ART NOW: $1.4 Million Banksy Painting Self-Destructs

In the exciting wake of Summerfuel’s first ever Art Now program in partnership with Christie’s in New York City, it is only fitting that we talk about the incredible Banksy stunt that occurred just a few days ago. Whether you attended the inaugural year of the Art Now program and learned about the artist, Banksy, firsthand there, or you already know who he is, this stunt was one for the ages.

The British street artist created the renowned spray paint on canvas work, entitled “Girl With Balloon”, which sold for $1.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction last week. As soon as the hammer went down, the painting seemed to self-destruct, falling through the frame in shredded pieces! Soon after, Banksy took to social media admitting to his prank and showing a video of a shredder being built into the back of the frame. This was quite an unprecedented happening, leaving onlookers in a state of shock and awe – they were having a true Banksy experience.

This stunt raises so many questions – did Sotheby’s know that this was going to happen? Has the value of the work gone down? Or, perhaps, the value has gone UP? What will be the next steps for the buyer of the work that just spent $1.4 million? Maybe the fact that we have so many questions and are buzzing about the prank, is exactly the point that Banksy was trying to make in the first place.

What do you think? Art Now alumni, art buffs around the world, and those who are just hearing about Banksy for the first time – tell us your thoughts on this piece of auction history!

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Summerfuel Scholars

Each year, Summerfuel is dedicated to making the summer of a lifetime possible for an accomplished and diverse group of students through our Summerfuel Scholars program. Partial-tuition scholarships are awarded to motivated students from across the United States, providing exciting opportunities to learn and grow. From classes and excursions to experiencing college-life and meeting friends from around the world, there are so many things to gain from a Summerfuel program. A recent Summerfuel Scholar who attended the Pre-College program at Tufts University had some great things to share with us about her summer experience:

While my classes were informative as well as enjoyable, the best part of my whole experience was the friends I made. Even though I spent only two weeks at Tufts, I formed friendships that I believe will last a very long time. I cannot express my happiness enough because the friends I made during the summer mean so much to me now. I now have friends from France, Turkey, Italy, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Egypt, Lebanon, and Spain, as well as a few more friends from America. I learned about their different cultures, including what music was popular and what foods were the best to eat, and I bonded over similar experiences we had, even though we come from different parts of the world. When we had to say good-bye, we were all filled with sadness because we did not want to leave each other and we feared we would never see each other again. However, I still talk to the friends I made, and through social media, I am able to keep in contact with my international friends.

Being a part of Summerfuel allowed me to further my knowledge in medical research and genetics. It also allowed me to form some unbreakable friendships. Summerfuel gave me experiences and friends I would have never made anywhere else, and it also gave me a sneak peek into what my life as a college student would be like. All I can say is that if I had the opportunity to do it again, I would. This past summer was probably one of the best summers of my life because of the friends I made at Summerfuel. I will never forget my experience.


-Clare Taylor-Winters, Pre-College Tufts University, 2018

What Summerfuel has Meant to Me: A TCE Student Reflects

Claudio Colonna, 17, had not expected the amount of fun and drive he would receive from attending Summerfuel at Tufts’ Tufts College Experience (TCE). With this only being his second time in the United States (and his first time flying alone), Claudio had worried about whether he would bond with students or staff, but was pleasantly surprised when he got to do both. For Claudio, and most students who attend Summerfuel TCE, the fear of making no or very few friends could prove a source of angst. However, the reality quickly sets in that this is not the case and students ease up shortly upon arrival to the campus when they participate in orientation activities with their Resident Assistants (RA’s).

Though it was a learning curve at first, Claudio quickly recognized the benefit and took full advantage of relating to his RA. RA’s are present and easily reachable to give students guidance, leadership opportunities, mentoring, positive study habits, friendship, and so much more. They also serve as authority figures, balancing between the roles of older “sibling” and enforcer.

Academically, Claudio achieved most of his goals, but, following this challenging and enriching experience, came to accept that not all aspects of one’s academic career will turn out as one imagines. He also realized that, no matter how well high school prepares a student for college/university, it is not until one steps onto a college campus and takes coursework that one senses what university is actually like. From the bonding between residents and staff to the academic guidance the RA’s relay from their own university experiences, the students of Summerfuel, like Claudio, receive support in all manners of university life.

Claudio now recognizes the challenges he’ll face upon studying at his future alma mater and feels more prepared. As Claudio said, “To try everything at least once and get yourself into new experiences is what Summerfuel is about.” His goals are to attend a university in Turin, Italy and one day return to the United States to further his education. He aims to better his Italian homeland in a variety of manners most applicable to the education he will receive.

As Summerfuel at Tufts wraps up, Claudio and other TCE students progress through their final exams and presentations, culminating in their closing banquet and dance here at Jumbo’s home. It has been a summer fueled with fun, excitement, memories, and stories for years to come. Thank you to all Summerfuel at Tufts students for this Summerfuel session!