BU College of Fine Arts Convocation Celebrates the Exceptional 2021 Grads

2021 CFA Convocation

The 2021 CFA Convocation speakers, Boston’s Chief of Arts and Culture Kara Elliott-Ortega, Julian Iralu (CFA’21), and Hannah Hooven (CFA’21)

The newest class of Boston University College of Fine Arts enters the alumni community! On Saturday, May 15, 2021 CFA Convocation celebrated the exceptional graduating class with a virtual ceremony. An in-person Commencement ceremony was held on Nickerson Field on Sunday, May 16. Visit live.bu.edu/commencement-2021 for more info and to watch all ceremony videos.

Two student speakers addressed their fellow graduates at the Convocation ceremony: graduating senior Hannah Hooven (CFA’21) and second year Master of Music student Julian Iralu (CFA’21).

Hannah is graduating Summa Cum Laude from Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Music. with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. She is a Kilachand Honors College student, a 2020 Pi Kappa Lambda music honor society inductee, and a former President of CFA Student Government. In addition to those activities and accolades, Hannah is also a cofounder of the Boston After-School Music (BAM) program and a Teaching Assistant for Boston Children’s Chorus.

Julian is graduating CFA School of Music with a Master of Music in Trumpet Performance. She was recently inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda music honor society, and has served as an emerging Writer Fellow at GrubStreet during her time at BU. She explores the impact that artists have as leaders and members of a community.

Boston’s Chief of Arts & Culture Kara Elliott-Ortega was the 2021 CFA Convocation Speaker. Elliott-Ortega is an urban planner in the arts focusing on the role of arts and creativity in the built environment and community development. Prior to becoming the Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston, she served as the Director of Policy and Planning for the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. Kara’s work to implement Boston Creates, Boston’s 10-year cultural plan, includes creating new resources for local artists, developing a public art program, and supporting the development of cultural facilities. 

Miss the Convocation ceremony? You can watch all three speeches here.

Kara Elliott-Ortega

Boston’s Chief of Arts & Culture reflected on the sense of belonging and community that the arts and artists create and foster in our society. “As artists, as creative people and culture bearers,” she says, “you are a critical part of our narrative, a part of our collective recovery, and shaping what comes next.”

Through her years of arts immersion and community organizing, says Elliott-Ortega, “a common belief united all of my experiences: the belief that creative work and expression make us fuller, give breath to our agency, and can expand what is possible.”

2020 brought challenges, but it also offered a chance to reexamine the critical role that artists have in a community, and expand the recognition of what the arts mean to us. “As our society is reforming, it’s time to redesign it. This is a fundamentally creative pursuit. As creative people, and creative thinkers, please know that your tools are mighty, and we need you to wield them.” She challenged graduates to choose hope, and care, and trust that they are a part of our society’s reimagining.

Watch Kara Elliott-Ortega’s address.

Hannah Hooven

“As artists, we are essential workers, and our work is nothing less than bringing people back into awareness of the world around them, and then forward through the multiple cultural crises we face. We must remain compassionate, earnest, and strong in our convictions. We must always have faith in the impact of the messy, imperfect, beautiful results of our artistic process. I am so grateful to have experienced a messy, imperfect, and beautiful four years at the College of Fine Arts, and I cannot wait to start my next chapter alongside all of you.”

Watch Hannah Hooven’s address.

Julian Iralu

“The pandemic has shown us it’s a privilege to show up. As we enter the new normal, we won’t mute ourselves. We won’t keep our cameras off. We will show up for BIPOC communities, for LGBTQ communities, for people living with disabilities, for people living with mental health issues. For all marginalized communities. We will show up to support our fellow artists. Show up for ourselves. This is how we will heal as a community, and more broadly on a societal level.

“To the gentle graduating Class of 2021, I look forward to …the ways that as artists you will start conversations. The ways you will save the world.”

Watch Julian Iralu’s address.

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