The Miami University Art Museum has made efforts to achieve a larger audience. The museum’s new museum curator, Jason Shaiman, hopes to create exhibitions appealing to all students to push the museum in a positive direction.
Robert Wicks, museum director, said he looks forward to working with Shaiman.
“I thought he had some wonderful new ideas about ways of approaching exhibitions,” Wicks said. “Since he is younger himself, I think he knows what is going on in the younger minds and will be able to use that effectively.”
Shaiman plans to reach out to students of all majors.
“I want to develop more exhibits that can connect with a variety of departments on campus and a variety of academic disciplines, reaching out beyond just exhibitions that correlate with the art department,” Shaiman said.
Shaiman’s first series deals with identity in art and will open Jan. 11. There will be approximately six different programs in conjunction with the exhibit, including a faculty panel discussion that will incorporate professors from art history, psychology, sociology and theatre.
The museum recently used a special event to attract a variety of students. Oct. 28, the museum hosted a Mad Hatter Student Appreciation party with an attendance of 352 students. The museum hopes to host a similar event in the spring. Wicks was pleased with the attendance, which doubled his expectation.
“The goal was to attract students who are not normal museum-goers to help them see what things of interest are going on in the museum,” Wicks said.
Additional efforts to expand their audience include the use of a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to experiment with social media to promote attendance at events. Students will use virtual marketing to show student artwork and create student interest to come to the museum. Art students will begin working on this project in the spring semester.
Wicks said the isolated location of the museum is a common issue among campus art museums.
“Students have a hard time getting through the door,” Wicks said.
Junior Sarah Anderson was surprised by the art museum when she visited.
“I had to go to the art museum for a class requirement, (and) I was impressed to see such high quality work,” Anderson said. “The location can be inconvenient, but once you’re inside it is worth the hike.”
The museum currently houses 16,000 works of art from all over the world with five galleries to display the artwork.
“The museum is a great place to come if you are wanting a good experience, to find out a little more about cultural tradition or just looking at beautiful things,” Wicks said.