For those of you who don’t know, the University of Connecticut is fortunate enough to have Connecticut’s state art museum located right on campus. The William Benton Museum of Art features over 6,500 pieces from as early as the 1400s up until today. They hold various events throughout the semester, such as gallery talks, discussions, musical performances and family programs. Events and admission into the museum are free, but donations are accepted and appreciated. According to the Benton’s mission statement, the founders’ intention from the start was to facilitate “the collection, preservation, research, and interpretation of works of art.”
Amanda Douberly, assistant curator and academic liaison of the Benton, shared the museum’s plans of operations for this semester. The museum opened for the spring on Wednesday and will be open through April 10. The museum’s operating hours are Wednesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The exhibition “Käthe Kollwitz: Activism Through Art” will be available for viewing this semester, featuring the works of Käthe Kollwitz. Kollwitz was a German artist whose main artistic focus was the lives of the everyday person, even those who weren’t considered inherently beautiful. Douberly states that Kollwitz “used her art to give voice to the common person, the suffering, and the poor.”
“The Human Epoch: Living in the Anthropocene” will continue to be featured in the galleries and online through March 31. Once the exhibition closes on March 31, it will be replaced by the Studio Art and Digital Media & Design Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition.
I think we all can agree that this past year has been full of heartaches and struggles due to the circumstances. The museum’s team recognizes the struggles of the past year and has collaborated with UConn’s Design Center and Counterproof Press to launch The UConn Grief Project, inspired by Kollwitz’s art. The goal of this project is to publish a zine of students’ responses regarding the struggles we have encountered. “We hope the UConn Grief Project will bring together reflections on loss, and create a space for acknowledging the emotional impacts of this moment in history.” Douberly said. If you are interested in participating, submit an 8.5-by-11 inch PDF, which can contain image, text or a combination, in black and white. You can either send your work to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop it off at the Benton front desk by Feb. 26. Your submission can be published anonymously upon request.
Thursdays with the Benton had to shift online because it is difficult to gather in person at this time. The program offers something new every week. On Feb. 4, March 11 and April 22, a drawing workshop will be held with Magdalena Pawlowski. Pawloski is a painter and printmaker who is currently enrolled in the University of Connecticut’s M.F.A program. An event featuring DJ set playlists on Spotify from WHUS, UConn’s noncommercial radio station, will be held on Feb. 25 and April 8. On Feb. 18, an event will be held for coloring pages to help relax and de-stress students. Douberly also mentioned future collaborations with UConn student organizations such as Poetic Release, UCCOx, Fridays for Future, Art & Art History Club and Project Fashion.
Make sure to take advantage of free access to such an engaging resource. Grab a coffee at the Beanery and walk around with a friend or by yourself to add a little excitement and warmth to these cold winter days.