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Mixing it up with Vincent van Gogh and friends

Athletics for the 21st century

Campus & Community

Mixing it up with Vincent van Gogh and friends

Campus & Community

Mixing it up with Vincent van Gogh and friends

Photo by R. Leopoldina Torres

Students take over Harvard Art Museums for an evening they can call their own

The tranquility that usually greets visitors at Harvard Art Museums was cast aside on Sept. 11 as 1,300 undergrad and graduate students poured in for .

The annual event kicked off the fall semester by inviting students to spend quality time with works by artists such as Kerry James Marshall and Vincent van Gogh.

Within 15 minutes, 532 students had passed through the threshold and been greeted with stickers inspired by colors from the Forbes Pigment Collection, raffles, and Harvard Art Museums-themed goodies. Music curated by DJ Saskia (Luke Martinez ’19) drifted through the courtyard and provided a thoughtful auditory companion to one of the museums’ latest exhibitions,

President Larry Bacow talking to students
Harvard President Larry Bacow attended Student Late Night. Photo by Caitlin Cunningham

According to Erin Northington, assistant director of student programs and campus initiatives at the museums, the DJ was in “rare form,” dancing across the turntables like a ballerina spinning across a stage: graceful, relaxed, and unflappable. The musical choices made an electrifying background as students gathered excitedly in the courtyard, which morphed from an ideal study spot to a dance hall for the night.

Room at the Harvard Art Museums

Enjoying all that Harvard Student Late Night had to offer.

Photos by Caitlin Cunningham

In the downstairs Materials Lab (mlab), students got to create their own metal point drawings using different implements and objects on specially coated paper. Some doodled while others, such as Anna Li ’21, intently focused on their creations. Li painstakingly rendered an image of her teammate’s friend’s pet Sheba, studiously capturing the dog’s wide eyes. “[This is] a really cool thing,” says Li, looking around the packed room of students creating to their hearts’ content. “[It’s] a really nice study break for all of the students here.”

On the fifth floor was the Lightbox Gallery, “?a venue for digital experimentation” where the museums intersect with technology. The projects on this floor rotate regularly, and on Sept. 11 the gallery? welcomed visitors to the world of Division of Digital Infrastructure and Emerging Technology (DIET). A projected display of colorful circles, each corresponding to a work of art in the museums, took up the majority of the space.

“We track everything that our curators and staff know about our collections … and then we try to make [that data] publicly available,” said Jeff Steward, director of DIET. “We’re just trying to introduce people who are science-minded to the ways in which data about collections can be used.”

Museum staff members also attended Student Late Night, and it was the first one for Soyoung Lee, the museums’ new chief curator. “I’m just really excited by the energy … I can’t thank the students enough,” she said. “I’m really inspired by their love of this place.”

Babi Oloko ’21 is a communications intern and on the student board at the Harvard Art Museums.

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