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Blaffer Art Museum Sparks Creativity with First Friday Studio Sessions

The free on-campus monthly event features fun activities, guided tours available to all students.

This fall, the Blaffer Art Museum (BAM) will be launching a series of Studio Sessions on the first Friday of every month. From 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., starting September 6, students can come to BAM to create art, join drop-in tours, enjoy free light bites (pizza, anyone?) and better connect with the museum and its current exhibition.  

“It’s an opportunity to further get involved in the UH arts,” says Elijah Caldwell, a painting major and Blaffer Art Museum Student Association (BAMSA) member who attended the First Friday Studio Session preview event on August 30. “You can network here with other artists or talk to like-minded people. Majors from all over can come by for fun because it’s a chance to be creative and express yourself.” 

The event encourages UH students to engage with the museum. BAM’s First Friday Studio Sessions also strives to increase awareness about the museum’s presence on campus as well as showcase the free, available and community-centered resources it offers. First Friday Studio Sessions also give students the chance to gain a deeper, more nuanced understanding of contemporary artwork and the exhibitions on display.

Sometimes students step inside BAM, look around and leave without truly connecting to the works or understanding the artist’s motivations, says BAMSA President Dametria Morris. “This event is a good opportunity for students to learn more about the exhibit in detail, from the free docent tours to the art-making,” Morris adds. “It’s also a creative break from academia.” 

If students were to head to BAM now, they would discover “Amie Seigel: Medium Cool,” an exhibition featuring mesmerizing videos, a fragment of marble from Trump Tower and marble dust paintings. Seigel’s conceptual work may fascinate students but the meaning behind some of the pieces can be obscure and may escape some viewers — and that’s where the First Friday Sessions come in.

For the initial preview First Friday Session, students were given the chance to make rubbings, an impression made by coloring paper laid over a design or texture with pencils or crayons. Participants were then asked what the artwork reminds them of, based off their memory, to connect the students to the piece they’ve made.

“With this activity, we’re exploring material memory, the value we place on objects, which relates to the current exhibit’s theme,” says Laila Abbasi, a docent at the museum.

Students from every major are encouraged to stop by and join the fun as well as check out the pop-up library, an event hosted by Williams R. Jenkins Architecture, Design and Art Library. At the pop-up library, students can check out art books and supplies at the bookstore every first Friday of the month and on Oct. 10.

“We want to connect with the student community,” adds Abbasi. “We know students will benefit a great deal from a space that promotes creativity.”