by Gina Thomas McGee, Associate Educator
How do you experience an art exhibition? You look, of course. You enter the galleries and spend time taking in the colors, textures, and lines of the works in front of you. Maybe you even read the label. During the Beauty Reigns exhibition, the museum invites you to take your experience a step further, and we’ve come up with some tools to help you do just that.
First, you can pick up a copy of the gallery guide as you stroll through the exhibition. This guide (a work of art in itself!) will let you in on the mysteries of the artistic process. The sketchbook-like booklet was created by local designer, artist, and educator Micah Kraus. He was inspired by the artwork in the exhibition and the aesthetic of Field Notes notebooks. The guide looks like an artist’s sketchbook and it can become one, as there are blank pages in the back dedicated to your personal sketches and doodles.
As you finish looking at the exhibition and reading your gallery guide, you’ll be directed to a studio that has been constructed just outside of the gallery doors, in what we call the “video box”. Here, you’ll find a wealth of materials that will allow you to try out the techniques and processes you saw on display in the galleries. Continuing the theme of working with local artists, the studio includes an instructional film with original music and animation by Akron Art Museum staff member Gabe Schray, whose talents go far beyond his work in the museum’s External Affairs department.
Finally, you can take a walk through an artwork. Literally. The museum commissioned local artist Jessica Lofthus to create a large-scale interactive artwork for the lobby inspired by Beauty Reigns. The piece is a walkable labyrinth that takes cues from the patterns, textures, and shapes found in the exhibition. Walking the labyrinth will add another dimension to your museum experience as you physically wind through the curves and turns of Lofthus’ design.
So, visit the museum. Look. Make. Create. Feel. Take in the exhibition with all of your senses. It promises to be a Beauty-full experience.