Lowe Art Museum collaborates with students for exhibits

ArtLab at the Lowe Art Museum offers students and faculty a unique opportunity to work closely together to present an exhibition to the general public. This semester, the focus of the exhibition is Japanese art and 13 students are collaborating with the director and chief curator at the museum, Brian Dursum.

The students have input throughout the entire process of creating the exhibition, from deciding on a title and theme to choosing the pieces to be displayed. The title of the exhibition this semester is “Adapting and Adopting; East Encounters West.”

Dursum enjoys leading the class because it gives students who are usually museum visitors the chance to have an active role in choosing exhibitions for the museum.

“I think it gives them an opportunity to actually think about art,” Dursum said.

The class is filled with students of majors ranging from art and art history to anthropology and architecture.

Senior Gabriella Vigoreaux, an art history major, recommends this class to people majoring outside of art.

“It’s fun to take a class on something where your hard work results in something tangible like that everybody can experience, like a museum exhibition,” she said.

The students begin the semester by deciding on which works from the museum’s permanent collection fit the year’s theme, and subsequently compiling research on each of the pieces. The students then have to write the information on labels and signs to be posted with the exhibition. All of this work must be completed before the installation of the exhibition can occur, which is scheduled for the end of April. The exhibition will open to the public in the first week of May, in coordination with Lowedown, the monthly event that the museum holds to encourage public interest in art.

Andrew Simon, a senior who is also majoring in art history, appreciates the hands-on approach to the class.

“It gives me official authorship over something art historical and teaches me the inner workings of a museum,” said Simon.

The ArtLab classes are held every spring with a different theme every year. In the past the themes have been in areas of east and south Asia, and gender studies. Dursum recommends this class for students and faculty because it is innovative and gives people a new perspective on the pieces and exhibitions in the museum.

“All these projects that we undertake encourage faculty and students to interface in a more complete and meaningful way than would have been possible in the past,” he said.