Party under the Light of Reason
Dark clouds were not an impediment for the Light of Reason to shine over the Rose Art Museum last Friday evening. Unfortunately, this year’s SCRAM Jam — the annual party organized by the Student Committee for the Rose Art Museum — did not happen under the best meteorological conditions. Nevertheless, the event dedicated to community, self-expression and celebration of the arts gathered a considerable crowd that reminded us that art is not to be confined to the walls of a museum, but to be enjoyed as a dynamic rupture in public space.
As a logistical decision, the Rose kept its doors open late as part of the event, allowing many of the attendees to experience the intense exhibition of multidisciplinary artist Howardena Pindell, “What Remains To Be Seen.” However, all of the performances took place outside of the building, something that was not arbitrary. Various artists, including Massachusetts native Cliff Notez, performed using Chris Burden’s permanent sculpture “Light of Reason” as a dynamic and visually engaging stage. The structure was commissioned in 2014 specifically for the Rose Art Museum and Brandeis University. As SCRAM Coordinator Courtney Gavey ’19 remarked to the Justice, “It’s incredible that it doubles as a functional space. The Light of Reason is a piece of art at the Rose, although absolutely a public one. Hosting cultural events in unexpected and innovative public locations really fosters opportunities for making art inclusive by removing traditional — and sometimes off-putting — senses of structure.”
As a senior at Brandeis, Gavey is passionate about the arts and their presence at Brandeis. “There are a number of symbolic reasons why I love to host art and performance events outside of the Rose,” she explained. “It’s important to me to recognize and treat art as something that can be dynamic and inclusive, rather than some intimidating, stagnant and removed concept.” As the night progressed, Gavey considered about the many reasons why some people might not venture inside art museums. She tackled the subject by remarking that SCRAM’s mission is to engage the Brandeis and greater Waltham communities with the arts and that “bringing art outside takes it off its pedestal (both literally and figuratively) and makes it accessible to a wider audience.”
Slowly gathering around the lampposts, some students walked around inspecting the food trucks parked by the art studios as some raindrops threatened to cancel the cultural event. However, the colorful food trucks with their delicious free food brought back the colors that were missing in the sky. While Cupcake City and the Chubby Chickpea were in charge of delighting us with their flavors, the Moody Street Circus amazed the audience with their adrenalinic sword dances and circus performances that included juggling, acrobatics and contortionism. The attendees were curious and receptive, joining the performers in a celebratory dance during the final act of the show.
This semester’s SCRAM team includes students Lizzy Topper ’21, Alex Shoshani ’22, Qiang Hu ’21 and Gavey, who made sure that everything ran smoothly throughout the busy evening. As SCRAM, they design creative events to foster the role of the arts in the Brandeis community. This year’s annual museum party was a warm reminder that art should be within everyone’s reach. As Gavey reminded us last friday night: “Putting art in public spaces brings a little joy and wonder to those passing through, and sometimes art’s role doesn’t need to be anything more complex than that.”