Givers and Makers Join Forces at the SMFA at Tufts Art Sale

The annual event supporting art students takes place online October 22 to November 4
Mixed media art piece, combining drawing, painting, and collage, including ticket stubs and pieces of journal pages. The SMFA at Tufts will hold its annual fall art sale online October 22 to November 4
Detail from “Please Provide Contact Information” by Mark Younkle, a studio diploma graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. It will be featured in this year’s SMFA art sale. Photo: Courtesy of Mark Younkle
October 19, 2021

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Art lovers can refresh their souls while supporting working artists this fall as the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University (SMFA at Tufts) holds its annual art sale online from October 22 to November 4.  

The juried event features nearly 700 works—from ink drawings and oil paintings to photographs, collages, and etchings—by a vibrant community of SMFA at Tufts students, alumni, and faculty, who donate a portion of each sale to support emerging student artists at the school. 

The art sale—which can be viewed here—was formerly held at 230 The Fenway, but moved online last year due to the pandemic, giving the annual tradition a global reach.

Lindsey Kocur, “Molten,” acrylic, ink, and black volcanic sand on wood panel, which will be featured in the SMFA’s annual art sale. Kocur, SMFA13, aims to translates familiar places into “unattainable worlds, devoid of the human figure.” Photo: Courtesy of Lindsey Kocur“The SMFA Art Sale has been a cornerstone in the Boston art community for more than forty years. The artwork, the community, and in this case the online venue create an exciting energy that everyone can experience in an engaging environment,” said local artist Katie Block, who cofounded the Miller Block Gallery and served as a juror and art advisor for this year’s sale. “The sale provide both younger as well as seasoned artists a platform to present their work

SMFA professor of the practice Floor van de Velde, who works in film, sculpture, sound, and more, agreed. “It’s a high point of the year—a major, major event,” she said. “You can see how far-reaching the school is.”

Artists featured in this year’s sale include Helen Donis-Keller, who received an M.F.A. in studio art at the SMFA and is a professor of biology and art at Olin College of Engineering whose work highlights global sustainability themes; and Milan Kohout, formerly an underground artist and member of dissident human rights organization CHARTER 77, who was forced by Czechoslovakian security police to leave his country in 1986 and more recently has taught classes on performance art and politics at Tufts.

All funds that are raised will support the school’s commitment to meet 100 percent of every student’s demonstrated financial need. The sale raised $400,000 last year, and with student need growing, the goal this year is to exceed that.

The university’s commitment to financial aid “keeps students in the art world who wouldn’t otherwise be able to stay,” said financial aid recipient Indigo Naar, A21/SMFA21, who studied art and philosophy at Tufts. “For full-need students, this type of support makes all the difference.”   

James Glaser, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said he and his wife have several pieces of art in their house that they purchased at the sale.

“The art sale is a wonderful tradition at the school. Of course, the proceeds go to support financial aid for our artist-students, many of whom come from underrepresented groups. But the event is so much more than a fundraiser,” Glaser said. “It fosters community, and is a great celebration of the school, our alums, and our students.”

Monica Jimenez can be reached at monica.jimenez@tufts.edu.