Reflecting on an Internship at DOMA

Written by: Emily Sabens, Public Relations Intern

At Ball State, each student is required to take many (oftentimes non-thrilling) classes that meet the university’s core curriculum. From math, to world history and (shutter) physical education, these classes only seemed like a towering wall I had to climb over before I could get to my journalism courses.

When I signed up for my required introduction to art history class, though, I was actually excited. Coming from an extremely small high school, I never got the chance to study art before; however, trips around the U.S. and a trip to Italy had given me a greater appreciation for art and culture.

When my alarm would ring early in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I surprisingly didn’t mind because I truly wanted to go to my art history class. As I sat through the lecture, I was enthralled, looking at the enchanting works throughout hundreds of years.

But my absolute favorite part of the class was getting the opportunity to visit the David Owsley Museum of Art.

The first time I walked through DOMA’s front doors and entered the Sculpture Court, I was amazed. As a freshman, I was aware we had an art museum on our campus; however, I never knew just how beautiful and impressive the institution was.

Even after my art history class ended, I continued visiting the museum. Being a college student is stressful, but going to DOMA gave me a serene, calming space that would allow me to forget about all my worries and stressors.

I already had a passion for museums, but this love for art had inspired me, as well. And as I began to explore the options my journalism degree would give me, I realized I could pursue a career in public relations and marketing, and, if I chose to, specifically work in museums.

I got my start last summer as the public relations and marketing intern at the Eiteljorg Museum in downtown Indianapolis. Then, when I returned to school in the fall, I landed an internship with the Muncie Children’s Museum.

And when I saw the internship application posted for DOMA last semester, I knew I had to apply.

These past four months have gone by so quickly, but I have enjoyed every second of my internship here at the museum. I’ve learned so much, have worked with a great staff and have had the honor of simply being in DOMA every day.

I still have a year of school left, but as I look toward my future, I can only hope to one day work in a museum that is as impressive, awe-inspiring and welcoming as DOMA is.

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Work of the Week: Seeping Light

Written by: Emily Sabens, Public Relations Intern

When looking at “Seeping Light,” located in the Ball Brothers Foundation Gallery, your eyes may do a double-take. It seems that bright rays of sunlight are streaming through the canvas. As you take in the many colored squares, it’s difficult to see where one color starts and another one ends.

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Julian Stanczak. Seeping Light, 1972. Acrylic on canvas. David Owsley Museum of Art. Gift of John and Therese Weakland. 1998.007.000

Artist Julian Stanczak often created these types of optical illusions within his artworks. Born in Poland, Stanczak was forced into a work camp as a child at the beginning of World War II, where injuries he sustained made him lose use of his right arm. This didn’t stop him, though, from pursuing a career as an artist.

Stanczak eventually moved to the U.S., where he played a key role in advancing the Op Art movement; in fact, he helped coin the movement’s name when his first exhibition opened in New York, titled “Optical Paintings.”

Color, lines, grids and squares always played important roles in Stanczak works. According to The New York Times, Stanczak used this type of style in order to forget about the traumas he endured during his childhood and teen years.

“I did not want to be bombarded daily by the past,” Stanczak said. “I looked for anonymity of actions through nonreferential abstract art.”

To see Stanczak’s “Seeping Light,” visit DOMA today; we’re open every day until 4:30 p.m.

DOMA Project App

Written by: Carli Mandel, Program Assistant

Attempting to familiarize oneself with all the interesting works, various cultures, time periods and artistic movements within DOMA’s vast collection can be a daunting task, a feat proving difficult even for the most experienced of visitors, as well as DOMA employees alike. This task has been greatly simplified and made much easier through the creation of the free mobile DOMA Project app, with content provided by Ball State art history professor Lara Kuykendall and the students of her AHS 450 Museum Theory and Practice course. The app is categorized into 2 main sections to help DOMA visitors learn more about the museum and its collection: fun & games and themes.

As a previous student in the aforementioned course taught by Lara Kuykendall, I was able to gain first-hand experience working with my fellow classmates to create the content for a game found within the fun & games section of the DOMA Project app, titled “Master of the Arts.” For our particular game, which contained trivia based on the works of art and historical periods within the museum, we were tasked with creating the written content for all the questions, answers and fun facts included in the game. This information was then translated and transcribed by tech staff affiliated with Ball State University, who were able to help turn our theoretical game into a full-fledged reality. Two others games were also created by my fellow classmates, one titled “Art Memes,” which allows the user to create unique memes based of off works of art within DOMA, and “The Hunt,” which enables players to go on a visual scavenger hunt throughout the museum for select images.

In addition to the fun games included within the DOMA Project, the more expansive themes section of the app includes 12 categories centered around certain DOMA artworks specifically chosen to represent a certain concept, theme or movement in global history or culture. The 12 themes presented are as follows: The Abstract, Politics, Fashion, Geology, Religion, Strength, Creatures, Battles, Sexuality and Romance, Ceremony and Ritual, Tranquility and Feminism and Women. While this section of the app only begins to skim the surface of the thousands of works housed within DOMA’s collection, it provides museum visitors with the means to be able to browse some of the most celebrated items in our collection, as well as to be able to make artistic and historical connections that transcend both time and global cultural boundaries.

The benefits of utilizing the DOMA Project App for educational purposes was not lost on our museum’s docents, with the idea being put forward to use the 12 thematic tour categories to dictate the content of docent’s choice tours throughout the fall and spring semesters. These tours have proven to be consistently successful, fun and informative for all who’ve chosen to attend/participate over the past eight or so months, and have allowed groups of Ball State students, as well as those in the Muncie community, to utilize the free educational resources DOMA has to offer to the public. I personally have led tours for such themes as Romance and Sexuality, Feminism and Women and Creatures over the past two semesters, and I’ve found the experience to be quite an enriching and rewarding one. One of the things I love the most about these thematic tours, and being a docent in general, is the fact that I always gain new perspectives and insights from my tour members on works of art I see every day, and am constantly learning more from others than I ever would have by myself.

The last of the docent thematic tours is quickly coming upon us, a tour on the theme of Tranquility (taking place on April 28 from 2:30-3:30 pm), and with it, we docents will begin to craft new and exciting tours for the upcoming fall and spring semesters here at the museum. Despite the end of the docent thematic tours come May, fear not, for the DOMA Project App will still be available for downloadable use, on the Apple and Google Play stores, for the public for a long while to come. This app is an invaluable educational tool that any and all can access for more information about the David Owsley Museum of Art, its collection and the vast history it contains, so I highly recommend downloading it today.

Work of the Week: Peonies

Written by: Emily Sabens, Public Relations Intern

Charles Courtney Curran was an early impressionist painter in America during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Curran is best known for his elegant portraits, which often depicted women and children. He used loose brushstrokes in his artworks, and painted with vibrant colors. Today, his paintings reside in institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

“Peonies,” housed in the David Owsley Museum of Art, is a perfect example of Curran’s graceful, elegant work. The woman depicted in this painting is most likely Curran’s wife, Grace; he often used Grace as inspiration for his artworks.

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Charles Courtney Curran. Peonies, 1903. Oil on canvas. David Owsley Museum of Art. Gift of the Muncie Art Association. 1975.500.007

 

While Grace is definitely a focal point in this painting, the beautiful, blooming peonies also take center stage. Large double peonies (Paeonia lactiflora) are native flowers of China. Blooming in late spring and early summer, these flowers can be white, rose or a vibrant pink.

Curran used peonies in this particular artwork for a reason. During the Victorian era, people started to use flowers to convey special meanings and traits. In the Victorian era book titled “The Language of Flowers,” peonies are meant to represent shyness––a trait that Curran believed described his wife, Grace.

Be sure to stop by DOMA to see “Peonies,” located upstairs in the Ball Brothers Foundation Gallery. And if you’re feeling inspired by the beautiful flowers, be sure to join us for our annual Art in Bloom event on May 18.

Work of the Week: Amida Buddha

Written by: Emily Sabens, Public Relations Intern

As you enter into our Chinese and Japanese Gallery, you’ll probably notice this sculpture sitting in the room. With his eyes closed, hands clasped and legs crossed, he looks so serene; you can’t help but wonder if he just came from Meditation in the Museum. This is “Amida Buddha,” made in 1680 by Master Tokewaki and lent to the museum by David Owsley.

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Master Tokewaki. Amida Buddha, 1680. Cast and partly gilded bronze. 69 x 46 x 39 inches. Lent from the David T. Owsley Collection. L2007.001.000

The Buddha plays an essential role in the religion of Buddhism. During the late 6th century until the 4th century BCE, a period of intense social change overtook northeastern India––particularly concerning religion. It was during this time that Buddhism began to spread.

The ‘original’ Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, is believed to have lived from 566 to 488 BCE Gautama was the son of an Indian warrior-king and lived the life of luxury throughout his childhood and early adulthood.

But then he became bored.

Gautama felt there was more to life than just being royalty. He ventured into the world, searching for a deeper understanding. Through his travels, Gautama learned how to be free from suffering and, ultimately, achieve salvation. From then on, Gautama was known as the Buddha, which translates to “enlightened one” in Sanskrit.

Like many other religions, Buddhism began to break up into different branches––including Pure Land Buddhism, which focuses specifically on the Amida Buddha.

The Amida Buddha is often known as the Buddha of immeasurable light or the Buddha of limitless life. Amida is said to look over a heavenly paradise, promising salvation and rebirth for all of his followers. He is often portrayed wearing ornaments and a crown.

To see the museum’s beloved “Amida Buddha” for yourself, be sure to visit. We’re open every day until 4:30!

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“Amida Buddha” was one of the artworks featured in our 2017 Art in Bloom event. Be sure to join us for this year’s annual Art in Bloom on May 18.