Addison Ambassadors Experiment with Music at Student-Hosted Party

Candles casting orange light guided students through the passageway leading from the Addison Gallery of American Art to the dimly lit Underwood Room. As soft music played from overhead speakers, students lounged on the couches sipping fruit punch, eating popcorn, and chatting as they watched two silent movies.

Claire Jungmann ’18, an Addison Ambassador, said, “We were hoping to show movies which had the theme of transformation because that was the theme of the party… We wanted to [incorporate] the underground cinema feel [as well].”

The silent movie screening was one of many events featured at Night at the Addison: Luminosity, a party held last Friday night by the Addison Ambassadors, a group of students who work with Addison faculty on a variety of projects, including special talks and community outreach.
Addison Ambassador Ignacy Jurjewicz ’20 said, “We mostly hope that people will be encouraged to visit the Addison more often, because our exhibitions are always changing and you can always learn something new. It’s also to encourage people to read about the paintings and actually explore them in detail while they’re here.”

“[I hope people learn that] the Addison isn’t as serious as [they] think. When people think of going to a museum, [they think it’s] going to be serious. You can just come here [to chill]. On Wednesdays we have food — very good cookies. It’s a fun place to be, and it’s relaxing,” said ambassador Linh Nguyen ’20.

The event featured live music played by two violinists, Yuji Chan ’18 and Aditi Kannan ’18, next to the “Threading Lights” exhibition by Mark Tobey, which traces the evolution of Tobey’s work over half a century. The duo played several pieces including “The Swan” by Camille Saint-Saëns and duets by Dmitri Shostakovich. The juxtaposition of the music and the paintings was purposeful, with each note complementing the art in different ways as students explored the extensive collection.

Chan said, “[Before we entered the exhibit] there was a little sign that said, ‘How does the music impact your viewing of the painting?’ If we play a piece in a minor key, it has a different effect than [a piece] in a major key. Music [adds] another dimension, another layer to the art gallery.”
Just around the corner, another exhibit played music by Shawn Mendes, starkly contrasting with the classical music playing next door. In this exhibit, students were allowed to plug in their own devices and play music of their choosing while admiring the gallery’s permanent collection of artwork.

“When you go from the classical room to this room where there’s more modern music, you just go into this different sensory world, and that relates to our theme of light and transformation,” said Jurjewicz.

Several ambassadors and viewers picked the exhibit “Convergence” featuring the piece “Hidden Diamond” by Anila Quayyum Agha as their favorite. A single light bulb shone from the inside of a lantern made with lacquered steel, casting dramatic, patterned shadows on the walls. Many visitors took their time admiring the piece and taking photographs with their friends. “I feel like it has this magical atmosphere,” said Jurjewicz.

The event also offered low-pressure opportunities for attendees to interact with the exhibits such as drawing with oil pastels and invisible ink.
“I love the Addison — it’s my favorite building on campus. They always have really fun events, and they’re all really creative. I like how chill [the student party] is. You can come to have fun, [as] it’s not really formal,” said Alice Tang ’18, an attendee.