Museum Magic

Renee Payton, LSU Museum of Art marketing director, stands in front of her favorite painting in the gallery, "Sanctuary" by Libby Johnson
Renee Payton, LSU Museum of Art marketing director, stands in front of her favorite painting in the gallery, "Sanctuary" by Libby Johnson

By Rowan Kavner | LSU Student

The LSU Museum of Art and LSU Manship School's public relations capstone class teamed up to reel in college students to "Magic at the Museum" recently at the LSU Museum of Art – a long-term project to get more students into art.

Public relations senior Taylor Eckstein, one of the students organizing the event, said the purpose of promoting the exhibit was to forge a better relationship between the museum and area institutions of higher learning.

"The events were already prescheduled before we came on," Eckstein said. "But their main goal is to have a lasting relationship with individuals and members and get people excited about the museum. There's really cool things that go on here. They want people to find out about it.

"They feel like no one really knows because they're on the fifth floor of a building downtown."

Public relations students could choose which events to promote and picked "Magic at the Museum" because they thought it would appeal to the college-aged student.

"Magic at the Museum" featured four exhibitions displaying the illusion in art on the fifth floor of the Shaw Center in downtown Baton Rouge. The event brought in 138 people in the first 90 minutes, more than a third of which an hour and a half, more than a third of whom were LSU students.

Renee Payton, the museum's marketing director, noted it was a 50 percent increase in students for a such an event. "I would think (there would have been) more of our members and donors [during other exhibitions]."

Public relations junior Courtney Rachal said class visits to promote the event, as well as LSU teachers giving their students extra credit to attend, helped.

"We also heard positive feedback about flyers in the bathrooms in Middleton Library," Rachal said. "It's kind of guerilla marketing. A lot of people said they heard about it in the library."

The four exhibitions spotlighted in the event were "Faces of Pride: Elizabeth Catlett," "Outside the Frame: Gregory Scott," "Once Upon a Time," and "Contemporary Insights."

One of the artists, Gabriel Dawe, whose "Cascade of Color" exhibit also was displayed, did a live show of his artwork, featuring sewing thread.

Scott's unique art blended painting, photography and video, creating a work of art that challenges the normal idea of a painting.

"This is one of the more crowded events," Eckstein said. "The [museum employees] said it's some of the most students they have had in some time. It's pretty exciting."