UK Art Museum now free for all

By Rebecca Watters

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The UK Art Museum will offer free admission to everyone for the first time in UK history.

The museum, which is located in the Singletary Center for the Fine Arts, has also extended its hours and brought in more lectures and programs to entice students to take advantage of the under-utilized campus resource.

“With all these changes, we are really trying to become more well-known on campus,” visitor services manager Michaela Miles said. “We are one of only two accredited art museums in the state, and we want people to visit and take advantage of all the resources we have to offer.”

In addition, there is now a student membership that costs $10 and is only a one-time fee. Members receive special perks and are invited to see special events.

The Art Museum is separated by floors, which organize the different types of art and exhibits. Downstairs, there are temporary exhibits, which currently include sculptures by Jim Dine, and an authentic totem pole. Upstairs, the museum displays its permanent collection of professional artwork, which includes everything from portraits to photographs and drawings to political protest posters.

“We try to display all the different mediums of art,” said Stuart Horodner, director of the art museum. “We want everything that artists make art about here in the museum.”

In addition to their exhibits, it is the job of museum curator Janie Welker to organize lectures and presentations at the museum. This semester, there are a total of four lectures, including one by Nina Katchadourian on Oct. 2. In these lectures, the artists attend and speak to students, and give them the opportunity to ask questions.

“We give students the chance to talk to professionals in the field, which is something really unique,” Welker said.

Besides university students, the museum also attracts many outside visitors, including elementary students. For many elementary school students, the visit is their first time at a museum. The staff works to include engaging art work for all audiences, especially children.

“Right now we have the totem pole here, and it’s impossible to describe it without actually seeing it in person. It’s amazing to stand in front of it and see how tall it really is,” Welker said.

Art students can use the museum as a resource to meet artists, but they can also use it to learn skills they may use in their career someday. For Kayla Burton, a graduate of UK who now works as a gallery staff member, the museum has taught her things she never would have learned in a classroom setting.

“It is such a hands-on experience. I’ve learned how to package art, how to hang and display it, and I give tours,” Burton said. “You can’t really learn the craft of something unless you actually do it.”

Besides being a resource, the museum is one of the only places to actually see work close up and speak with others about the history and culture of professional artwork. A museum setting is unique in that it allows students to study art work first-hand, which is important in the world of visual art.

“There’s a huge difference between seeing art on a computer screen and actually standing in front of it in person,” museum preparator Alan Rideout said.

A full schedule of the museum’s events can be found online.