As the sky turned dark and multicolor lights illuminated on the walls of the Eskenazi Museum of Art, the inside of the museum lit up as it hdd its December First Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.
Hannah Lewellyn, a senior in arts management, said First Thursday is an event that focuses on Bloomington’s community. Ever since Eskenazi’s reopening, the museum has been trying to come up with programs involving the community more, Lewellyn said.
“There are different kinds of activities in each gallery, so people can explore the whole museum and kind of get a feel for it more,” Lewellyn said.
Lydia Melnikov, an intern at the museum, said it’s an opportunity for people to explore themselves around the museum and engage with the arts.
“It’s a way to expand and experience something new,” Melnikov said.
On the first floor of the museum was a pop-up library from the Herman B Wells Library. Art, Architecture + Design librarian Sarah Carter said some of the books featured artists and designers from past and recent exhibits at the library.
“It’s a really important collection of books for students and faculties who take classes,” Carter said. “They need images to learn about the history and the technique of different art styles.”
At the other side of the museum on the first floor, in one of the galleries, featured a sketching area where people could draw objects such as statues. Ellen Lyon, who works at the museum’s conservation lab, said the idea of “open-sketch” is to look deep into the object in front of them.
“When you’re drawing something, it’s a different experience than just walking by it,” Lyon said.
Contemporary jazz music from the Crossroads Quintet played live on the second floor of the museum. Free cookies and hot chocolate were also provided while people roamed the museum.
On the other side of the museum was the Open Art studio. Kelly Jordan, the PreK-12 Experiences Manager who will be guiding the children and families that visit the museum, said she chose puppet making as the studio’s theme because it connects with the upcoming museum’s exhibition that will feature Jim Dine’s artworks which were influenced by Disney’s “Pinocchio.”
“I want to make a puppet that’s simpler to construct, with simple parts where people can do it on their own,” Jordan said.
There were two options: finger puppets or marionette puppets that used modeling clay but still included a moving component.
Opposite of the museum on the second floor, visitors could find 3D-printed objects. One of the objects was Egyptian castanets, an ancient musical instrument that's shaped like hands.
Lauren Daugherty, the museum’s art therapist, said the museum only has a partial part of the castanet, so they 3D-printed the other half, which took 30 hours to finish.
“So that we can actually have (the castanets) the way they were intended to make noise,” Daugherty said.
The third floor featured Art and Words, a poetry reading of Paul Verlaine’s poems by Nicolas Valazza, an associate professor of French and Italian at IU, and Samuel N. Rosenberg, who retired from IU in 1999. Valazza read the poem in French while Rosenberg translated it in English.
“Poetry is very intimate,” Valazza said. “You read poems from another poet, but when you read them, they become yours.”