After 909 days of renovations, the Eskenazi Museum of Art opened its doors to the public Nov. 7. And its grand debut took place at this month's First Thursday festival.
But the wind chill of November kept students, staff and Bloomington community members inside as they explored activities and exhibits in the Lilly Library, IU Auditorium, the Fine Arts Building and the art museum.
First Thursday festivals, put on by the Arts and Humanities Council on the first Thursday of every warm-weather month, offer Bloomington residents a taste of local art, music and dance.
Inside the IU auditorium, the first floor was busy with breakdancers, instrumental performances and crafts.
The Center of Excellence for Women in Technology showcased its 3D printer and 3D drawing pen. The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies was celebrating Day of the Dead while dressed in traditional costume. They taught visitors how to make paper flowers and papel picado, paper with cut-out designs. IU Corps gave visitors the opportunity to make thank you cards to send to active service military members.
As visitors say “hello” to the Eskenazi Museum of Art, they temporarily say “goodbye” to the Lilly Library, as it closes its doors for renovations Dec. 6. Activities at the library included book binding and button making, which featured designs from some of the books in its expansive collection. Visitors were also invited to peruse the historic books, sheet music and manuscripts displayed around the building.
Upon entering the newly-renovated art museum, visitors gathered in the atrium lit up by skylights and fled up the flights of angled stairs that took them to the eight different exhibits on display. The sound of a harp pervaded the open space outside of the cafe and gift shop on the second floor.
Freshman Aliyah Hohl sat in the education center where paper lanterns lined the stairs of the atrium. Visitors were instructed to write a happy memory on the inside of their lanterns. Hohl wrote inside hers, “When I was accepted to IU.”
“I think this is a really cool event to have because it lets me see parts of campus that I wouldn’t normally go to on a regular basis,” Hohl said. “This event makes me want to keep coming to the museum. I think I’m going to get a lot of use out of it for the rest of my four years here.”