NATHALIE MIEBACH

The Persistence of Play
Public Art Commission for Massachusetts College of Art (MassArt)
Location: 621 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA

The Persistence of Play is a whimsical, idiosyncratic, data-driven look at the history of MassArt within the context of the larger economic, historical, technological and social developments that have shaped its continued evolvement since 1873. The sculpture is entirely made up of data from a variety of disciplines. Starting from the 1850’s, the information is translated along six pillars. Five of these pillars represent specific locations the school has moved to and the historical/economic/curricular changes that took place during those periods. The last pillar looks at the historical, industrial and political developments that created the demand, and ultimately the legislative groundwork of the 1871 Drawing Act, for MassArt’s birth two years later.

The most inspiring of the data-sources used were the yearbooks and school newspapers from MassArt students, starting from the late 1890s onwards. While life has changed drastically since 1873, when the first group of students entered MassArt, the urge to better ourselves as artists – and the pivotal role that play occupies in the creative process – is as relevant and central today as it was then, and as it will be tomorrow.

Process images - the piece took a total of 11 months to make: