Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Art Committee
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Art Committee was started by Julius A. Stratton (MIT president, 1959-1966) and was initially known as “Friends of Arts at MIT." Catherine N. Stratton was a founding member of the committee and continued to work actively for many years to secure support for the arts. By 1960 the committee was more organized and used the name Art Committee. Initial projects included working with an existing faculty Museum Committee responsible for Hayden Gallery programs, headed by Professor Herbert Beckwith, and also advising the president on gifts of art. By 1961, the committee also sponsored sales of contemporary art and began building a collection of contemporary art including outdoor sculptures for the MIT campus. The committee studied and advocated for the visual arts, which led to the appointment of a separate Committee on the Visual Arts in 1966 to coordinate the non-curricular program of visual arts at MIT, and the establishment of the Center for Visual Arts in 1967, headed by professor Gyorgy Kepes. The Art Committee was at the same time considering its own future structure and the goal of a larger “arts council” which came into being in 1971 under MIT President Howard Johnson as the “Council for the Arts.” The council was composed of a nationally-based select group of MIT alumni, friends of the arts, faculty, staff, and students. James Killian (MIT president, 1949-1959) and Jerome Wiesner (MIT president, 1971-1980) were also closely involved with the Art Committee and the Council for the Arts. Earlier in 1949, Dr. Wiesner and Dr. Stratton were members of the Committee on Educational Survey, which produced the “Lewis” report that was instrumental in articulating a strong role for the humanities and arts on the MIT campus.