Jewett Arts Center Celebrates 50th Anniversary This October

October 9, 2008

Molly Tarantino, Public Affairs

WELLESLEY, Mass. — To today’s students, the Jewett Arts Center may seem like a permanent fixture on Wellesley’s campus; yet just 50 years ago, the building was a brand-new addition to the College’s architectural landscape.

In celebration of Jewett’s 50th anniversary, the art department will host an exhibition of photographs from the Wellesley College Archives, depicting the building’s original appearance and function. First opened in October 1958, the arts center now houses the music, art and theatre departments as well as the art and music libraries, several gallery areas for student artwork and the 320-seat Jewett Auditorium.

The photo exhibition kicks off in Jewett Sculpture Court Wednesday, Oct. 15, with a reception from 4:30-6:30 pm and a lecture on Jewett’s historical significance at 5 pm in room 450. 

John Rhodes, adjunct assistant professor of art at Wellesley, will present the lecture “Jewett's Architecture at 50: Looking Back at Three Motifs,” which will discuss the ways in which Jewett provides “a distinctive example of 1950s American modernism.”

“Architect Paul Rudolph’s great innovation was to integrate the museum spaces thoroughly with the everyday uses of the building—utterly unlike current museum policy—so that some of the most important works in the collection were literally in the path of students on their way to and from their classes,” Rhodes said.

The exhibition will remain on display through Nov. 25.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries.