CREATE pre-orientation leaders, participants find community through art

SMFA's main building, 230 The Fenway, is pictured on March 24, 2017. Seohyun Shim / The Tufts Daily Archives
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The CREATE pre-orientation program, formerly known as Arts @ Tufts, celebrated its fifth year this summer by introducing a new generation of Jumbos to the Tufts and Greater Boston arts scenes. CREATE stands for Cultivating Relationships by Engaging in the Arts at Tufts Experiences. Through this program, students from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, the School of Arts and Sciences and the School for Engineering all spent four days this August exploring different creative activities and settings.

Elena Campos, a student of the SMFA and School of Arts and Sciences, was the coordinator for the 2022 program, and explained exactly what CREATE entails. 

“CREATE is one of the Pre-Orientation programs incoming students can participate in. Heavily affiliated with the SMFA, the four day program focuses on introducing participants to art experiences and opportunities at Tufts and in the greater Boston area,” Campos wrote in an email to the Daily. “We host workshops, visit museums, and create art on both the Medford and Fenway campuses. I started working with CREATE when I was a leader last year. After having fun in that position, I decided to apply to be the coordinator for this year’s program.”

This year, CREATE participants visited SoWa, the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in addition to participating in activities at the SMFA campus.  

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“We held workshops at the SMFA with specialized studios and the SMFA library. Participants made zines, painted, wove, and explored the metal and painting studios,” Campos wrote.

At the Medford/Somerville campus, the Department of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies hosted workshops with professors and the Tufts University Art Gallery introduced the Class of 2026 to its newest exhibition.

Olivia White, an SMFA combined degree student graduating in 2023, spoke to the Daily about her own experiences as both a participant and leader of CREATE in an email.

“I decided to be a leader because my own experience doing a Pre-Orientation program as a freshman was so impactful, and I wanted to be able to create that kind of experience for other students,” White wrote in an email to the Daily. 

The program’s grand finale in Barnum Hall on Aug. 30, where students modeled designs made out of recycled materials, was White’s favorite memory as a leader.

 “It’s so wonderful to see everyone work together and be so excited about what they created, and the community that we’ve created in just four days becomes very apparent,” White wrote. “It’s also a lot of fun to see how creative people get with the materials they’re given!”

First-year Eli Morton told the Daily about their experience with CREATE. Like White, they loved the fashion show at the end.

“I think that was really when everyone was comfortable enough with each other to be silly and the things people came up with were entertaining, to say the least,” Morton said. “CREATE helped me adjust to the basic idea of college residential living while meeting people that had similar interests to me. I now have a lot more friendly faces going into the school year.”

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