The Eskenazi Museum of Art’s First Thursdays offer students an opportunity to explore the museum even if they may not be able to during regular museum hours.
The museum is normally only open until 5 p.m., but during September’s First Thursdays programming it will begin at 5 p.m. and remain open through 8 p.m.
One highlight of the semester was the successful installation of the largest known rainwork in the world on the sidewalk in front of the museum by the Light Totem.
The purpose of a rainwork, according to the official website, is to provide a positive message that appears on a rainy day. Peregrine Church and Xack Fischer, the artists and founders of Rainworks, created the image now on display in front of the Art Museum.
“It was wonderful working with Peregrine and Xack from Rainworks,” Morris said. “They are hard-working individuals full of brilliant fresh ideas. We were really happy to bring them to IU and collaborate with them on this project. We would love to do more collaborations of this sort in the future.”
The Eskenazi Museum’s rainwork is a large mandala created by the artists using a large stencil and their super-hydrophobic spray, which gives the image the ability to appear only when wet.
The project initiated in Church’s hometown and, after becoming popular online, spread across the country. Students who did not have a chance to see the rainwork at the unveiling during Welcome Week will have another opportunity to see the work in its entirety during the First Thursdays celebration.
This month’s Thursday event will also include a performance by the Epiphany Dance Collective and live music in the museum’s atrium at 6 p.m.
Another feature of this event will be the return of the crafting of woven stars as part of the One Million Stars to End Violence project, an initiative by the group in charge of the Lotus Festival to show solidarity in the journey to end violence.
Students attending the event can also walk through the Spotlights special exhibition, a show that includes pieces from the museum’s collection not currently displayed.
“There are a number of new acquisitions on view, as well as things that are rarely shown, such as the Julia Margaret Cameron photos, which are usually bound in a book and not able to be individually displayed, but they are currently disbound as part of a conservation effort,” Morris said.
Jenny McComas, curator of European and American art at the museum, will be showing students and attendees the collection of 19th and 20th century French sculptors in one section of the five-part Spotlights exhibit.
“The high quality of the sculptures is really amazing, and it is intriguing to see how many varieties of modern art existed side by side during this time period,” McComas said.
McComas said she hopes the events make a lasting impression on students, even if they only wish to see part of the museum.
“We hope that the First Thursday events provide a welcoming and fun introduction to the museum and that students will want to make return visits,” McComas said. “We have a lot of art on view, but because we are free, students can visit as often as they like and stay as long as they like.”