Art night offers an opportunity to unwind

Local artist Gracesol Thomas, board member Aurelia Brogan and Claremont resident Terri McDermott cut, glue and bedazzle their frames on Feb. 15 for the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art’s first Art Night Out event. Charcuterie, beer and wine were available for guests as well. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk
Local artist Gracesol Thomas, board member Aurelia Brogan and Claremont resident Terri McDermott cut, glue and bedazzle their frames on Feb. 15 for the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art’s first Art Night Out event. Charcuterie, beer and wine were available for guests as well. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

Sarah Van Buskirk
Editorial Director

Prosecco and paper scraps welcomed guests to the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art for the first ever Art Night Out on Feb. 15. Guests 21 years old and older paid $40 to hang out, make picture frames and walk through the museum’s latest exhibit, “This is not a chair.” 

Thea Whitaker, program manager at CLMOA and producer of the event said this was years in the making for her. She attended Claremont Graduate University and got her masters degree in arts management while doing her capstone project with the museum. 

When Whitaker joined the museum, the board members said how much they wanted to grow membership, get more foot traction and for it to be a hub for culture. She said if they held monthly events people would show up.

“Especially with the rise of social media we are missing a lot of third spaces in the world,” Whitaker said. “We go to work and we go home and we need another place to hang out so I think a museum is really positioned to do that very well…we have the culture, we have the art, we have the resources, we have a bunch of people who are passionate about art and so it’s a matter of opening our doors and finding like minded people to join.”

Museum associate Quincey Grace, who gave the guest a tour of the museum's latest exhibition, “This is not a chair,” talks with Dan and Gayle Mendenhall on Feb. 15 for the first Art Night Out at the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art. Guests mingled, crafted and got to take home a framed picture of themselves in Liz Nurenberg’s “Courting Chair, 2015” which is a part of the exhibition. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk
Museum associate Quincey Grace, who gave the guest a tour of the museum’s latest exhibition, “This is not a chair,” talks with Dan and Gayle Mendenhall on Feb. 15 for the first Art Night Out at the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art. Guests mingled, crafted and got to take home a framed picture of themselves in Liz Nurenberg’s “Courting Chair, 2015” which is a part of the exhibition. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

Around 20 guests decorated blank cardboard picture frames with a variety of different scrapbook paper, washi tape and rhinestones. Once guests completed their picture frame, they posed with a friend in Liz Nurenberg’s “Courting Chair, 2015,” which is a part of the exhibit, then waited a few minutes for the picture to print before putting it in their frame. 

“Typically museums are not super community based because people are too scared to go in them,” Martin Betz, director of the museum said. “We had to figure out a way to get people to come and think it’s a part of their lives…this is the place to come on a Thursday night to have a cool time.”

While half the group personalized their frames, the other half of the group toured the museum led by local artist and museum associate Quincey Grace. Being such a theatrical and interactive guide, Grace told fun facts about the museum like how floor boards in one of the rooms are the original wood panels but just flipped over and sealed. 

“These events are a chance to be creative and get to know people who like to be creative,” Grace said. “Sometimes it’s hard to find other people who like to be creative because we tend to stay in our little niches.”

Charcuterie was available along with local Claremont Craft Ales’ canned beer assortment. Valentine’s Day chocolates scattered around the refreshment and craft tables. 

Guests could also fill out a scroll that entered them into a raffle to win two free tickets to the museum’s next Art Night Out. 

Emily Moultrie, board secretary for CLMOA said the Art Night Out is not only a fundraiser for the museum but something residents can look forward to each month.

“We got a lot of really great ideas for using these Art Night Out third Thursday as an adult space to be goofy and not worry about what it looks like or if you had a hard day and you just got off of work and you can come in here and feel calm in this space,” Moultrie said.

The museum plans on doing the Art night out every third Thursday of the month. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite. For more information, visit clmoa.org.

Sarah Van Buskirk can be reached at sarah.vanbuskirk@laverne.edu.

Sarah Van Buskirk is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. She is the Spring 2024 editorial director for the Campus Times and has recently served as editor-in-chief, sports editor and staff writer. She is also currently a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine, and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine.

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