Bakalar & Paine Galleries

Selected Exhibitions, 2005-2010

They've been called hidden treasures – and for good reason. When standing outside South Hall, the historic red brick building that houses the Sandra & David Bakalar Gallery and the Stephen D. Paine Gallery, there's little evidence they exist. Even when you enter the building you have to walk down two hallways to find them. But when you do, you'll discover some of the most imaginative, critically acclaimed contemporary art exhibitions in New England; museum-quality installations that showcase works by established artists and rising stars; living laboratories that engage, spark dialogue, and challenge visitors to question the very definition of art.

It's not like the Bakalar & Paine Galleries are a secret, though. Despite being located off the beaten path, and despite not being open during the summer months due to a lack of air conditioning, each year they attract about 10,000 visitors to campus with 4 to 6 exhibitions - all free to the public. And through award-winning educational outreach programs like Looking to Learn, the galleries bring MassArt closer to the Boston community, helping the college fulfill its promise to be an important cultural and educational resource to the public.

That the galleries have risen to such prominence is partly a reflection of the passion and ingenuity of the small staff who run them. Even limited by the facility's obvious shortcomings - for example, inadequate storage and a tiny workshop for installation construction - they still manage to create distinctive contemporary experiences in spaces that are anything but. It helps that MassArt undergraduate and graduate students are more than willing to volunteer for a chance to learn what it takes to bring an installation to life. And it helps that the staff deliberately keeps the schedule flexible so they can present art that's truly contemporary.

But despite these efforts, the Bakalar & Paine Galleries are hampered from reaching their full potential because of the physical limitations of the space they inhabit. That's why this campaign includes extensive renovations to South Hall, both inside and out. We'll build a vivid new entrance for the galleries along Huntington Avenue. We'll renovate the interior of the building by adding a reception lobby with visitor services; dedicated space for receiving, staging, and building installations; a 125-seat multi-purpose lecture hall; a workshop; curatorial office space; rest rooms; an elevator; and a climate control system to allow for year-round programming. And South Hall will be brought up to code and made ADA compliant, thus paving the way for museum accreditation.

For more information and ways to get involved, contact Vice President of Advancement, Marjorie O'Malley, at or 617 879 7045.