A Brief History of 855 Comm

To some, it’s an old car dealership. To us, it’s our artistic home.

Like many buildings in Boston, the BU College of Fine Arts structure at 855 Commonwealth Avenue has history. In 1919, this stretch of road was Boston’s original Auto Mile and this solid edifice was the finest Buick dealership in the city. CFA moved into the space in 1954, making it the backdrop for this BU community of artists to learn, imagine, and investigate.

Today, there are still traces of the industrial glamor (we are especially fond of the mechanic gargoyles mounted high), but now the sprawling showrooms house art galleries, the expansive windows of the painting studios provide inspiring views of the Charles River, and the Beaux-Arts architecture complements more than 400 concerts, productions, and exhibitions by CFA students.

This is our artistic home. The place with natural light, tough bones, and just the right amount of grit. Where artists can get their hands dirty. A place that encourages students to explore—and to discover the artists they will become.

Photo credit: The American Architect, February 23, 1921
Courtesy of Logen Zimmerman