Megan Flynn / Gavel Media

Culture, Art, and Conversation: A Voluntary Trip to the MFA

For the small price of a T ride, Boston College students can visit some of the most notable museums in the country. Unfortunately, many students only step foot in a museum during their four years in order to complete an assignment for class.

There are many benefits to visiting museums; for example, they can add to your understanding of the world around you. Also, there are countless historical, theological, and philosophical contexts in which you can begin to understand the art in each exhibition.

Art is meant to be a conversation. While information learned in class can be helpful in understanding a work and its holistic meaning, art transcends such understanding because it possesses a significance tailored to each individual.

If you never look at art with your own eyes, just to experience the emotions it creates, then you are missing out on your part of the dialogue. Art—like music—involves not only the creator, but also an audience. As the audience, we have a responsibility to experience art and the emotions created from it. It is often challenging to encounter said emotions in an academic setting. Art is a universal language that surpasses time and cultural differences. By looking at certain works, you can feel the passion the artist felt.

Personally, I admire J. M. W. Turner, a romantic painter. Painting wild seascapes, he fills the canvas with energy and life. The power of the sea threatens to overwhelm the viewer in these pieces. I relate to them in particular because the ocean and sailing are important to me; others may have different relationships with his paintings. There are multitudes of ways to interpret art, and that concept is what makes it so wonderful. Turner, like many artists, expresses emotions and ideas that are relevant to the world and its current condition.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has pieces of art on exhibit from all eras, places, and styles. In addition to the more dated and classic pieces, there are entire exhibits dedicated to art that is especially modern and relevant to college students. One exhibition in particular, which is currently on display, was created by college students from the Boston area. Titled “HOMiE,” the exhibit features work done by artists ranging in ages between sixteen and twenty. The artists explore a variety of ideas about the concept of home and our relationship to it. As a college student, I find "home" is a word that is thrown around a lot; some people miss their home while others talk about creating a new one here at Boston College.

Going to this exhibition is a wonderful way to engage in dialogue about home and what it means to you. It should not be an obligation that draws you to the museums; they are here to be enjoyed by the public. Ancient to contemporary art provides the opportunity for conversations on topics that relate to us today. Immerse yourself in art not because you have to, but because you want to.

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