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MassArt Renames President’s Gallery

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(Left) Photo of Frances Euphemia Thompson at the 1980 dedication of the Gallery at the Longwood Campus. (Right) Theresa-India Young. Paupia Curtain, n.d. Wood and sisal. 36”x24”. Courtesy Paul Goodnight.

Boston, MA – August 23, 2018 – Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) announces plans to rename the President’s Gallery on the 11th floor of the Tower building to honor influential alumna and art educator, Frances Euphemia Thompson (1896-1992). To kick off the fall season, the Gallery will feature an archival display celebrating Thompson’s pioneering legacy in art education as well as an inaugural exhibition of work by Theresa-India Young and recipients of the MassArt scholarship in her name. The College will celebrate the Gallery renaming at a dedication event on Tuesday, September 25, 6-7:30pm. The Theresa-India Young Scholarship Exhibition will be on view September 4 – October 26, 2018.

About frances euphemia thompson

Frances Euphemia Thompson was a groundbreaking artist, writer, and educator. As one of the first African-American women to graduate from MassArt, then known as the Massachusetts Normal Art School, she dedicated her long career to improving the lives of students through art and education. Her undergraduate thesis explored how art programs could be employed in segregated rural schools and was adapted and published as a statewide manual for teachers by the Board of Education in her native Tennessee. Thompson received a Certificate in Elementary Teaching and Supervision in 1923 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education in 1936, both from the Massachusetts Normal Art School. She earned a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from Radcliffe College (Harvard University) in 1945 and taught at Tennessee State University from 1923 to 1969, becoming a Professor and Director of the Art Department in 1944.

At MassArt’s previous location—the Longwood Campus—a gallery was first dedicated to her in 1979. The renaming of the President’s Gallery at MassArt’s current location restores Frances Euphemia Thompson’s name to a well-deserved place of honor at the College so that faculty, students, staff, and visitors will be reminded of her legacy and her faith in art as a way to build a better world for all.

“I am pleased that we are renaming the President’s Gallery to honor the legacy of Frances Euphemia Thompson, a MassArt alumna and pioneer of art education. She challenged generations of students to better themselves, to see beyond what is, and to strive for what can be,” said MassArt President David P. Nelson.

“My hope is that this re-named gallery will serve as a perpetual reminder of Professor Thompson’s legacy and the power of art and design to change lives.”

theresa-india young SCHOLARSHIP exhibition

For the inaugural exhibition in the Frances Euphemia Thompson Gallery, the College is proud to display the work of another artist with strong ties to MassArt, Theresa-India Young (1950-2008), as well as work by current students and alumni who have received the memorial scholarship that honors her. A talented weaver with an encyclopedic knowledge of techniques, materials, and methods from numerous cultures throughout the world, her areas of expertise included Backstrap, Ikat, Kente, European tapestry, and Navajo weaving. Considering herself a weaving griot, Young shared her knowledge with students at several institutions throughout Boston, including MassArt, and bequeathed her sizable research collection of fibers books to MassArt’s Godine Library. The Theresa-India Young Scholarship Exhibition features the work of Theresa-India Young and scholarship recipients Zoe Grinder ‘19, Alexander Sebastianus Hartanto ‘18, Rachel Cass Oswald ‘15, Sarah Peloquin ’16 and Emma Welty ‘14.

plan your visit

Theresa-India Young Scholarship Exhibition
On view: September 4 – October 26, 2018

Monday through Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm
(Closed Sundays)
Free and open to the public

MassArt, 621 Huntington Avenue (Avenue of the Arts), Boston
Frances Euphemia Thompson Gallery
11th Floor, Tower Building
Enter through the Design and Media Center

Public Transportation
MBTA Green Line E Train (Longwood Medical Area stop)
Route 39 MBTA bus (Huntington Ave @ Longwood Ave stop)


About Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) is one of the top colleges of its kind in the United States. Founded in 1873, MassArt has a legacy of leadership as the only freestanding public college of art and design in the country and the nation’s first art school to grant a degree. The College offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in art, design, and art education, all taught by world-class faculty. MassArt is also home to the Bakalar & Paine Galleries, the largest free contemporary art space in New England, professionally curated to enrich the academic curriculum and make contemporary art an accessible experience for all. Among MassArt’s most accomplished alumni are designer Brian Collins, art dealer Arne Glimcher, Oscar-winning set designer Nancy Haigh, visual artist and composer Christian Marclay, Project Runway Season 15 winner Erin Robertson, interior and lifestyle designer Kelly Wearstler, and photographer William Wegman. For more information, visit Follow MassArt on social media: TwitterInstagramFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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Boston, MA 02115

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