The FSU Department of Art Education’s Museum Education and Visitor-Centered Exhibitions (MEX) Program aims to train students to become edu-curators that develop, strengthen, and advance museum theory and practice through assuming visitor-centered roles and responsibilities in museums and participating in thoughtful scholarship. The MEX program curriculum for students includes a semester-long internship practice at The Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida.
Late last year, FSU MEX interns performed Student Spotlight Tours at The Ringling, each graduate student choosing to present and discuss a topic and theme of their choice. The tours gave them an opportunity to gain experience engaging with the public and allowed them to develop creative ways to engage with the art. The following are the MEX student presenters, their tour date of presentation and title, and accompanying statement describing their tours and their experiences performing Student Spotlight Tours at The Ringling.
November 3, 2016
I thought about what I knew and what I liked, and my mind immediately went to Beyoncé. There the idea was born. For my tour, I paired four classical works of art with Beyoncé’s top four songs. In addition, each song and painting had a “power move” that went along with it. Essentially, I had my group singing, laughing, and dancing in front of these works of art, and it was exhilarating! Each song related to the theme or story of the painting, and the “power move” reiterated that theme to help my group remember what I was saying in a fun way. At the very end of my tour, I had everyone put all the moves together. We covered themes like love, hate, death, and more. I had a really great time giving that tour and the audience’s overwhelmingly positive reaction has inspired me to be even more innovative with my programming at my own museum!
November 17, 2016
Full-Fledged Renaissance: Michelangelo’s Impact in Modern Asian Art
During my tour, visitors looked at several sculptures, starting in The Ringling courtyard and then transitioning to the Center For Asian Art. An overview of the tour started with the idea that modern Asian art and its influence goes far beyond classical representations of religious deities or carefully crafted ceramic pieces. The youth-led protest in China during the late 1980s called for greater political, cultural, and artistic freedoms. These new freedoms led to a renaissance like period within the entire region, which greatly influences modern Asian art today. As the title of the tour suggests, we played around with the idea of Renaissance, and the acceptance of new and old ideas, and looked for signs of Michelangelo as we explored the Center for Asian Art. The time change made made our first object a bit hard to see details but we did talk about Michelangelo’s David during the sunset, which made for a great start to the tour.
October 6, 2016
Masters Inspiring Masters: The Art that Provoked Salvador Dalí
For my Student Spotlight tour at the Ringling, I took inspiration from my prior docent experience at the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. I called my tour “Masters Inspiring Masters: The Art That Provoked Salvador Dalí.” With my tour, I tied Dalí’s seemingly surreal and strange art to Old World artists such as Rubens, Vermeer, and Velasquez. As a fine arts student, Dalí mastered the techniques of these artists and synthesized their ideas into his modern works. During my tour, I used an iPad loaded with images of Dalí’s art to demonstrate the echoes in centuries-old art at The Ringling. My audience was mostly Ringling members and they seemed to like seeing their museum’s collection through a different lens. For me, it felt great getting “back in the saddle” giving a gallery tour. The ideas I’ve learned as a doctoral student in MEX helped me engage my audience and hopefully fostered more meaning for them. My hope was to teach them that ideas that seem different at first glance aren’t that different from what they already know. Sometimes a different perspective is all it takes.
The FSU Department of Art Education is proud of its MEX interns for their achievements!