The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts made headway toward its new outreach project after raising $15,860 in the recent fundraising efforts during Tiger Giving Day.
This ongoing arts initiative called ‘Museum in Motion’ will include a moving art exhibit with interactive and functional displays. Individuals will be encouraged to play active roles in all the exhibits and further their understandings of perspectives and viewpoints different from their own.
Charlotte Hendrix, senior communications and marketing specialist for JCSM, has worked with Auburn since 2012 and provided insight into the planned mobile museum.
“This project has been a long-time aspiration for the Jule in expanding outreach on behalf of Auburn,” Hendrix said. “We want to take art where people are in their everyday lives.”
Because of the hectic nature of everyday life, arts often fall by the wayside for some individuals. The Museum in Motion seeks to rectify this by increasing the accessibility of JCSM through this project.
“We are all busy with work, school, and other commitments or perhaps some believe that museums aren't a place for them," Hendrix said. “A stop in at Museum in Motion for those experiences have the potential to make us better humans.”
The outpouring of donations from Tiger Giving Day for Museum in Motion solidified the community’s desire to begin this initiative.
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“[Museum in Motion] has excellent potential for both arts education and social impact," Hendrix said. "People immediately recognized how this project could serve the Auburn community, the state and the region.”
In commencing this project, the JCSM hopes to emphasize the arts and the role it has in everyday life.
“The arts, in all forms, ultimately tell a story or particular viewpoint,” Hendrix said. “Research consistently shows the benefits. The more exposure to different views and experiences we have, the greater empathy we can have toward one another.”
Whether viewing art as a passive observer or actively participating in its expression, Hendrix said she believes individuals can benefit from the arts immensely.
“Art charges creativity, expression, and problem-solving. Even if you are not actively engaged in artmaking, you can still develop these skills,” she said.
Even the current pandemic does not stand in the way of this project, Hendrix said. The staff of JCSM would be able to use the mobile museum to carry out a broad range of COVID-friendly activities.
“A vehicle like this would allow staff to transport art for important loans and present artwork and activities outdoors,” Hendrix said. “These opportunities can potentially mitigate spread, but ultimately we hope to break down any on-site visitation barriers.”
In addition to this, the Museum in Motion intends to make its way to the Campus Green for events and showcases where students and staff can visit in between classes. Students will also be able to aid in the construction of the vehicle and its numerous displays.
“We genuinely want to engage students in the vehicle's design aspects—both with engineering the interior systems and developing exterior graphics,” Hendrix said. “One of the next steps will be coordinating with university faculty and administrators on making this opportunity available.”
Going forward, the Museum in Motion plans to hold several public events to develop the project further and eventually play a central role in the University's intellectual life.
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