Launching the Future of the Arts at MIT Committee

June 3, 2024
Cynthia Barnhart, Provost |

To the members of the MIT community:

I write today to announce the appointment of the Future of the Arts at MIT Committee, which will advise the Institute on new ways to envision the place of the arts in our community. Peter Fisher, the Thomas A. Frank (1977) Professor of Physics, will chair the committee.

In 1987, Professor Paul Joskow led a similar committee. The resulting report solidified MIT’s commitment to our arts programs. Nearly 40 years later, our arts programs have expanded, driven by faculty and student interest, new technologies, and new ideas in the art world. New campus facilities for the visual and performing arts, design, and the public display of MIT’s extraordinary arts and creativity have opened or will be completed in the near future. At the same time, a broader understanding of what constitutes the arts and who acts as an artist has evolved in recent years.

The committee will develop a set of recommendations based on my charge to them:

  1. Conduct a broad review of the creative arts at MIT, focusing on curricular and program elements. Assess the changes implemented following the Joskow Report, the current standing of the arts, and how they intersect with science and technology.
  2. Develop guiding principles for the arts at MIT that the administration and faculty can use for future decision-making about activities that cut across campus, reinforce MIT’s curriculum, support student well-being, and serve the broader Boston and Cambridge communities.
  3. Outline a vision for the future of the arts at MIT.

The committee has already started its work and aims to share its findings with the community in spring 2025. If you have thoughts you would like to share with them, please email

I am grateful to Peter Fisher and the committee members, both within and beyond MIT, who have agreed to undertake this exciting work. I look forward to sharing the outcome.


Cynthia Barnhart