Bringing the Arts to Campus

paint brushes on a white background

In her work as a visual artist, Patricia Bone, NSFG’65, transforms found objects, fabric scraps, and childhood memorabilia into evocative mosaics. As a philanthropist, she is equally creative: her gift to Williston is currently funding an innovative visiting-artist program called the Grum Project for the Arts.

Launched in 2016, the program to date has brought to campus photographer and artist Tanja Hollander, renowned Berklee School of Music a cappella group Pitch Slapped, and American painter Cody Rutty, all of whom led workshops and met with students, sharing their stories and career insights. For the next four years, and possibly longer, her gift will bring musicians, actors, visual artists, dancers, and others to campus for similar mini-residencies, allowing the Williston community to experience a wide range of creative work and hear firsthand from the artists who produce it.

Grum was Patricia’s nickname at Northampton School for Girls (her then roommate and still good friend Laura Gould shortened her maiden name, Ingram). Patricia traces her appreciation for visiting artists to an artist-in-residency program she led when she was serving as the parent-teacher fellowship president at a school in San Juan Capistrano. “I saw a large positive reaction in faculty, parents, and students,” she recalls. “It confirmed my opinion that everyone is an artist and is ready to try new things or comment on them.”

An artist herself for the past 40 years, Patricia discovered her own new thing a decade ago, when in the course of preparing for a household move she began cleaning out the drawers and closets of her grown children. “Having recently viewed the powerful collages of Thornton Dial,” she recalls, “suddenly in my mind’s eye these nostalgic bits and pieces morphed into future collages of my own.” Informing her art—and, it seems, her philanthropy—is a philosophy “that really centers around generating joy and happiness and love,” she explains. “I hope that what I do is what a gallery owner once told me was the litmus test of art, and that is, if the heart makes it, another heart will recognize it.”

Now, through Patricia’s generosity, the Grum Project is allowing a new generation of Williston students to experience art’s power to connect us. “The Grum project has been a tremendous gift,” says Art Department Chair Natania Hume. “Every member of our community has been inspired by it.”