An Intern’s Perspective on Final Friday

Alexis Kiesel
Community Outreach Intern

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Feel-good music fills the hall as people of all ages socialize and admire the artists that surround them. Food and drink line the tables of the Sculpture Court as local art enthusiasts discuss what they anticipate from the presenters that will follow the opening reception. Local poets write poetry-on-demand for an event attendee. The room is filled with anticipation. Final Friday is here!

At the David Owsley Museum of Art, an event called Final Friday is held a twice a 2016-10-29_final_friday_19semester. This event includes artist demonstrations, short presentations on projects, ideas or research by creative locals, food, drink, music, and art in a museum environment. Attendees range in age, background, and art knowledge, and any and all are welcome to attend a Final Friday event.

As the Community Outreach Intern at the museum, I have been actively involved in the planning and preparation of these Final Friday events. I work weeks in advance on preparing contracts for presenters and artists involved in the event, creating process guides, outlines, and rundowns for DOMA staff, and gathering needed equipment and supplies for the event. My position allows me to help with the coordination of the event from beginning to end, including the follow-up feedback form I devise and send to staff members to constructively critique the event after everyone has gone home.

Being a part of the museum staff means ensuring the proper set-up hours prior to the event beginning. Tables and chairs are set and microphones are checked at this time. Caterers come in early and begin to prepare for the museum to be filled with hungry visitors. Artists arrive to set up their presentations or creative spaces as the DJ brings in sound equipment to set the tone for the event. Emcees arrive and direct the presenters for their PechaKucha talks.

2016-10-29_final_friday_25 The event begins, and guests appear to take in the atmosphere of the evening in the Sculpture Court where they may laugh, talk, eat, drink, and even have a portrait drawn or a poem written just for them depending on the artist involved in the event that month. Following this time filled with networking and fun, guests become engaged and entertained by impassioned presenters who share their work. Visitors leave enthused and impressed by what they witnessed.

After the event concludes, guards at the museum help the caterers and DJ clean up and shut down the museum one gallery at a time. The building is closed for the night, and the staff goes home around 9:30 p.m. When I return on Monday, I create a survey to those internally involved in the event for feedback. The results are gathered and compiled into a document for future use. A survey is also offered to guests during the event. I also sort through these and record the responses in order to improve our Final Friday events.

Not only is Final Friday an enjoyable event for attendees and presenters; it is perhaps more admirable after finding out how much work is put in to the planning and execution of it. Seeing the staff work on various pieces of the puzzle needed to make the event a success in the weeks leading up to it has given me an appreciation for the work done to execute one night of cool and creative conversation with community members.

Final Friday will continue next semester in March and April, so be on the lookout for upcoming event announcements on social media. Subscribe to our events on Facebook to receive notices of upcoming events at the David Owsley Museum of Art!

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Photos by Emma Rogers of the October 28th Final Friday

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