Arts, On Campus

McMullen’s ‘Art After Dark’ Event Illuminates Pillars of Art at BC

The student opening of Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art, part of its Art After Dark series, drew large numbers of students together in an event dedicated to the appreciation of both modern and medieval art collections. Complete with performances from campus music groups and an amusing assortment of games and activities, the event proved to offer an agreeable blend of intellectual and relaxing activities.

Guests were greeted immediately with BC music promoter Electronic State of Mind’s energetic collection of tracks, ranging from Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” to Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” The group’s focus on electronic music contributed a modern feel to the museum amid the collections of Medieval and Renaissance era manuscripts, while lending an appealing amount of anachronism to the event’s theme.

Outside, on the back lawn, teams of people played Concentration on oversized cards, with the goal of memorizing where different card matches were on the lawn, and be the first team to flip all sets of cards over in a minute and a half. All the cards had assorted artworks on them, so the activity enhanced the theme of the museum’s student opening night, while fostering an environment of friendly competition among the teams.

In time for the second wave of students in attendance, the a cappella group BC Dynamics made an appearance with their signature pop music sound. The group started with a full cover of the Neighborhood’s “Sweater Weather,” which brought a unique and spirited personality to a crowd-pleasing, old favorite song. The group proceeded to cover additional songs including “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley and “Beggin’’” by Madcon in a throwback medley.

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One of the main events of the night was centered around the Art After Dark scavenger hunt the museum put together. The hunt was a clever way to guide students through the varying types of artwork on display, and with amusing clues such as naming the piece of art that had “A dragon being slaughtered by a man in an elaborate halo-hat,” the trip through the museum was especially entertaining. From taking students through the museum’s Beyond Words manuscript collection to works in McMullen’s permanent collection, visitors were treated to a diverse display that nurtured existing interests in the artworks, and sparked new ones as well.

The fun and games continued with a historical version of the popular childhood party game: pin the mustache on the Mona Lisa. This was a fun adaptation of the laid-back and simple game of which many people have fond memories, and it fit right in with the coloring books and card game that helped make this an especially student-friendly event.

Among the arts and crafts available to entertain students included book-sculpture making, in which students could bring a hardcover book and fold the pages into artistic pop-out sculptures. Some of the results were more elaborate than others, but overall the end sculpture looked like a creative and decorative piece that brought new life to what was once a regular hardcover book. Besides the sculptures, the arts and crafts continued with manuscript-themed coloring pages, which provided students with an even greater appreciation for the sophisticated collection of manuscripts in McMullen’s Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections exhibit. To add to the experience, many of the arts and craft events were held on the museum’s rooftop terrace, which showcased picturesque views of BC and beyond and contributed to the relaxing atmosphere the event worked to create for everyone.

Perhaps most impressively, the Art After Dark event was an effective endeavor in getting students to come out to an amazing museum, while also alerting people to quirky and sometimes bizarre details of these historic art collections.

Featured Image By Kristin Saleski / Heights Staff

September 11, 2016