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University, Art Museum sign agreement

Posted 04/29/15

FAM Director Nick Capasso and Fitchburg State President Robert AntonucciCementing a productive collaboration that has yielded dividends for both institutions, leaders of Fitchburg State University and the Fitchburg Art Museum signed a formal memorandum of agreement Wednesday, April 29.

Museum Director Nick Capasso noted the agreement grew out of a successful collaboration in which the museum hosted a mid-career exhibition of artist and Fitchburg State faculty member Jeffrey Warmouth. The exhibition was designed and branded by Fitchburg State students, and the institutions collaborated to install and support it.

The model has since been replicated several times at the museum, including the ongoing Naturetech exhibit, for which students have produced an array of physical and digital collateral.

“Students have been able to work on real-world projects with a real-world, demanding client,” said Capasso, who estimated the students have created the equivalent of $30,000 worth of deliverables since the partnership began. “What the students get in return is deep, real-world experience. The quality of this student-produced work has been superb.”

“It’s all about the students,” said Fitchburg State President Robert V. Antonucci, adding the agreement builds upon years of effective collaboration. “We’ve always had a partnership and it has grown tremendously.”

The productive relationship between the art museum and the University will benefit the entire city, President Antonucci said, adding the institutions strengthen the community by working together.

The opportunity for student enrichment created through the partnership continues through collaborations that produce exhibition catalogs, promotional videos and social media campaigns.

The agreement provides free admission to the museum for all Fitchburg State University students, faculty and staff; makes the museum staff, exhibitions and collections available to university students, faculty, and adult learning programs; and formalizes a relationship with the McKay Arts Academy on the University campus. The pact also spells out collaboration between the institutions and other partners on community development programs, cultural festivals, creative economy initiatives, and broad-based education initiatives. These include the Upper Common Cultural District, the Fitchburg Cultural Alliance, the redevelopment of the B.F. Brown building and adjoining properties, the Main Street Arts Project, the Big Read, and the annual Blacksmith Art and Music Festival, among others.

For the University’s part, the agreement guarantees that museum personnel will have access to occasional administrative, development and information technology support; faculty and professional staff consultation on exhibition and program management; professional development for museum staff; and guaranteed university representation on the museum’s board of trustees. The University also agrees to engage in collaborative programming, public relations and marketing with the museum.

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