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Engagement with other artists is an essential component of an art student’s academic experience. 

SMFA provides numerous opportunities for students to connect with and learn from established, contemporary artists. From intimate classroom and studio-based visits, to formal programming offered by the Tufts University Art Galleries and artist series at the neighboring Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, our students take full advantage of artists traveling to Boston and within our arts community. We support and engage with artists on the local, national, and international stage.

Artists in the classroom

Our faculty regularly invite artists to speak with their students and/or the larger SMFA community throughout the academic year. Classroom-based artist visits typically include a discussion of the invited artist’s practice and techniques as well as demonstrations and feedback sessions. Whenever possible, students are given the opportunity to share their work and participate in critiques.

Visiting Artist Program

Each year, the Tufts University Art Galleries oversee the SMFA Visiting Artist Program and invite renown artists to visit with students and present at public lectures. Invited artists compliment the galleries’ exhibition programming, faculty requests, and/or current topics in contemporary art. Talks are typically held on the Boston SMFA campus, next door at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, or on the Medford/Somerville campus.

Annual Beckwith Lecture

Established in 1978 by Leo and Betty Beckwith, the Beckwith Lecture features artists and cultural thinkers of national and international stature. This annual lecture is hosted by Tufts University Art Galleries. 

Past Beckwith Lecture Speakers:

Claudia Rankine
Arthur Jafa + Christina Sharpe
Alaina Clare Feldman
Eva Respini
Ben Davis
Jorge Fernandez Torres
Veronica Roberts
Jen Mergel
Kim Berman
Jacquelynn Baas
Linda Dalrymple Henderson
Lynn Cook
W.J.T. Mitchell
Okwui Enwezor
Hal Foster
Alfredo Jaar
Nancy Spero
Dave Hickey
Carolee Schneeman
Dan Graham
Lynda Benglis
Stan Brakhage
Bill Viola
Karen Finley
Mary Frank
Lorna Simpson
Barbara Kruger
John Cage
Julie Taylor
John Baldessari
John Wilson
Allan Kaprow
Elizabeth Murray
Robert Irwin
Yvonne Rainer
Robert Wilson

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