Barnhart PhD ’88 announces formation of the Future of the Arts at MIT Committee

Committee to share findings in spring of 2025

In an email to the MIT community on June 3, Provost Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88 announced the formation of the Future of the Arts at MIT Committee to “advise the Institute on new ways to envision the place of the arts in our community.” Course 8 (Physics) Professor Peter Fisher PhD ’88 will chair the committee. Members of the committee include several MIT faculty and individuals from outside of the Institute, including Paola Antonelli, curator of design at the Museum of Modern Art and Paul Ha, director of the List Visual Arts Center.

Barnhart drew parallels between the current initiative and that led by Emeritus Professor Paul Joskow in 1986. 40 years prior, the Joskow report, according to Banhart, “solidified the Institute’s commitment” and “articulated a bold vision” for the creative arts at MIT.

Barnhart stated that since Joskow’s report, MIT has met many goals set forth in the report, including the expansion of academic and extracurricular offerings, construction of new facilities, and creation of public displays.

In her charge to the committee, Barnhart highlighted an increasingly salient presence of artificial intelligence and large language models, stating they have “accelerated rapid changes in art at MIT, causing art to blend into all five schools and the college in exciting ways.” She added that the advent of these technologies, along with mixed reality digital technologies, pose “new challenges to [the Institute’s] core values.” 

Barnhart emphasized that the committee’s mission is to “conduct a broad review of the creative arts at MIT.” Additionally, the committee is tasked with evaluating the changes made to the arts at MIT since the Joskow Report was made, developing guiding principles and outlining a vision for the arts at MIT.

The committee has already begun its work and according to Barnhart, will share their findings by Spring 2025. Those interested may contact