#InTransitBoston: artwork by UMass Boston’s urban scholars students showcased on orange line
The MBTA is primarily a quick way to reach one’s destination, but Lisa Link also sees Boston’s subway system as a big public museum. The senior web designer at UMass Boston spent the past school year working with 21 high school students in UMass Boston’s Urban Scholars Program to create artwork for a new exhibit called “In Transit: Voices & Visions.” The students’ work will be showcased on Orange Line trains starting August 8.
“The idea of this project was to take over commercial advertising space and inject the vision and ideas of high school-aged students, and to take a site-specific approach to the artwork that they’re creating,” Link said.
Link is encouraging Orange Line riders to take photos of the art and post it on their social media channels, using the hashtag #InTransitBoston. The public is also invited to an opening celebration on Saturday, August 13 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in UMass Boston’s Harbor Gallery, located on the first floor of McCormack Hall.
The Orange Line ad space was purchased using a $10,000 grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ Creative City Program. Link received the Creative City grant along with Suamy Ventura, the program coordinator and recruiter for Urban Scholars, and Brad Bleidt, a career specialist for UMass Boston’s Office of Career Services and Internships, who has an art degree from UMass Boston.
In December and January, the students interviewed adults about their journeys, including staff members in UMass Boston’s Pre-Collegiate Programs and participants in UMass Boston’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Each student then selected a sentence or phrase from one of the interviews as the basis for the poster. Link, Bleidt, and Ventura worked with them on pencil drawings in February and on paintings in March.“When they first came in they were a little shy about the process. When they finally started getting involved in the process, their natural creativity really came out and their ideas were just so fresh,” Bleidt said.Link has an MFA in photography and she and Ventura worked with the students on photography and Photoshop in April. Link then added the final text treatment, working with designers in UMass Boston’s Marketing and Creative Services Department.
Bleidt saw the growth in the students from start to finish.
“It was such a great experience for them. It really covered a lot of different disciplines and gave them the confidence to ask questions of adults. I was really pleased,” Bleidt said.
Added Terri Morgan, senior director of programs and initiatives, “The benefit of this type of work to students is immeasurable. Activities like this provide invaluable exposure to new experiences—building skills and self-confidence as well as knowledge of career options and pathways.”
The artwork will be on display on Orange Line trains through September 4.