Termly Hood parties allow students to engage with museum’s art

by Apoorva Dixit | 11/5/13 6:00pm

11.6.13.arts_.party_Tracy-Wang
The Hood Museum of Art’s termly parties aim to expose students to art in a relaxed environment.
Source: TRACY WANG/THE DARTMOUTH STAFF

In an attempt to bring more undergraduates through its tall glass doors into its serene, red-walled interior, the Hood Museum of Art sponsors termly parties where visitors can enjoy the Hood’s varied collections in a relaxed, festive environment. This fall, the Hood sponsored two parties to welcome new and old students, most recently on Friday.

The party included classic art event touches — hor d’oeuvres, wine and discussion on the passions stirred by the arts, but also attempted to appeal to a more general crowd.

Instead of the instrumental music or silence usually associated with art, the Hood invited a DJ to spin current music.

Many people came dressed in heels and a few even in Halloween costumes, said Sara Trautz ’15, a curatorial intern at the Hood who helped organize the event.

The party aimed to help students “engage with the arts outside of class,” said Leslie Wellman, the Hood foundation curator of education.

Because most students who visit the Hood are usually assigned to so for class, the party offered an opportunity for “self-paced engagement with art in a social arena,” she said.

Approximately 150 students attended.

Many students interviewed, however, remain unaware of the Hood’s offerings.

Kevin Zhang ’17 said despite checking campus blitzes, he was not aware of the first party the Hood threw Homecoming weekend, which was catered to first-years.

“I might have seen the blitz, but thought it wasn’t for me,” Zhang said.

With current exhibitions such as Pablo Picasso’s “Vollard Suite” collection on display in the second-floor galleries, the Hood offers big names, recognizable even by those who are not connoisseurs.

The Hood partnered with Programming Board to increase its publicity and funding this term. Programming Board contributed $600 dollars to the most recent study party.

Despite this partnership, the Hood’s increased advertising around campus and regular email marketing, party attendees consisted mostly of students who were already interested in art.

“A lot of the people who came were friends, but a lot were actually just interested,” Trautz said. She said the recent fall student party was a much bigger success than the first-year student party because it catered to everyone.

One of the biggest challenges with the parties is that the Hood must keep the food in just one area, which people cannot leave until they are done eating, Trautz said. However, in order to protect the art in the museum, this rule cannot be avoided.

The Hood has met its goal of attracting a wider section of campus to its showcases, Trautz said. Trautz admits she did not attend any social events at the Hood during her first two years at the College; as an art history major, she always came with her class.

The Hood is looking to host a few more events this term to welcome a wider range of students to the museum, and plans to offer a study night.

“Study night is one of the effective approaches we discovered from past experience that could introduce Hood Museum and the art to students on campus,” said Hood programming intern Xinyue Guo ’14.