Iowa State offers many different opportunities for cultural engagement: museums, a sculpture garden, the first building on campus, artwork surrounding campus buildings and lots of green space. However, many students often overlook the abundance of artwork that sets Iowa State apart from other college campuses.
For many students, museums are seen as overwhelming and inaccessible, said Jill O’Brien, a senior in journalism and mass communication.
“I think that having museums on campus makes it a little bit less overwhelming, like they can see all these works of art from all different times, all different artists, and all different mediums, and it’s not as overwhelming or intimidating,” O'Brian said.
According to its website, Iowa State University Museums offers a variety of art exhibits such as the ReACT exhibition series, which is intended to “provide a safe and respectful environment in which to express and explore reactions, opinions, and perspectives of national current events issues relevant to the ISU community."
“I think the ReACT gallery is a good place for students to start if they want to engage in art and engage with the community and how to dialogue but they don’t really know where to start,” O'Brien said.
The ReACT Exhibition Series has focused on topics such as leadership, water, Green DOT, the first amendment and mass shootings.
Lilah Anderson, educator of visual literacy and learning for University Museums, said the ReACT series is a unique way to showcase artwork.
“The ReACT Series gives a chance for us to look at different works of art that are in the permanent collection that aren’t necessarily always on display and to address a current issue or subject,” Anderson said.
The upcoming exhibition, opening Wednesday, Sept. 4, will focus on civility in our country. At the exhibition, named "It starts with us: Civility and the 21st Century Land Grant Mission" viewers can see different perspectives and how art can define civility. There will be components of the exhibition where students will have the chance to interact.
“We are trying to create a place where students can feel safe to discuss things and to have a dialog,” Anderson said.
This exhibition also offers an outlet for dialog and different perspectives, but there will also be guest speakers, faculty and staff participating in order to offer a different dynamic.
The ReACT series isn’t the only event the museums has planned this fall, Betsy Grabinski, museums communication specialist, said. "Beyond the Glass," Brunnier Art Museum's reopening gala, will be a moment to recognize the new things happening at the museums.
“We are going to be able to celebrate this new version of the museum and we are opening a couple of our three exhibitions celebrating the new things happening,” Grabinski said.
The Brunnier will have a reopening gala at 7 p.m. Sept. 19, which will be open to the public. This free event will have museum-inspired food and many other activities to stimulate dialog, and offer an environment to experience and celebrate the renovated Brunnier and its contributions to campus culture.
“I think the bigger picture is that we are showing how art is a part of life in a lot of different ways, and how you can look at art and tie it into things that are around you,” Grabinski said.
More information about the reopening and future events can be found on the University Museums website.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article included an incorrect reference to the ReACT's new exhibit. The article has been updated to include the correct reference. The Daily regrets this error.