“Night At the Addison: Evolve” Allows Students to Interact with Artwork

The 2019-2020 Addison Ambassadors helped to plan interactive activities like the Identity Quest scavenger hunt to encourage attendees to engage with the artwork, according to Addison Ambassador Emiliano Caceres ’22.

Yuping Zhu ’21 performed a cover of Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber’s “10,000 Hours” at the event, highlighting its interactive nature.

Replicating a painting of two men in a river, Kayla Lang ’22 arched back her head to mimic one man drowning as Myra Bhathena ’22 imitated the grim expression of the other man while clutching Lang’s shirt. After posing, they continued wandering around the museum to complete the Identity Quest activity, studying each painting and photograph as the sound of orchestral music and student chatter floated from room to room.

“We were just admiring the simple but clear emotion [displayed on the painting] when Myra had the idea to recreate the painting… I think a lot of the time people think that art is too sophisticated for them and so they don’t even bother coming to the gallery. Night at the Addison draws you to amazing galleries that you never thought of going to before, and lets you appreciate the art while having a lot of fun,” said Lang.

The “Evolve”-themed annual Night At the Addison Event was hosted last Friday at the Addison Gallery of American Art, organized by the Addison Ambassadors. According to Addison Ambassador Kate MacLeod ’20, The Identity Quest is a scavenger hunt with questions that lead visitors on a tour throughout the entire museum. Once a participant completes the quest successfully, they receive a sticker and enter a raffle to win an art print from the Addison collection.

“We have [an] exhibit over there [that is about] the wilderness and the 1800s. We have ‘Man Up! Visualizing Masculinity in the 19th-Century,’ and so we were trying to find a party theme that kind of encapsulated all three [galleries] so that’s how we ended up with our party theme of evolution; it’s Night at the Addison: Evolution,” said MacLeod.

Addison Ambassador Emiliano Caceres ’22 explained that the interactive nature of this year’s event was created for students to have more meaningful engagement with the artwork on display. The Addison Ambassadors planned a series of activities for students to participate in to help achieve this goal.

“Obviously we have the scavenger hunt, and then to get more people to engage more hands-on, we also have our self-portrait collage where we took images from the galleries and asked people to make collages out of them to express themselves, and that helps people draw personal connections between themselves and the galleries,” said Caceres.

According to MacLeod, the party was a success, accumulating around 180 students who came and engaged with the artwork. She hopes that the interactive activities will encourage visitors to attend the event again in future years.

“The quest was designed to have people explore and learn about all the exhibits while having fun, and based on the high level of participation, I’d say it was successful. It was really nice to see so many people enjoying the museum, because that’s what we’ve been hoping to facilitate all year, and I hope that after coming to the party, people are inspired to return to the Addison,” said MacLeod.