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Community celebrates summer, admires artwork





Amidst her first trip to the United States, Sulabha Patil found herself visiting the IU Art Museum.

To celebrate the summer solstice, which occurs June 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, Patil joined patrons of all ages for the annual Midsummer Night event at the museum Friday.

Sulabha’s son, Sameer Patil, recommended they attend the event while she was in town.

Since April 2011, Sameer has been at IU completing post-doctoral work in computer science at the School of Informatics.

Art associated with the spirith summer spirit and nighttime were displayed in all three permanent collection galleries for those who entered throughout the evening.

A native of India, Sulabha said the evening would have been improved only if a guided tour were available.

“When you’re seeing and reading about the pieces you don’t come to know many things,” she said.

Regardless, Sulabha said she enjoyed the handiwork and handicraft the items on display depicted.

Sameer said he would have liked to see a special exhibit for the night or the theme-oriented works more distinguished within the galleries.

“I think in general art is important,” Sameer said. “It broadens horizons, and you get to experience other places without going there. This is teaching you things while also giving a pleasant experience.”

Local singer and guitarist Curtis Cantwell Jackson entertained the crowd in the Thomas T. Solley Atrium.

In addition to supporting his friend Jackson, Duncan Searle attended the event to catch up with acquaintances.

Besides a particular interest in the solar cycle, he said he also appreciated the atmosphere the museum provided.

“I think it’s an important social link,” Searle said. “I like these receptions they have in the atrium periodically.”

IU senior Emily Izzo is an event coordinator for the IU Art Museum and has studied some of the pieces on display in her arts management classes. Izzo was familiar with the oil canvas “Judith with the Head of Holofernes” by Antiveduto Gramatica.”

She said the event is a chance for others to be familiar with the works as well.
“I think it’s nice because it’s highlighting pieces from the permanent collection,” Izzo said.

“People may have come here before, but now they get to look at them more in depth and learn about them instead of just browsing.”

Some of the other highlighted works included Rockwell Kent’s wood engraving “Twilight of Man,” a Greek “Amphora (Storage Jar)” using black-figure technique and Baining peoples’ “Night Mask, Kavat,” made of bark cloth.

After about a half hour, more than 200 people had showed up. Izzo said this surpassed her expectations, despite the night’s purpose.

“We’re celebrating the shortest night of the year,” she said. “It’s a chance to get a big crowd in here and make an event out of the night. I would say this is a place of attraction in the community.”

Diane Pelrine, associate director for curatorial services and curator of the third-floor gallery — Arts of Africa, the South Pacific, and the Americas — was happy to see people in the galleries despite the music and the amount of people.

“We’re usually not open in the evenings, so this is a chance for people to come after work,” she said. “Also, parking is easier on the weekends, so that draws in the community because it’s more accessible.”

With Jackson’s final notes echoing through the atrium, some guests submitted their comments about the event to a computer kiosk and parted ways for the evening.

“This art museum is one of the top university museums in the country,” Pelrine said.
“This attracts them for the music, food and drink, but hopefully they realize it’s a place they might be interested to visit a second time.

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