Tonight the Ackland Art Museum will put some music on, let its hair down and keep its doors open into the night with the first "Art After Dark" event of the school year.
"Art After Dark" is a free, monthly event put on by the museum in cooperation with the 2ndFriday Artwalk of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. On the second Friday of every month, numerous art galleries in Chapel Hill and Carrboro invite the community in for a relaxed and entertaining evening.
"Any museum, including an art museum, is going to have a whiff of the institution that's going to make people uncomfortable, and this is just another way to get people in and have them comfortable in the Ackland," said Nic Brown, director of communications at the museum.
In order to invite a more relaxed and social tone to the museum setting, the Ackland has hired a disc jockey for Friday's session to play an eclectic variety of music for visitors in all the museum's galleries.
Each "Art After Dark" session highlights a special theme or program for the evening. This Friday's session is geared toward the students of UNC.
The "Welcome Back" theme for Friday's session will showcase the Student Friends of the Ackland, an organization that cultivates and fosters relationships between the museum and the student body.
Future sessions of "Art After Dark" this semester will feature talks with Ackland curators and UNC professors, and even a holiday pajama party for children in December, complete with milk and cookies.
UNC junior Elsa Hasenzahl, the president of the Student Friends of the Ackland, says these sessions "give people more of an opportunity to talk and feel more comfortable in a museum."
All of the galleries in the museum will not be open for tonight's event, however. The Ackland is currently undergoing its first museumwide reinstallation in 17 years, thus blocking a few galleries until the unveiling of the new exhibition Sept. 30.
The new exhibition, titled "The Art of Looking," will feature numerous pieces from the private collection of Charles Millard, a former director of the museum.
But organizers do not want reinstallation work to discourage a visit to "Art After Dark." Visitors can still find new exhibits to the museum open Friday night, including a new contemporary art gallery.
Tonight's event will also showcase a new exhibition in the upstairs space titled "Spirit of the Brush: Chinese Calligraphy and Painting," which the museum is presenting in conjunction with Carolina Performing Arts.
Brown and Hasenzahl hope Friday's "Art After Dark" will draw a varied crowd to the museum.
"It's a different crowd at night," Brown said. "It's a much different atmosphere than you get in the museum at 2:00 on a Thursday afternoon."
Contact the Arts Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ATTEND ART AFTER DARK
Time: 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. today
Location: Ackland Art Museum
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