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Emerson College Awarded $100,000 Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund Grant for Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery

BOSTON, MA (September 27, 2016)—Emerson College announced today that it has been awarded a $100,000 Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund grant, a program of MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The grant will contribute to the development of Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery to showcase contemporary media art exhibitions at 25 Avery Street, adjacent to the Emerson campus. The new facility will provide a vibrant visual arts presence to the College’s dynamic location, across from the historic Boston Common, adding to the neighboring Theatre District’s performing arts offerings.

The College is currently renovating the approximately 2,800-square-foot facility in preparation for its first exhibition on Friday, October 21, 2016. Emerson Urban Arts Gallery hours will be Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat., 2:00–7:00 pm. Admission will be free.

“Emerson is enormously grateful to MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council for their support of the creation of the Emerson Urban Arts Gallery,” said Emerson College President Lee Pelton. “The arts can profoundly connect people through shared experiences, and this new space will underscore the College’s vibrant Visual and Media Arts program and showcase diverse artists’ works to inspire our campus community, our surrounding neighbors, and the thousands of people from around the world who visit this area’s abundance of historical and cultural offerings each year,” he said.

Joseph Ketner, Emerson’s Henry and Lois Foster Chair in Contemporary Art and distinguished curator-in- residence in the School of the Arts’ Visual and Media Arts (VMA) Department, leads Emerson’s Urban Arts public art program, which has been creating public art events, murals, projections, and light installations over the past five years. “This is a significant commitment to developing a visual arts footprint that is parallel to the College’s contribution in the performing arts,” said Ketner, who is excited for the opportunity to add to the transformation of the downtown corridor.

“The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund has proudly supported Emerson College in its multiyear effort to expand quality arts experiences for the people of Greater Boston and beyond,” said Anita Walker, executive director, Massachusetts Cultural Council. “The new Emerson Urban Arts Gallery adds an exciting visual arts component to its theaters and performance spaces, further enhancing the economic fortunes of the neighborhood and the city.”

Ketner says the Emerson Urban Arts Gallery will complement the College’s Huret & Spector Gallery, the art gallery established in 2003 within the Tufte Performance and Production Center, which features student and faculty work as well as special exhibitions by guest artists.

The new space at 25 Avery has three distinct galleries: a grand, two-story, atrium gallery; a one-story gallery; and a Video Jukebox for presentations of work by Emerson faculty. It will offer four to six exhibitions per year, featuring the work of outstanding national and international visual and media artists as well as Emerson’s advancements in the fields of emergent digital media, projection mapping, augmented reality, data visualization, and performance art. The space will include public screenings of works from Emerson’s VMA faculty and will annually offer the Next Generation exhibition—showcasing regional graduate student artists’ works from partnering Professional Arts Consortium (ProArts) institutions.

The Emerson Urban Arts Gallery will also feature media works produced by faculty in collaboration with Emerson College’s programs and campuses in Los Angeles and the Netherlands, and partnerships in Beijing and Cologne, Germany. The space will serve as the locus of the College’s Urban Arts Program that has brought public art events to the City of Boston, including the Fort Point Arts Community, and is currently working with the Asian Community Development Corporation to develop programming and events.

Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery inaugural exhibition

The gallery’s inaugural exhibition in October will feature works by New York artist Oliver Herring, whose practice focuses on intensive collaborative encounters with volunteer participants.  In May 2016, the College hosted Areas for Action, a five-day public performance art event with Herring at 25 Avery Street (prior to renovations). Community members were invited to participate, interacting in open-ended performances that included body paint and glitter, which Herring documented in video and photos. The opening for the new public art gallery will premiere the still images and video captured at the spring Areas for Action participatory art event. The exhibition will run through December 3, 2016.

About Emerson CollegeBased in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has approximately 3,780 undergraduates and 670 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs at Emerson Los Angeles, located in Hollywood, and at its beautifully restored 14th-century castle in the Netherlands. Additionally, there are opportunities to study in Washington, DC, London, China, the Czech Republic, Spain, Austria, Greece, France, Ireland, Mexico, Cuba, England, and South Africa . The College has an active network of 37,000 alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit

About Emerson’s School of the Arts

The School of the Arts at Emerson College is a community of artists, professionals, and scholars committed to educating students to bring vision, commitment, sophistication, and courage to their crafts. School of the Arts students study Writing, Literature and Publishing; Visual and Media Arts; Performing Arts; or Comedic Arts. In Fall 2015, the School of the Arts’ Urban Arts Program hosted an immersive video installation event titled Electric Pilgrims, in conjunction with Fort Point Arts Community’s annual Open Studio event, which featured projections created by Emerson Visual and Media Arts faculty and alumni, as well as guest artists. And in February 2016, its Visual and Media Arts Department launched a series of collaborations with the Academy of Media Arts (KHM) in Cologne, Germany, including Para by KHM faculty member Mischa Kuball, on Emerson’s Paramount Center’s Urban Screen on Washington Street in Boston.

Funding for the Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery has been provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, administered through a collaboration between MassDevelopment  and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Media Contact: Carole McFall, 617-824-8415,

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