Art for (SM)Art's Sake

August 18, 2017

The Los Angeles Times recently featured RAND and its impressive art collection — on loan from various donors, notably Peter Norton — but there's much more to art at RAND than the contemporary pieces on display.

RAND — and by extension, Pardee RAND — has long supported, encouraged, and featured artistic endeavors by its staff. Currently, professor Sandy Berry's art is on display in the RAND library. In the recent past, student Crystal Huang (cohort '13) and professor Dave Baiocchi have also had exhibits in the library, as have other RAND staff.

The Broadway Mural (1981) by John Valadez

The Broadway Mural (1981) by John Valadez

Photo by Panic Studio LA

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Student Crystal Huang and some of her paintings, at her 2016 RAND library art show

Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

Professor Dave Baiocchi poses with some of his photos in the RAND library in 2015

Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

Pardee RAND is also proud to display art by Theresa Wolf, widow of our founding dean Charles Wolf Jr. She donated two of her serigraphs to Pardee RAND in 2013, and they are on display near the Dean's office. And the walls of Pardee RAND also feature art created by students during an Art Therapy session at this past spring's Mental Health Awareness Week.

In January 2016, the School hosted an artist-in-residence, Phillip Ratner. His activities while on campus encouraged students, faculty, and RAND staff to think outside the box and "create environments and situations to encourage interactions between RAND staff, with the hope of producing new collaborations, discussions, and general interactions within and across disciplines."

Students posed for this photo as a thank you to Theresa Wolf, who donated one of her serigrafs to the School in 2013

Many students worked together to create this painting during an Art Therapy session, part of the 2017 Mental Health Awareness Week

As RAND President and CEO Michael D. Rich said (in the LA Times article), art "triggers conversations about what the limits of human imagination are."

It may not come as a surprise, then, that some Pardee RAND alumni have gone on to become successful artists, notably painter Marilyn Cvitanic (cohort '84) and designer Jackie Braitman (cohort '78). Others enter the field of arts research; Ann Stone (cohort '94) works for the Wallace Foundation, while Jennifer Novak-Leonard (cohort '04) is an arts policy researcher.

Additionally, many students come to Pardee RAND with art or musical experience, which Pardee RAND nurtures. Aside from having an art show in the library, Crystal Huang has led art therapy workshops for two years. Fellow student Jakub Hlavka (cohort '14) performs with the Santa Monica Symphony, and Etienne Rosas (also '14) performs with an indy band The Revies. And of course alum Arthur Brooks (cohort '96) is fond of mentioning that he was a French horn player in the Barcelona Symphony before he changed his focus to policy analysis. (Brooks chose art and cultural policy as his dissertation topic and also coauthored several of RAND's seminal arts policy reports, including Gifts of the Muse).

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Crystal Huang leads an Art Therapy session during the 2016 Mental Health Awareness Week

Student Jakub Hlavka debuted as first chair and concertmaster of the Santa Monica Symphony in January 2015

Photo by Martin Cohen Photography, courtesy of the Santa Monica Symphony

Students Etienne Rosas and Claire O'Hanlon perform at the 2016 holiday party

Alumni and students: If you are an artist or art researcher and we accidentally omitted you, please let us know and we will update this article!