Museums are often known for being quiet places of observation where even the quietest sound is reverberated throughout. But last night, the University of Michigan Museum of Art decided to get loud.
With songs by the University’s Michigan Electronic Dance Music Association as the soundtrack to the event, UMMA hosted an open house last night to increase awareness about its exhibits and programs. The event, which drew more than 400 guests — primarily students — was hosted by UMMA’s Student Programming and Advisory Board to highlight the five exhibits the museum displayed this year and other UMMA-sponsored activities.
Over the course of the two-hour event, attendees hopped into photo booths, tried on wigs and costumes and had their faces digitally cropped onto artistic backgrounds, while MEDMA members dejayed the background tunes.
LSA junior Michael Sullivan, a member of UMMA’s Student Programming and Advisory Board, said the plethora of styles and forms of art in the museum are captivating and inspiring for student artists and non-artists alike.
“We saw the most extensive collection of Whistler prints on exhibit this year,” Sullivan said, referring to one of the museum’s exhibits. “The Art Museum was designed with all of the disciplines in mind.”
The values of the museum align with the University’s greater goals to be innovative and progressive, Sullivan said.
“Museums typically have what is known as an authorial voice,” Sullivan said. “Museums are able to say, ‘This is what I want it to be and what I want it to mean for me.’ ”
Lisa Borgsdorf, manager of public programs and campus engagement for the museum, said UMMA’s goal is to illuminate artwork for a broad range of people who might not otherwise typically experience it.
“Art should not be limited to a certain group,” Borgsdorf said. “We want to encourage all students to see the museum and all that it has to offer.”
LSA sophomore Lindsay Loridon, who works in the museum’s art store and gift shop, said UMMA visitors have a diverse range of cultural backgrounds and levels of experience with art. She added that the museum is expecting an especially large crowd the weekend of Spring Commencement, scheduled for April 30, as parents and others will be visiting Ann Arbor.
LSA freshman Anders Helakoski said he came to the event because, as an electronic music fan, he was excited that members of MEDMA were deejaying. He added that the organization’s music helped to enhance his experience of viewing the artwork.
“After tonight, I now completely agree with having MEDMA here,” Helakoski said. “It definitely adds a new layer to the experience.”