SMFA Art Sale Is Back In-Person This Fall

The annual sale, a fundraiser for the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, will be Nov. 46

If all the time you spent at home during the Covid lockdown left you craving something more meaningful and visually inspiring for your walls, never fear: The 2022 SMFA Art Sale is coming up.

After two years as a virtual event, the art sale returns to an in-person experience this year, with the sale days set for Friday, November 4, through Sunday, November 6, at SMFA at Tufts in Boston. More than 1,000 works created by some 250 alumni, students, faculty, and friends of the school will be on display and up for grabs.  

Nate Harrison, dean ad interim and dean of faculty, writes in the sale’s online catalogue that he looks forward to “the pleasure of engaging with art physically and viscerally once again.”

“To spend time with this unexpected brushstroke, or that funky, fuzzy texture—to dwell on an artist’s technique and the ideas that go along with them—isn’t that what it’s all about?” he asks.

Proceeds from the sale are split between the artist and SMFA, with at least half benefiting the school’s financial aid fund. It is the school’s largest fundraiser for financial aid each year, and, says art sale manager Kara Howgate-Mello, it is “key to expanding accessibility to an SMFA at Tufts education and providing ongoing professional opportunities for alumni.”

A painting by artist Marlon Forrester

Marlon Forrester, “StRaySly23.” Ink on paper. © Marlon Forrester

Art enthusiasts may recognize established artists such as Helina Metaferia, AG15 (MFA), Gabriel Sosa, AG16 (MFA), and Tara Lewis, AG95 (MAT). Interdisciplinary artist and 1990 diploma recipient Yu-Wen Wu, who recently installed work at Cummings Center on the Medford/Somerville campus, is offering two pieces, while well-known photographers, twins, and 1984 diploma recipients Doug and Mike Starn have contributed a mixed-media mountain-top landscape.    

In addition, the art sale features works from emerging artists and current students, such as D. Gateño, A25 (BFA), a Panamanian painter and printmaker whose current work draws on the world of professional wrestling, and Magda Petmeza, A22 (BFA), who contributed a clay amphora inspired by the ancient Greek pottery of her homeland.

A sampling of the pieces for sale, which include paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, jewelry, and mixed media works, can be seen in the online catalogue. It shows a range of price points, from a $100 COVID vaccination illustration by An Ho, A23 (BFA), to a five-foot tall photographic print by Lalla Essaydi, A99 (BFA), AG03 (MFA), offered at $24,000.

A photo by artist Lalla Essaydi

Lalla Essaydi, “LFM: Fumée d’Ambre Gris,” chromogenic print laminated and mounted. © Lalla Essaydi

Founded in 1978, the SMFA Art Sale is one of the largest public art sales in New England. SMFA students, alumni (including anyone who ever took a class at the school), faculty, and staff, as well as Boston area artists, are eligible to submit work.

For patrons, Howgate-Mello says, the sale gives a snapshot of SMFA artists at all stages of their careers. “It really allows people to see who their donation is benefitting, and they can see the progression of undergraduate students, graduate students, emerging artists, and more established artists,” she said.

The 2022 sale was juried by Yng-Ru Chen, founder of Praise Shadows Art Gallery; Juan Omar Rodriguez, AG19, assistant curator at the San Jose Museum of Art; Matthew Woodward, senior interior designer at Hacin + Associates; and Tiffany Shea York, J96, assistant director of the artist-in-residence program and special projects at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

The annual event, says Howgate-Mello, celebrates “the unique value and impact that the SMFA at Tufts has had and continues to have on the contemporary art scene here in Boston and beyond.”

The 2022 SMFA Art Sale hours are Friday, November 4, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, November 5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, November 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. SMFA at Tufts is located at 230 The Fenway, Boston. For questions, email or call 617-627-0053.

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