Collection and Services

The Visual Arts Research and Resource Library is a non-circulating collection of books, exhibition catalogues, directories, magazines, and sound and video recordings available for BU SVA students and faculty. New books are added annually, and acquisition recommendations are always welcome. The Research and Resource Library houses an over 6,000-volume reference collection, which includes many rare and unique items.

The library’s digital resources include Apple desktop computers equipped with Adobe Creative Cloud and a large-format digital scanner. A collection of digital equipment, including still and video cameras, projectors, audio recording equipment, lighting kits, and more, are available for short terms loans to BU SVA students and faculty. Browse the SVA equipment offerings below.

Fall 2023 Hours

The Visual Arts Research and Resource Library will be open the following hours:
Mondays: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesdays: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Wednesdays: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Thursdays: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Fridays: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Please note, the library is not open on Saturdays/Sundays or on holidays.

Lunchtime Research and Resource Shares

The Visual Arts Research and Resource Library hosts events throughout the semester where students can learn from BU SVA faculty members about their research and the classes they teach, and from members of the BU community about campus resources that will support their academic and artistic work.  Food is provided and all are welcome.

VARRL Open House
Wednesday Sept 13, 1-2pm
The VARRL is for you!  Attend the Open House to check out the newly renovated space, hear about some of the discoveries that were made during the renovation, and learn about all of the resources that the VARRL offers.

BU Study Abroad: Venice Info Session
Tuesday Sept 19, 10-11am
Join staff from BU Study Abroad and Venice program alumni to have some Italian treats and learn about the Venice Study Abroad program, which is designed to work with the BU SVA undergraduate majors. Applications for the Spring and Summer 2024 programs are currently being accepted. 

Faculty Research Share: Breehan James
Wednesday, October 4, noon-1 pm
Assistant Professor Breehan James will talk about her practice of painting in wilderness locations such as the Minnesota Boundary Waters and the artistic research she and her UROP mentees conducted in preparation for her Drawing Trees class last year. Breehan’s paintings and works on paper portray her experiences exploring the wild places of the North and the people connected to them. She has had solo shows in NYC at Larissa Goldston Gallery and in Milwaukee at Tory Folliard Gallery as well as participated in many group shows at galleries across the United States and Canada. Breehan was a 2014-15 recipient of the Sharpe Walentas Space Program in Brooklyn and has participated in many residencies and fellowship programs, including the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Norway, and the National Gallery of Canada.

Research & Resource Share: Arts Lab and Medical Illustration Internship
Monday, October 16, noon-1 pm

Arts Lab is a partnership between CFA and BU’s Medical Campus, looking at intersections between art and health and care. Join Arts Lab’s director Moisès Fernández Via to learn more about upcoming projects and how to get involved. This Research Share is also an opportunity to learn about our Medical Illustration Internship, which is a partnership between SVA and the Center for Skull Base and Pituitary Surgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Illustrated Verdict (a medical illustration firm in Boston). Medical illustration helps share complex ideas, clarifying disease. It’s a great way to explore the power of illustration, graphic arts, and design in enlivening medical narratives and information. 

To apply to the internship send a portfolio of 15-20 current works, including drawings, and a letter of interest to Lynne Allen at by November 10th. 

Faculty Research Share: Joshua Brennan
Wednesday, October 18, noon-1 pm
Joshua Brennan, Technical Associate, Printmaking and Photography, and Lecturer in Printmaking, invites you to embark on a captivating journey through the world of printmaking, tracing its rich historical origins and exploring its contemporary influence on artists today. During this immersive event, not only will you gain valuable insights into the art form’s broader significance, but you’ll also have the unique opportunity to create your own print using a portable printing press, unlocking the creative potential that printmaking offers. 

BU Student Wellbeing: Perfectionism, Procrastination, and Self-Compassion
Tuesday, Oct 24, 10-11 am
Join Beverly Chen, Director of Wellbeing Education and Training, for a discussion about a common challenge in the studio and the classroom–perfectionism and procrastination. Perfectionism can create unnecessary pressure and diminish the joy we find in our work, and often leads to procrastination when what we create doesn’t hit the high bars we set for ourselves. Beverly will share how to differentiate perfectionism from a healthy pursuit of excellence and how to use the skill of self-compassion to temper the negative influence of perfectionist thinking so you (and your work) can thrive. She’ll also review the many resources available through BU Student Wellbeing. 

Faculty Research Share: Gregory Gómez
Wednesday, October 25, 1-2pm
Associate Professor Gregory Gómez will discuss his practice of creating permanent art installations for public spaces, and in particular the research involved in developing successful proposals for public art. His permanent public art commissions are installed at locations including the Harvard Medical School and educational institutions, libraries, and transit facilities in Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Vermont.

Faculty Research Share: David Snyder
Wednesday, November 1, 1-2 pm
Assistant Professor and Chair of MFA Sculpture David Snyder will share images and video of his work and research. David’s sculpture, video, installation, and image-based work engages the unstable and mutable potential of objects, language, imagery, physical space, and social relationships. His work has been featured in numerous gallery and museum exhibitions, including the inaugural Made in LA: Los Angeles Biennial at the Hammer Museum, and has been profiled in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Art Agenda, Contemporary Art Daily, Art Forum, Frieze, and Sculpture Magazine, among other publications.

Archival Research Share: Logen Zimmerman
Monday, November 20, 1-2 pm
School of Visual Arts Operations Manager and unofficial historian, Logen Zimmerman, will provide background and context related to the November exhibition, Printed/Matters@SVA, that he has curated for the VARRL vitrine, “Blanche.” He will describe his process of selecting the objects from the School archive, as well as creatively interpreting them for the viewing public. The exhibition focuses on utilitarian graphic design, the printed picture, and text that unites visual form. These materials are displayed to reveal hidden histories of the School, and relate to both individual and collective memory. The exhibition is accompanied by recommended readings drawn from the VARRL collection.


Contact Info

Boston University School of Visual Arts
Visual Arts Resource Library, Room 501
855 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215

Equipment Inventory

Equipment resources are only available to BU students currently enrolled in relevant SVA courses.

Equipment rentals are usually limited to three days, although longer loans can be arranged with SVA staff. Some equipment is only available for use on-site and cannot be loaned. More information on specific items can be found in the Equipment Inventory below.

Location: Visual Arts Resource Library
Contact: Nerissa Cooney