The Nasher to open its doors to students for third annual Study Hall

The Nasher Museum of Art will open its doors Monday, Dec. 11, to students seeking a place to study during reading period.
The Nasher Museum of Art will open its doors Monday, Dec. 11, to students seeking a place to study during reading period.

Last year, sophomore Katja Kochvar walked into the Nasher Museum of Art on the Monday of reading period. Instead of the usual open floor of the Great Hall and lobby area of the museum, she was greeted by rows of tables and chairs filled with students, accompanied by a low murmur of conversation, the clicks of fingers on keyboards and the scratches of pencils on paper.

The Study Hall at the Nasher, an annual event now in its third year, takes place this year on Monday, Dec. 11, from 3 p.m. to midnight. To Kochvar, the event was a nice “change of scenery,” since she dislikes studying in Perkins and instead rotates between the Bryan Center, the Broadhead Center and her room.

This year’s event will feature snacks and coloring pages based on the works currently in the galleries, as well as activities that include tour breaks, yoga and a primal scream, to provide some breaks during the study slog. The yoga will be in the galleries instead of in the Great Hall, where it has previously been held. Junior Brittany Halberstadt, co-chair of Nasher MUSE, the student-run organization that planned the event, said bringing students into the galleries to see the art is central to all of the group’s events.

The Study Hall at the Nasher, though, differs from other MUSE events in that it is more academically focused rather than social in nature.

“We had a lot of events that were based around celebrating, and around parties and things like that, like the first-year party is one of our most successful events,” Halberstadt said. “But we wanted to do something where students could actually use the museum space to help their academics and to help their studying.”

The event ties in with the larger goal of MUSE: to bring students into the museum and engage them in the art. Halberstadt said the group focuses on events designed specifically for the students, an audience the Nasher did not target until the establishment of MUSE. The museum instead tended to work more with K-12 students and faculty to bring classes to the galleries.

MUSE has recently begun doing more collaborations with other groups on campus to bring in students who may not otherwise visit and to make them more aware of what MUSE does.

These collaborations have included a screening of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” with DUU Freewater Presentations and a senior celebration with the Senior Class Council earlier this semester. They also have another event, Bridge to the Nasher, planned for Thursday with The Bridge, an online publication and social media outlet intended to create a community for black and Latina women.

The planning of these events, though, can be difficult, particularly because the Nasher has a budget already set a year in advance. Halberstadt said the current members of Nasher MUSE are working on ideas for events that would happen in the next academic year. The group also needs to coordinate with other departments in the museum throughout the planning process to ensure the events run smoothly and are of the same quality as other Nasher events.

“It is a lot of different moving parts, and that’s kind of nice why we have a big board,” Halberstadt said. “We have about 15 people on the board right now, so that way we can split it up and make sure that everybody kind of has a task and can get something done.”

With the study hall, planning included the coordination of tables, chairs, lighting and outlets with the special events department, as well as work with marketing to design graphics and promote the event on social media. Overall, Halberstadt said she feels the study hall will go well, since they had a big turnout last year — around 400 people. She also made a point to mention that students can drop by during the event.

“You don’t have to stay the whole nine hours, definitely,” Halberstadt said. “But it’s just a great place to take a study break or to study really hard.”


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