The BAC and Boston Arts Academy Partner to Advance Shared Missions

Schools collaborate to provide accessible art education

The BAC's Michael Wolfson gives students from the Boston Arts Academy a tour of McCormick Gallery's exhibition on obento and architecture

The BAC's Michael Wolfson gives students from the Boston Arts Academy a tour of McCormick Gallery's exhibition on obento and architecture; Photo by Molly Chase

The Boston Architectural College (BAC) recently welcomed a group of students from Boston Arts Academy (BAA) to campus to explore the College's exhibition Obento and Built Space: Japanese Boxed Lunch and Architecture. The students enjoyed a guided tour conducted by Karen Nelson, Dean of the BAC's School of Architecture; Michael Wolfson, Director of the BAC's Distance Master of Architecture Thesis; and Deb Samuels, cookbook author, food and travel writer, and generous contributor to the College's exhibition. BAA students examined the vibrant bento boxes, asked insightful questions, and walked away with a new understanding of Japanese culture and how certain aspects of it relate to architecture.

This exhibition visit, which exposed the students to new Japanese traditions while drawing unexpected connections between bento boxes and design, is just one example of the BAC and Boston Arts Academy collaborating to enrich students' learning experiences. The two schools share a mission of educating students to respond to the challenges of the 21st century. The BAC works with the BAA to ensure high school students reach academic success and graduate feeling prepared for their next endeavor, whether that is college or professional employment. For more than 15 years, the BAC has partnered with BAA to uphold their shared missions of fostering artistic and academic innovation and preparing a diverse community for success in the classroom and in their careers.

"The Boston Architectural College, as part of the ProArts, was instrumental in founding BAA," said Mónika Aldarondo, Creative Director at the Boston Arts Academy. "ProArts presidents worked with parents, students, Boston Public Schools, and the city to open the school in 1998. We are proud to remain closely tied to all of these constituencies since the day we first opened our doors and remain committed to providing an accessible art education for young residents of Boston."

The Boston Arts Academy is a collaborative project between the Boston Public Schools and the ProArts Consortium, which includes the BAC in addition to five other institutions of higher learning specializing in the arts: Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory, Emerson College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. ProArts coordinates programs among its members to expand educational opportunities and resources for participating institutions and works to enrich the arts and arts education in Boston and beyond. The BAC has had the opportunity to work closely with BAA to create innovative learning experiences for students of diverse backgrounds.

From hosting a guided tour of McCormick Gallery's exhibition to hosting the BAA's high honors luncheon, the Boston Architectural College enjoys opening its campus to BAA students. The high honors luncheon is a way to celebrate students' outstanding academic achievement. At the most recent luncheon in March, students enjoyed meals with a lively speaking program led by Aiden Ackerman, Director of Digital Media, and Julia Halevy, Acting President of the BAC.

BAA students are also able to take courses at the BAC at no cost to the student while they are in high school.

"The Boston Architectural College currently has one Boston Arts Academy student enrolled in a digital media course," said Aidan. "This student has been part of a pilot program that we developed to begin opening up our courses to Boston Arts Academy students, and due to its success, we plan to replicate and expand the program in future semesters."

The BAC and BAA look forward to a lasting relationship that continues to work toward the shared goals of preparing students to meet today's challenges, providing accessible education to diverse communities, and inspiring expression through arts and design.