It’s a perfect bacon cheeseburger: two golden buns, the top dotted with sesame seeds, and a juicy patty topped with melting cheddar, a tomato, and crisp lettuce. And it’s made entirely of glass. The piece is one of many works of art displayed throughout UTA’s campus as part of the “Our Campus, Our Museum” program—an initiative managed by Cheryl Mitchell, assistant professor in practice in the Department of Art and Art History, and students pursuing a museum studies minor under her direction. In the process of installing these satellite exhibitions, students also gain experience in curatorial design and exhibition display, interpretation of thematic ideals, facilities function, and more.
Once students are trained on basic art handling techniques and understand the policies and protocols of a museum career field, they regularly visit area museums and professional art venues, going behind the scenes to learn more about specialty access areas. There, they move beyond exhibition studies to gain a broader view of the art world.
“All areas of employability are open to investigation,” Mitchell says. “We have also partnered with museums and organizations for collaborative internships that offer training and experience. This helps students overcome experience requirements listed on job postings.”
With such hands-on work being at the forefront of learning, transitioning to online classes in the wake of COVID-19 was a bit of a challenge—but Mitchell saw it as an opportunity both for her students and area art venues.
“I have scoured over the web to find supportive content for the students, such as installation and exhibition design, conservation, virtual tours, vloggers, and even a podcast. Students will assess how these online components represent the museums and if they help or hinder the institution itself,” she says. “Both my students and museum partners are excited about this opportunity to better their digital and virtual presence in a time it is needed most. The art world supports each other!”