Boston is a college town. Besides the yearly influx of students (Allston Christmas, anyone?) and the exciting Boston College football rivalries, it also means we get the benefit of numerous university art galleries. The exhibitions don’t just show student artwork but also innovative artists from around the world. Even better? Admission is free. Check out the destinations you should add to your art-viewing itinerary.
MIT12 pm–6 pm, Tues.–Sun.; 12 pm–8 pm, Thurs.20 Ames St., building E15, Cambridge — Kendall T stop, limited street parking How to Get There
MIT may be a tech institute, but it takes art very seriously. Every year, the school runs an art lending lottery and a few lucky students get to borrow a piece from the center’s extensive collection for their dorm or office. Of course, the general public can’t apply, but you can admire the over 600 offerings when exhibited. Currently on display, through Sept. 30, is a dynamic exhibition of drawings, light sculptures, and sound work by Delia Gonzalez titled The Last Days of Pompeii. Turns out tech and art have a lot more in common than we thought.
Boston University12 pm–5 pm, Tues.–Sun.; 12 pm–8 pm, Thurs.808 Commonwealth Ave., Boston — Boston University West T stop, limited street parking How to Get There
Boston University offers a number of open-to-the-public galleries, but the 808 Gallery on Commonwealth Ave. is the most grandiose. Located in a former auto-sales showroom, the exhibition space features floor-to-ceiling windows on three of the four walls. High ceilings and a large blueprint mean this gallery hosts a lot of large-scale avant-garde artworks. Through Sept. 28, the gallery exhibits A Few Conversations Between Women, an intergenerational dialogue between female artists working in a variety of media.
Northeastern University11 am–7 pm, Mon.–Fri.; 12 pm–5 pm, Sat.360 Huntington Ave., Boston — Northeastern University T stop, limited street parking How to Get There
Northeastern is known for its extensive public art offerings, and Gallery 360 is no exception. The intimate but powerful gallery showcases visually stimulating, cross-cultural artists. Last spring the Nepali artist IMAGINE (aka Sneha Shrestha) painted a mural in the hallways leading to the gallery. She blended the classic aesthetic of Sanskrit scriptures with American graffiti style for a merging of two cultures. Through Oct. 22, Michael Kidner: Works on Paper displays hypnotic patterns that serve as a visual translation of mathematics and science.
SMFA at Tufts University10 am–5 pm, Mon.–Sat.; 10 am–8 pm, Wed.230 The Fenway, Boston — Museum of Fine Arts T stop, limited street parking How to Get There
Surprise, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts has some really great art. Through Oct. 25, its show, The Museum of Capitalism, seeks to educate audiences about the story and social impact of capitalism through history, art, and artifacts. Every year the Grossman Gallery hosts an enormous art sale of pieces by students, alumni, faculty, and affiliated artists. Not only is it a great way to get your hands on works by emerging and established artists, but it’s also helpful for new collectors and art buyers to get a sense of the market.
Wellesley College11 am–5 pm, Tues.–Sun.106 Central St., Wellesley — Wellesley Square commuter rail stop, free on-site parking How to Get There
This huge (and did we mention free?) museum is worth the jaunt outside the city. The Davis Museum has a large collection ranging from ancient Chinese sculptures to Andy Warhol that will delight history and art fans alike. From Sept. 21–Dec. 16, the museum will exhibit Jacob Lawrence: The Legend of John Brown, a series of history paintings in gouache by the renowned African American artist. The Davis Museum also runs a series called The Windows Invitational, where it invites a different artist to transform a section of floor-to-ceiling windows in the museum lobby. The current artist, Daniela Rivera, articulates her experience as an immigrant in the space. Her piece will be up through Spring 2019.
Simmons University10 am–4:30 pm, Mon.–Fri.300 The Fenway, Boston — Fenway T stop, limited street parking How to Get There
Located just steps from the Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, the Trustman Art Gallery exhibits the work of major professional artists, as well as one show of student work yearly. True to the Simmons spirit, many of its exhibited artists are women. Through Oct. 1, the gallery presents multimedia compositions in Julia Shepley: Linger & Shift. Accented with poems by Audrey Henderson, Shepley’s dark, textural works explore memory and the significance of inhabited space. Shepley grew up partially in Boston and still currently works out of a studio in Somerville.