New student publication looks to shine spotlight on arts at Tufts

First-years Georgia Oldham and Lily Pisano, two of the three dual-degree students who cofounded Currents Magazine, pose for a portrait in Carmichael Hall on March 29. Ray Bernoff / The Tufts Daily

Currents Magazine, a new arts-centered magazine, will release its first issue on both the Medford/Somerville and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) campuses this month, according to cofounder and SMFA dual-degree student Lily Pisano. Pisano, a first-year, founded the magazine with fellow first-years and SMFA dual-degree students Georgia Oldham and Polina Pittell.

Funding for Currents was approved by the Tufts Community Union Senate in February as part of the Art History Society, according to a Feb. 27 Daily article.

Pisano said she came up with the idea for an arts-centered publication after realizing early this year that there is no publication dedicated solely to the arts at Tufts.

“From the get-go, we kind of realized there was a problem of a lack of the spreading of arts on the campus and lack of artistic presence in that way,” Pisano said. “Art is such a pivotal part of life, and it’s all around us: in architecture, in thought and in critical thought. It’s just a different way of thinking about things, and I think that it’s so important to have on a campus.”

According to Oldham, one of the magazine’s objectives is to promote collaboration between SMFA students and students in Tufts‘ Schools of Arts, Sciences and Engineering (AS&E).

“It’s a Tufts University publication, but one of our big goals was to bridge the gap between Tufts, the Medford campus, and SMFA, the Fenway campus, because there was that big merger last year,” Oldham said. “That’s kind of the main purpose of the magazine, to be an arts publication that brings those two worlds together and is really inclusive to everyone.”

Jake Rochford, a featured artist and member of the magazine’s development team, said that the publication also aims to get rid of pre-conceived notions that Tufts students and SMFA students have of one another.

“I know a lot of Tufts students think that SMFA students are never around or unapproachable or don’t take Tufts classes or aren’t a part of this curriculum, and I think that can be said for SMFA students too,” Rochford, a sophomore, said. “I think that’s a vice-versa feeling, because so many SMFA students think that Tufts students aren’t artistic or artists or anything.”

Pisano emphasized that the magazine is open to students on both campuses and that it seeks to be a welcoming environment for students to express themselves artistically. 

“To people on the campus who don’t necessarily feel like their artistic voice is heard or should be heard because they’re not ‘artists,’ as they say – feel free to submit whatever you want. We are not a judging, exclusive community,” she said. “We’re trying to include as many students’ voices as possible.”

Oldham said that, in addition to the visual arts, the publication will showcase other art forms such as music and performing arts.

“We could highlight a student artist at SMFA who has a really intense visual arts practice, or someone who is on a sports team but in their spare time takes photographs,” Oldham said. “It’s really just there for all types of artists working at Tufts or SMFA.”

According to Pisano, the magazine will release a new issue every two months and a zine every two months in alternating months so that content remains varied.

“Currents will be visual art, music, theater and performing arts, but the zine will probably only be visual art because that’s the only practice that can really be shown in that format,” she said.

In addition, Pisano wants the magazine to create a stronger connection between Tufts and its alumni.

“I think a lot of Tufts students – especially dual-degrees – in the past just haven’t had the space to really reflect in that way on their experience at both schools,” she said. “I’ve talked to a lot of upperclassmen and alums about it and they have said that this is something they’ve wanted to see on Tufts’ campus for a long time.”

Oldham said the magazine’s content is still being developed, but the first publication, which is being distributed today, will feature mostly curated works. She said that, in the future, they hope to get more staff writers and artists to showcase the artistic talent in the Tufts and SMFA communities.

“I think that when you start something, the really special part of that is you get to make this thing that will hopefully go on beyond you,” Oldham said. “You really get to shape what other people are doing with it and the whole attitude around it.”