How Interning at the David Owsley Museum of Art Makes a Difference

Reports compiled by Maureen Federo

The David Owsley Museum of Art welcomes a new team of students each semester to learn about museums, and develop the collection, exhibitions, and education and outreach programs to help us grow our service to the public and fulfill our mission even better.

Maureen Federo, Media and Collection Internmaureen

Every time I visited the museum during the school year, I would see a team of staff members and student workers handling artwork, and I whispered to myself how much I wished to be in their shoes. When I saw a DOMA notice inviting students to apply for an internship, I jumped on it and applied right away. A month later, I was so excited to receive the acceptance email that I broke into my happy dance and immediately called everyone I knew to spread the joy!

As the Media Intern this summer, I created and edited videos that feature the museum and what it offers, but I have also had the opportunity to work in other museum departments too, for example curatorial with research on art and artists and writing label descriptions that highlight the work for improving visitors’ understanding, and I worked in Collection Storage.

After completing the art handling training, I was able to participate in moving objects around the museum and doing installations in the galleries. I very much felt like part of the team here, and it is very satisfying to me that I was able to contribute to the work maintaining the museum to be great as it is.

I absolutely loved the excitement of opening shipping boxes with new objects sent by our most generous benefactor, Mr. David T. Owsley. You know you are in the right place when you walk in the door with a smile every time. The David Owsley Museum of Art is one of my favorite places on the Ball State campus, and I am very grateful for having the opportunity to gain more experience in video production, curatorial research and writing, and in handling precious artwork. The media work I did is not so different from my graduate digital storytelling program, but the environment certainly is.

This summer there were three education interns helping the education staff prepare for major fall projects.

Carli Mandel, Education Intern Carli

I first became acquainted with the layout and inner workings of DOMA upon my professor assigning creating a Trivia App game for the museum in one of my art history courses. I would later go on to become a volunteer docent, and my passion for improving the museum and stretching the boundaries of my knowledge would take off. I applied and was later accepted to become an education intern for the summer of 2017, and the experience has truly been one that has changed my life. In this position, I was really able to foster my love and appreciation for both history and art, my areas of study, as well as learn practical skills in academic research, writing office communication, and fostering relationships with others in the local community. I was given the opportunity, in particular, to write wall labels that currently hang in the galleries, as well as help aid my fellow docents by creating informative guides for specific works of art.

To be able to contribute and add a piece of myself to the museum in such tangible ways was extremely rewarding, and I take great pleasure in knowing that in a small way I have helped further the credo of this museum, to share art and expand cultural awareness to others.

Lily Rawson, Education InternLily

The museum has offered me an amazing experience and I have become more personally invested in the collection through uncovering the history of objects for label writing, or delving into holistic research for potential tours and community activities. In addition, this experience has taught me how the museum functions as an educational institution, a community partner, and most importantly as a careful researcher and preserver of amazing works of art. While I am a graduate student of glass and worked at DOMA as an exhibition and preparator’s assistant, serving as an education intern has provided me a whole other perspective.

 Kitty Taylor, Education InternKitty

Being an intern at the David Owsley Museum was a life changing experience. I was able to apply my art knowledge as a sculpture major to help answer questions and solve problems. This internship also taught me a plethora of skills, such as the important use of surveys and Qualtrics software to crunch the data, how to properly research an artist and work of art, label making, and how to educate and interact with the public. Every student should apply to the David Owsley Museum of Art because of the new skill-sets you learn, the experience you receive, and the talents you can bring to the museum.

Festival on the Green

By Carli Mandel

On the evening of June 10th, 2017, residents from the Muncie community came together to celebrate the arts at Muncie’s annual Festival on the Green. The event was held on the Ball State University Quad in front of the David Owsley Museum of Art, and ran from 6 pm–8:15 pm. An Arts Fair presented by the Muncie Arts and Culture Council (MACC) was held from 5:30–7 pm, and the Muncie Symphony Orchestra put on their musical medley concert from 7–8 pm. Performing such varied pieces as Csardas and Offenbach’s The Infernal Gallop to The Chicken Dance and the YMCA, the concert was suitable for all ages, and drew in a numerous and varied crowd. Free and open to the public, the event attracted an estimated 1,500 individuals in attendance, as determined by data collected from the Muncie Symphony Orchestra.

Local businesses and vendors from the community set up an array of booths and tables along the pathway winding through the Quad, along which guests could walk and socialize with different organizations. Our booth, representing the David Owsley Museum of Art, provided children and families with the opportunity to participate in both a Calder-mobile craft activity and a photo booth with frames and props for participants to become living portraits. An informational table was also set up in our DOMA tent to allow interested families to grab brochures and informational pamphlets regarding the works in our collection. Throughout the course of the evening, an estimated 30 – 40 families stopped by our table to participate in activities, as well as learn more information about the museum.

The Calder mobile activity, as designed and implemented by School of Art graduate student and DOMA education intern Lily Rawson, gave children the chance to be able to make a mobile inspired by the Calder work Three Worms and a New Moon in DOMA’s own collection. Created by attaching pipe cleaners and geometric foam pieces to one another, the activity was purposely made so that it could be hung up by string in participants’ homes following the event. The mobiles were fairly easy to make, and hugely popular with the children who visited our booth. Each and every work of art produced was unique to the child that fashioned it, and proved a great exercise in helping younger audiences to expand their creativity and encourage interest in our museum. The hands-on art making also helped children to draw connections between the music being performed by the Muncie Symphony Orchestra with such artistic principles of design as movement and rhythm.

Our second activity, that of a picture frame photo booth, was also very popular with children, ranging in age from toddlers all the way up adolescents. This activity allowed participants to choose from a variety of costumes and props provided, which were inspired by painted portraits, and then have a photograph taken of them within the confines of a picture frame. Visitors were able to actually become a living part of the art, while also exploring common symbols/themes prevalent in traditional portraiture. Pictures of the photo booth “portraits” were taken by education intern Lily Rawson, docent Jean Gadziola, and myself on our mobile phones, and were uploaded soon after to the David Owsley Museum of Art Facebook page (for interested persons to access). Each “portrait” allowed our visitors to creatively design a scene and make a physical statement about themselves to others, an extremely important concept in portrait painting which we hoped to stress.

In relation to the event and the success of our museum-oriented activities, DOMA education intern Lily Rawson states, “Festival on the Green was a lovely afternoon to meet some community families. It was so wonderful to help the kids explore simple sculpture techniques while listening to the symphony in the background. The smiles and laughs that were seen during the portrait activity were priceless, as families squished themselves within the frame for the photo, while wearing a variety of the silly props. As an intern, it’s lovely to see the community members of Muncie get involved with DOMA, and get to know about its artwork and opportunities here.

DOMA docent Jean Gadziola also commented “Overall I think the DOMA booth was a hit at this year’s event.  I loved the mobile activity, and many children had a better understanding of what a mobile is all about.” She also went on to say about the picture frame photo booth, “The portrait activity is an excellent way for children to imagine posing and what it must be like to have your portrait painted.”

Judging solely by the pure excitement, joy, and smiles on the faces of those families who passed through our tent, I’d say that the DOMA booth, our activities, and the Festival on the Green event went extremely well. Families were able to listen to famous music from every period, as performed by a fantastic orchestra, and many children under our guidance were given the opportunity to make art that may not have otherwise been provided. With sunny weather, lovely music, and a bevy of businesses to interact with, the community really came together to celebrate the abundant arts and culture Muncie has to offer, a feat which I hope we can continue to support and enrich for years to come.

 

Happy National Volunteer Week to our Docents

Docents are individuals who volunteer to connect art to visitors. Docents are volunteers that provide tours to the many visitors of the David Owsley Museum of Art. Here at DOMA we have an enthusiastic group of volunteer docents who are passionate about bringing art to the community through their well-prepared tours. This is a letter to the David Owsley Museum of Art docents:

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Dear Docents,

Happy National Volunteer Week!

Beginning in January, I became one of the education interns here at DOMA. With that responsibility came the pleasure of participating in the Docent Learning Program along ide many of you. After a semester of getting to know you, I am truly grateful for all that you do.

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I just wanted to say thank you for all the time, resources, energy, and brain power you put into being a docent here at the David Owsley Museum of Art. You each willingly give up an hour and a half each and every week to participate in the Docent Learning Program; you observe tours; you do extensive research both at the museum and on your own; you prepare your tours, putting in hours of planning; you are the heart of this museum. We couldn’t do what we do without you.

William Shakespeare once said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

I would say that you all have found your purpose, as you are using your gifts as docents to serve the public and support the David Owsley Museum of Art. Ball State students and the Muncie community are so lucky to have you as part of their DOMA experience. Last year alone, DOMA docents provided 247 guided tours, serving a total of 8,637 individuals, a new record for the museum. That number is ever-growing and would not have been possible without volunteer docents, like you, so again I say, thank you!

Sincerely,

Alexa Hirt, DOMA Education Intern

Final Friday: Identity

By Alexa Hirt, Education Intern

I often find myself behind the lens of a camera. It’s safe, it’s comfortable, it’s a barrier between me and the rest of the world. When I zoom in with that lens, I can see things in people and expose them in their most intimate moments without them even realizing it.

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Last week’s Final Friday: Identity PechaKucha presentations sparked an interesting thought: is my identity found behind this camera lens and am I able to capture aspects of other’s identities that they may not even know exist? I like to think that I specialize in the “candid” shot. That meaning, I capture images of people in their most natural state; when they are laughing, contemplating, observing, eating, sneezing, etc. Some may find this intrusive, but I find it fascinating and thrilling. If I can capture the exact moment someone’s emotion changes from a frown to a smile without their knowledge, I believe I have captured the purest form of their identity and who they are.

While one of the PechaKucha presenters suggested that identity is only something that you choose for yourself and others can only base their perception of you based on your chosen identity, I’d like to suggest something slightly different.

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My personal definition of identity comes down to the idea that your identity is what you portray yourself to be even when no one is looking.

I think that who you are as a person is best seen when you don’t think you are being seen. The moments when joy overtakes you, or sadness overcomes your entire being, or confusion overrides all things that make sense; your reaction to those moments reveals your identity. Your identity is the purest form of yourself, just like a candid photograph. So, to answer my original question, I ask myself again… Is my identity found behind the lens of my camera? Well, yes, I think it is.

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In the moments that I forget about the rest of the world, and zoom in on what I find to be intriguing, beautiful and pure, I am revealing my reaction to those moments, thus putting on display, my identity, maybe, without even knowing it.

The next Final Friday will be April 28, 2017. Check out the Facebook event for more details.

Thursdays are for Training

Alexis Kiesel
Community Outreach Intern

DOMAInsider_Mugshots     As the semester winds down, I have been reflecting on the appreciation and knowledge I have gained from the docent training program at DOMA. In addition to being involved in all activities relating to community outreach, I have had the opportunity as an intern to attend weekly docent training meetings on Thursday afternoons at 3:30 p.m.

These meetings have given me a new insight into museums. Docents are volunteers who lead tours through the museum. These people amaze and inspire me each time I interact with them. They range in age from college students to early eighties. These docents are students, teachers, and retired community members who love art and want to share their knowledge. According to Barbara Alvarez Bohanon, “The Docent Learning Program at DOMA has greatly expanded my horizons through knowledge and appreciation of art.  I enjoy using that knowledge to help museum visitors grow as they find their own connections to art and the world beyond.”

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Fall 2016 Docents

Cathy Bretz, DOMA’s Education Program Coordinator, with the help of Tania Said, Director of Education, works diligently to prepare for the docent training meetings each week. Cathy also deftly arranges tours and recruits trained docents to lead these tours. In addition to this, she creates the tour plans for most guided tours.

When asked about the program, Cathy said, “The best part of my job is working with and getting to know our volunteers. Through their efforts, we’re able to engage visitors of all ages and I’m grateful for their continued dedication to DOMA. We simply couldn’t do it without them.”

MVI_0228.MOV.00_00_00_22.Still001.jpgSierra Trowbridge, the current DOMA education assistant, past DOMA education intern, and docent of 2 ½ years made the comment: “As a public history major, being a docent is a constant learning experience, both with art and people. I’ve met many fantastic people and made many connections that would not have happened otherwise. The knowledge that I have gained about interacting with art and helping others appreciate art is absolutely priceless.”

Throughout my time in the program, I have not only been privileged to meet these docents, but I also had the opportunity to learn from experts in different areas of art. I have been educated on Pre-Columbian, Native American, African, Chinese and Japanese, mvi_7212-mov-00_00_42_05-still001Indian, Tibetan and Nepalese, and Pacific art. Not only have I been exposed to extensive new knowledge on these works of art and the cultures that made them, I have been able to look at works in DOMA that correspond with each type of art and given an explanation of these objects by experts. Questions were welcomed by the art historians, historians, and artists. This conveyed what they thought valuable for docents to know about their respective specialties.

The opportunity to be involved in the docent training program has been one of the most notable I have had while interning at the museum. I would suggest the program to anyone interested in working in a museum, education, art or related subjects. The next informational meeting is Thursday, January 12, at 3:30 pm in AR 223 at the David Owsley Museum of Art in the Fine Arts Building of Ball State University. To become involved in the docent training program, please contact Cathy Bretz at cabretz@bsugmail.com.