Night at the Addison 2022: The Addison “Illuminates” An Opportunity For Students to Connect With Art

The theme of “Night at the Addison” this year was “Illumination.” The Addison Gallery aimed to encourage the
Andover community to interact with the gallery’s exhibistions through this event.

Buzzing with energy, dozens of students visited the Addison Gallery for the annual “Night at the Addison” event.  Including activities like a scavenger hunt, blacklight blackboards for neon drawings, and a photo booth, the Addison welcomed the Andover community to engage with its many exhibitions. Jamie Gibbons, Head of Education at the Addison, explained the theme of Illumination for this event.

“So they were inspired by that exhibition to make the theme of the event ‘Illumination’… And so they were thinking not only about light, but about illuminating context for artwork, and illuminating ideas, and kind of shining light onto new ways to connect,” said Gibbons.

Organized by the Addison Community Ambassadors, the event’s goal was to encourage the Andover Community to engage with the gallery’s pieces. It also helped students to appreciate the opportunity that the Addison Gallery offers, helping them to look closely, ask questions, and form new types of connections. Addison Community Ambassador, Melissa Damascenco ’22 shared about the event’s importance.

“With the Andover schedule, and just the hustle of the school, it’s really hard for students to kind of step back and appreciate what we have to offer on campus with the Addison and  the different artists included there, the different stories that are told through the pieces and objects that are all in the museum,” said Damascenco.

By including the activities, the goal of the ambassadors was to transform the Addison into a space geared toward the student body. Langan Garrett ’24 commented on why she enjoyed the night and how the different activities set up around the museum added a special touch.

“I thought it was fun that they had a photo booth, you know, everyone loves a photo booth. And I also thought that having that activity where you could write on the walls, about prompts relating to the exhibit was really nice. And then obviously, just having the open exhibit time was also really nice,” said Garrett. 

Initially, the Night at the Addison was scheduled for the week prior, but because of the snow storm they were forced to reschedule, as to keep security guards safe and off of the slippery roads. Other challenges included music malfunctions and limited amounts  of food. Damascenco shared why these difficulties didn’t phase the ambassadors.

“I spent the first half of the night trying to get the music to work and ended up not working, which was fine, because it got people out into the museum. We also ran out of food pretty quickly…I think it was just like those two things that didn’t fit into our initial expectations. But honestly, we were talking about this after, the night went exactly how we planned despite those two things,” said Damascenco.

The Addison Gallery incorporates new exhibitions every few months that are unique from one another. In hopes to build interest in them, the Addison Community Ambassadors worked on this event to encourage students to enjoy the exhibitions outside of the typical class visit. 

“I hope students found new ways to connect and new things that the museum that they either hadn’t seen before, or hadn’t thought about before…And I hope that they feel encouraged to come back another time on their own and use those same ways of looking at art to look at other pieces of art that maybe they hadn’t connected with before,” said Gibbons.