By Grace McFadden

Despite the rain, students gathered at The William Benton Museum of Art last Thursday, Nov. 7 to celebrate the museum at their monthly First Thursday event. This month’s First Thursday offered crafts, giveaways, a scavenger hunt, an open mic, and more. The event was co-sponsored by WHUS and featured music from two of their on-air DJs.

The event highlighted the current exhibitions at the Benton, including DEMOKRACJA GRAFIKA: The Democracy of Print, an exhibit that features prints by Polish artists from the 1970s and 80s. A scavenger hunt was set up for visitors to discover the gallery in full. 

For students like first semester animal science major Rhys Moskowitz, the activity provided an opportunity to explore the museum for the first time.  

“This is actually my first time at the Benton.” Moskowitz said. “I actually really love art. I know that there’s constantly different exhibits going around. I’m really excited about seeing what they have to offer, and definitely seeing the building for the first time. I definitely want to come back and see the art.”

The Benton put on a scavenger hunt as a way for visitors to view the art and other aspects of the museum (Photo: Grace McFadden)

Other activities gave students the opportunity to connect with the art more directly. The museum is currently featuring an exhibition called When You Give Millenials A Gallery, in which pictures of students reacting to and interacting with art featured at the Benton are hung up next to the art itself. In that spirit, students had the opportunity to take a Polaroid next to their favorite piece in the gallery and then decorate a frame for it.

While the activities were occurring upstairs in the gallery, there was also an open mic downstairs in The Beanery where students performed music and poetry. Johnathan Dos Santos, a third semester music and mechanical engineering major, brought his guitar and played a few songs for the small crowd.

On the lower level of the Benton, there was an open mic where students could perform music or poetry (Photo: Grace McFadden)

“I like performing live, other than classical music,” Dos Santos said. “So this is what I do for fun. It’s one of the nice things UConn has to offer.”

Alex Ose, a fifth semester design and technical production for theatre major and volunteer at the Benton, explained that the Benton holds First Thursdays as a way to introduce more students to the museum. 

“First Thursdays is a recurring celebration of the Benton,” Ose said. “It’s kind of our way to make students feel more welcome. So it’s a bunch of different crafts and food and therapy dogs and stickers and giveaways, all targeted towards students to make sure they feel comfortable in a museum environment and to showcase what the Benton does in general.”

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