M&G: more than just art

Column: Giving
December 17, 2014
Choirs, orchestra to perform Handel’s Messiah
December 17, 2014

M&G: more than just art

Harpists perform in Christmas Music with the Masters at the Museum & Gallery. Photo: Tatiana Bento

Most BJU students know BJU’s Museum & Gallery from the brief tour they took as freshmen as part of the Introduction to the Arts course. But what students may not know is just how many opportunities the museum offers to learn, think, create and observe.

Erin Jones, director of the M&G, describes the museum as an educational entity that helps us understand the present by learning about life in the past. “Our collection isn’t just about art; it’s about everything that surrounds art,” Jones said. “It’s a message to the past and the people living in the past.”

The museum has many special events planned for next semester at both the on-campus location and the satellite location in downtown Greenville. The M&G will be adding a few more pieces to its vast Bowen Collection of Antiquities, including armbands and bracelets from Pompeii and armor from King Nebuchadnezzar’s day.

Jan. 21 marks the opening of a new exhibition on campus, “The Golden Age of Painting in the Low Countries.” This exhibition captures ordinary life in the 17th century of Northern Europe and displays various themes such as maritime scenes and still life. The works will be on loan to the University from a private Russian collector, Mr. Lev Grzhonko.

Also in January, the Heritage Green M&G location downtown will have monthly ArtBreaks. ArtBreaks are a catered lunch/lecture time that will feature a different speaker each month, covering various topics relevant to the Victorian Era. A boxed lunch is $7, and the lecture is free for members and $5 for nonmembers. Registration begins Jan. 7.

From March 1 – April 5, the museum will host “Easter Story in Art: A Strolling Tour.” This will be a self-guided tour for everyone to enjoy select works that focus on the life of Christ in honor of Easter. Audio guides about the pieces on display will be available for rent to teach those walking through the exhibits.

M&G curator John Nolan will present a lecture on Benjamin West in War Memorial Chapel March 12 at 5:30 p.m. Seven of West’s paintings hang in War Memorial Chapel, making it the largest known assemblage of his works. Admission to the lecture is free, and registration is not required.

March 26 will be Community Day for both the M&G at BJU and the M&G at Heritage Green. Admission is free for everyone and serves to honor BJU alumni and M&G friends.

In addition to special events, the museum also offers five educational programs under its “Arts Encounter” program for K-12 students. These programs include “Cultural Discovery Tour,” “Homeschool Days,” “Children’s Christmas Celebration,”  “Kids Create!” and “Museum on the Move.”

Donnalynn Hess, director of education for the Museum & Gallery, along with Mack Library director Van Carpenter, hopes to offer several Love2Learn cafés next semester. The café meeting would entail a 20-minute lecture derived from the ArtBreak lectures, followed by open discussion.

“I’m hoping to ‘re-frame’ some of these [ArtBreak] lectures for the students to enjoy,” Hess said.

The café would meet in the library and include coffee as fuel for thought. Topics will range from 19th century housewives to the Victorian Era to Sherlock Holmes.

The Museum & Gallery also provides opportunities to learn new skills by developing media for the exhibitions.

“Our exhibitions provide lots of opportunity for professional development and collaboration,” Hess said. Students are able to help with media production by shooting and editing videos for the exhibitions, which Hess said gives them pieces to add to their portfolio and, hopefully, to present at a future Love2Learn café.

All university students receive free admittance to the M&G when they show their ID cards. So the next time you have a few minutes of extra time, stop by this campus gem, what Jones described as a “primary resource” rich in culture, history and so much more.