back in the right direction. Today, she is Associate Dean of Admissions at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) in Boston. She will be talking with students interested in studying art at the SMFA today at Ten Cafe on Dundonald Street in Hamilton.

“I went to art school when I was 40 years old,” Ms Reed said. “I was convinced by my parents that art was not a good pursuit initially and went into finance and investment work. I believe if you are an artist you will eventually have to start making art. As soon as I felt comfortable enough making that decision, I quit my job and applied to a good art school and have been gloriously happy ever since.”

The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) is one of the top art museums in the world, and they have the second largest collection of art in the United States. Their art school is also highly respected. The school works in partnership with Tufts University and the education degree actually comes from Tufts, which was ranked as the 15th best school in the United States in the Forbes Magazine list of best universities. The partnership with Tufts allows SMFA students to take courses beyond the definition of art in areas such as law or museum science.

There is currently one student from Bermuda at the SMFA, Sarai Hines. She won an $8,000 scholarship to study at the SMFA. Charman prize winner Graham Foster is a graduate of the school.

“She (Sarai) is loving it here,” said Ms Reed. “She has been very involved in not only her classes but additional activities. She has been helping us recruit in Boston and helping with open houses. She seems to think that there could be a great deal of interest in Bermuda for other students.”

To get into the SMFA you need at least a 2.5 grade point average and a strong art portfolio.

“Our school is a little unique in that we aren’t looking for what many art schools are looking for which is a foundation in representational art,” said Ms Reed. “We are looking for indications of a very unique artistic voice and a great imagination. We are looking for attempts at conceptual ideas. Students definitely need a grounding in the foundations of art, but technical skills not necessarily what we are looking for. We are looking for a sense of imagination and risk taking.”

The SMFA student has unlimited access to the MFA with free admission any time it is open. They also have access to visiting artist lectures, exhibitions and have first choice at internship opportunities within the MFA.

“We definitely feel that an art education is a wonderful foundation for creative thinking and creative problem solving,” she said. “Employers are very interested in people who can think outside the box and come up with the unique solutions to problems. That is a transferable skill. Our students are very entrepreneurial, very motivated and very self directed. All of those attributes are very well respected.”

She said you name it, graduates of the SMFA are doing it. Most students go on to graduate school. Many become teachers, often at the college level.

“Because they have a Tufts degree in which they can minor in an academic area, we see people go on to law school, social work, political careers and, environmentalism,” she said.

Ms Reed will be speaking at several schools while she is in Bermuda, and will be at Ten Cafe from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

For more information about the school e-mail admissions@smfa.edu.

Useful websites: www.mfa.org or www.smfa.edu

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Published Jan 9, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 8, 2013 at 7:52 pm)

A brush with creative brilliance

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