Music in the Museum: a Reflection

By Carli Mandel

On the evening of November 1, the David Owsley Museum of Art was filled with beautiful, contemporary music for Music in the Museum, as composed and performed by Ball State School of Music’s talented composers and musicians.  DOMA welcomed the New Music Ensemble to present unique compositions inspired by works of art in DOMA’s collection, and the evening proved to be a beautiful collaboration of the arts, both auditory and visual.

1Musicians from the School of Music Ensemble performing in the Sculpture Court

As the program assistant here at DOMA, I tend to work most museum events in order to ensure their smooth operation and success.  I was particularly excited to be able to have the chance to oversee the Music in the Museum event due to my personal love of classical music and, obviously, the wonderful works of art we house here in DOMA’s own collection.  The event ended up far exceeding what I had originally envisioned it to be, and proved to be a lovely evening of music, relaxation, and lively conversation.  The event began with a light reception outside of Recital Hall in the Margaret Ball Petty corridor from 5:30–6pm, with a bevy of pleasant light snacks and delicious apple cider.  The concert commenced at 6pm in the DOMA Sculpture Court.

2Guests, musicians, and composers converse amid snacks and refreshments

The music was prefaced by a brief introduction from School of Music directors Amelia Kaplan and Chin Ting Chan, and was then followed by 12 compositional performances inspired by such works as Henri Le Sidaner’s Pont de Clisson-Claire de Lune, the Amidha Buddha, Stella Snead’s Advancing Monuments, and Lee Krasner’s Right Bird Left in DOMA’s collection.  The works were all relatively short in length, between 1–3 minutes each, and served as creative musical impressions of what each piece inspired, represented, and made one personally feel upon observing them.  That being said, many of the compositions really opened my eyes as to how they make each person individually feel, and truly made me reevaluate works I’ve seen countless times with a newfound appreciation and artistic outlook.

While not a frequent event at DOMA, Music in the Museum usually occurs every year or so.  I truly hope that the collaboration between the David Owsley Museum of Art and the Ball State School of Music will continue for years to come, so that all students and Muncie community members, at some point, get the chance to experience Music in the Museum.  More than anything, this event was a unique experience that allowed myself and others to bridge the gap between the visual arts and the senses, helping one to make connections between what we see, feel, imagine, create, and ultimately hear.  For a singular event such as this to be able to inspire sensory connections and allow for deeper critical thinking is an amazing feat to me, and will hopefully continue to strengthen the bond between Muncie community members and the fine arts for years to come.

3Over 100 visitors enjoyed performances in the Sculpture Court, with many seated on the balcony

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September’s Final Friday Packs the Museum

by Breyanne Urbin 

On Friday, September 29th, the David Owsley Museum of Art welcomed the Ball State and Muncie community to join us for our first Final Friday of the school year. This went hand-and-hand with DOMA’s new special exhibitions, Action! The Anatomy of LeRoy Neiman’s Champions and Engaging Technology II. The theme for the night’s PechaKucha talks was Action!

ff1Final Friday visitors enjoying refreshments.

During the evening, Engaging Technology II curator and the Institute for Digital and Intermedia Arts (IDIA Lab) director, John Fillwalk presented an interactive art demonstration with other IDIA Lab staff members. After the demonstration, visitors were able to engage with the interactive art as it responded to touch with various sounds.

ff2IDIA Lab artists and programmers demonstrate the interactive art to visitors.

PechaKucha talks commenced with speakers from the community presenting different organizations who are all working on making the Muncie community a better place.

ff3John Fillwalk presents his PechaKucha talk on Engaging Technology II.

In addition emcee Levi Todd hosted Reacting Out Loud in the Brown Study Room alongside the Action! exhibition. Poets were surrounded by the action-packed art of LeRoy Neiman as they performed their original poetry for visitors. Reacting Out Loud also brought in a new group of visitors to DOMA allowing over 200 visitors to join us for an action-packed night.

ff4Visitors enjoy Reacting Out Loud, a poetry slam for community members and students.

Todd commented on the night saying, “I had a great time co-hosting my first Final Friday event with Braydee Euliss. It was great to see people engaging not only with the artist demonstration and Pecha Kucha talks, but also the Reacting Out Loud open mic, which had approximately 50 people in attendance. I think that the Final Friday event serves as a showcase for what’s going on in Muncie, and I was thrilled to learn about plans to bring a skate park to Muncie, the terrific work that Habitat for Humanity is doing, and the new exhibition showcasing the intersection of science and art at DOMA. I’m looking forward to learning even more about the projects going on in our community at the next Final Friday.” Join us October 27th from 6–9 pm for our next Final Friday. October’s theme will be Interaction.

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.

 

First Person: Jongil Ma and Christopher Smith

By Breyanne Urbin

On Thursday, April 20, the David Owsley Museum of Art was proud to welcome contemporary artists Jongil Ma and Christopher Smith who are both featured in our Spring 2017 special exhibition called SHIFT: Jongil Ma, Christopher Smith, Corban Walker. The two artists, along with Lisa Banner, curator of SHIFT, spoke together on stage in Recital Hall to tell visitors stories about Ma’s and Smith’s artwork, artistic processes, inspiration, and evolution as artists over the years.

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Lisa Banner and Jongil Ma with a visitor

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Jongil Ma, Lisa Banner, and Christopher Smith

Jongil Ma originated from Korea and started his career in business and accounting before moving to New York to start his life anew as an artist by studying at and graduating from The School of Visual Arts in 2002. At the beginning of his art career, Ma built monumental sculptures that he said were 30 to 100 feet tall. During the presentation, Ma mentioned how he was, “…interested in architectural sculpture because the form was so beautiful but tense which kept a building held together.” Not only is architecture an influence on Ma’s art but music is a big influence as well. Ma explained, “It’s a great mindset to express oneself.” In Ma’s current work, his art has sized down considerably.  In some of his work, he will repurpose previously used wood from large-scale sculptural installations.

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Floating in Blue Space, Jongil Ma, 2014

Just like Ma, Christopher Smith lives in New York, where he has lived for most of his life. Smith art focuses on using video to capture paint trickling down and dripping off Plexiglas canvases. During the presentation, he explained how taking his hand out of the art targets the viewers’ attention to the paint itself. Another element Smith adds to his videos is purposefully having no concrete beginning or end. Smith explained how he wants, “…to make the videos very accessible where you can walk into it and out of it at anytime.” If a viewer started watching the middle of one of Smith’s videos, they wouldn’t be confused about what’s happening because the artwork is meant to make sense at any point in the video without watching it all completely.

 

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Cutting In, Christopher Smith, 2011

While the two Ma and Smith are different, Banner said, “They are like brothers,” because they are continually supportive of each other.  After the presentation, the galleries were open for visitors to check out the SHIFT exhibition where both Jongil Ma and Christopher Smith’s art is on display until May 7th.  As this exhibition quickly draws to a close, I would like to say how honored I am to get to work with all of the artists in SHIFT, Jongil Ma, Christopher Smith, and Corban Walker as well as curator Lisa Banner. Thank you all for making great exhibition and making great art!

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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.