Spooky season is underway at the Benton 

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A group of UConn students pet Sally the therapy dog throughout the event. Sally is a cocker spaniel-terrier mixed breed. Photo by Quincy Smith/The Daily Campus.

The Benton hosted a Haunted First Thursday event last night, and I can’t think of a better way to ring in the spooky season. If you are one for fun crafts, great music, impactful art coupled with great coffee and food, I’d recommend stopping by any of the Benton First Thursday events.  

When I first arrived at the Beanery, most of the activities were still being set up, so I decided to indulge in some of their delicious mac and cheese to hold me over until dinner. I then made my way upstairs to explore the Benton’s latest exhibits, which are filled with many beautiful and thought-provoking art pieces. 

The first to catch my eye was a self-portrait by Yukon Mishima titled “Margo Machida,” which seemed to have some biblical references with the rib-cage puncture, but was uniquely painted multiple times from different angles. A photograph that profoundly allured me was titled ‘Bulletproofglass’ by Rosemary Laing, which seemed to have strong yet varying interpretations many could take away from the bloody bride. Not to mention, the first-ever “mirror-selfie” painting I had seen of a young girl and a cat, titled “In the Studio” by Ellen Emmet Rand. 

It wasn’t just the art hanging on the wall that was compelling, but also a collection of dazzling sculptures accompanying them. One that stood out was “Faucet with Horsehead,” which the artist created in response to things they noticed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The horsehead was modeled after the horse statue of Robert E. Lee, which was taken down that summer, thus reflecting some of the civil unrest that followed the quarantine.  

Even more Halloween masks that were handed out in the Benton Museum. The following masks here are King Kong (1933), Yoda (Star Wars) and E.T. (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial). Photo by Quincy Smith/The Daily Campus.

I then made my way through the pulp fiction exhibit filled with detailed paintings and drawings that served as cover art for many comic books. A warning marked the beginning of the exhibit, noting that these illustrations were created during a time in which vastly different values from today’s were popular throughout the country. One notable artist was James Allen St. John, whose illustrations were featured in many stories, from Tarzan to epic sea voyages. 

After that, I was soothed back downstairs by an amazing cover of everyone’s favorite Dolly Parton song “Jolene.” The musical group of students performing at open mic night consisted of singer Hannah Doyen, guitarist Lydia Field and one of the two accordion players often practicing around campus, Max Blanachard.  

Students spoke positively about different aspects of the event. “I loved the mask-making activity. It was fun to relax and color with friends,” said Rachel Ayers, a seventh-semester healthcare finance major. “The musicians that were playing in the lobby were very talented, and it was nice to hear fellow students play,” she continued. 

The Benton’s monthly First Thursday celebrations are a great option for students looking to liven up their evenings. With yesterday being the first warm autumn day of October, it made for a wonderful night to appreciate great art and build up excitement for the soon-approaching Halloween.  

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