Third time’s the charm with the William Benton Museum of Art’s monthly “First Thursday at the Benton” event, this time in collaboration with the university’s literary magazine, Long River Review, and as usual, the Beanery Cafe. This semester, the Benton will be open until 8 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. The April edition is the first this semester with the museum’s new art exhibit based on the HBO hit series, “Game of Thrones.”
The exhibition features 13 chairs “created by some of the key artists affiliated with the American Studio Furniture movement, the leader of which was Wendell Castle,” the description for the exhibition reads. The works on display are meant to question the balance of the chairs serving as functional pieces of furniture as opposed to pieces of fine art, and more specifically, showcase different interpretations of series’ author George R. R. Martin’s imagining of the Iron Throne, an integral part of the world.
In the cafe, the Beanery’s drink special of the night was 25 percent of all Italian sodas. They also hosted their usual Open Mic event, where students are able to show off their talents in instrumental music, song or poetry.
Upstairs, the Long River Review had taken over the exhibition area. The museum staff chose to use an I-Spy game to explore the exhibition. Previous activities included scavenger hunts and trivia questions. The Review hosted two rounds of Literary Trivia, including questions from classic novels such as “1984,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Frankenstein,” “Lord of the Flies” and countless others to keep bibliophiles occupied. I was lucky enough to win a Long River Review shirt in second while other winners collected tote bags.
“It’s been a lot of fun, I think, learning about how the literary process actually works,” Allison Rosaci, an eighth-semester English major, said about her time with the Long River Review. She serves as the Review’s Literary Events Coordinator. “The thing about the course is that it’s really front-loaded, where in the beginning, you’re reading all the submissions. I was on the non-fiction multimedia panel, so we didn’t get too swamped, but I would sometimes help out with fiction and poetry, because they got hundreds of submissions.”
The hands-on activity of the night was a DIY bookmark station, featuring piles of colorful scrapbook paper, washi tape, stamps and ribbon. My favorite feature of the night was the poems on demand, where you could request a poem on any topic or for any recipient, and a poem was written on the spot with a vintage typewriter. I was able to chat with much of the staff as they typed me up a lovely poem for my roommate.
“I was involved last year as fiction year editor, and I decided to come back this year as editor in chief,” Brianna McNish, an eight-semester English major, said. She serves as co-Editor-in-Chief with Siobhan Dale. “It’s great that we’re forming this collaboration with the Benton. I feel like this a very innovative way to spread the word about the magazine. It’s a great way to reach to people.”
The Benton’s collaborations with student groups on campus have resonated well with members as well as with students, creating fun and innovative activities each and every “First Thursday.”
“The Benton first approached us and we got together to brainstorm a list of activities to do for tonight,” Rosaci explained. “We’re going to have our launch party partnered with the AETNA Celebration of Student Writing on April 30 in the Wilbur Cross North Reading Room. We’ll going to have some of our published writers and poets come in and read some of their work. We’re going to have food and we’re just going to kind of hang out and sell copies of the Long River Review for the year.”
–Hollie Lao, The Daily Campus, 5 April 2019