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The Kennedy Museum of Art at The Ridges. (FILE)

Kennedy Museum of Art displays creative student exhibition, “Connections, Remembered”

Since April 22, the Kennedy Museum of Art has featured a new exhibition on display called “Connections, Remembered.” The exhibition features work from Ohio University students enrolled in the 2021-2022 Museum Studies Certificate Program. 

Serving as the eighth annual exhibition of the museum’s Merging Concept Series, the exhibition is formed around a “big idea” crafted by students in the program, led by Kennedy Museum of Art and the Museum Studies Certificate Program Director Edward E. Pauley. 

This year’s “big idea,” inspired by primary objects and documents on loan from Ohio University Libraries, was: “The very vehicles through which we strengthen intimate bonds leave marks that shape the future.”

“How we come up with what we call our “big idea” is we start by selecting our two main primary objects,” Tristen Luken, a senior studying studio art, said. “We select those objects first, and then we come up with that idea. It was kind of this idea of you have these objects that represent these memories and these relationships formed by people either in the past, or people that are still around, but they record this history and they tell the story regardless if it's the object literally telling the story.”

Dominic Diffendal, a graduate student studying art administration, also saw the exhibition as an opportunity to connect people as well, drawing inspiration from his own family and friends. 

“For me personally the meaning of the statement involves, "the very vehicles", the objects and methods that we interact with during our lives strengthen the bonds between friends and family,” Diffendal said in an email. “The bonds between members may not have been known outright, but our plan was to have the visitor think about their own lives and everyday objects they have that create these memories with their own friends and family.”

In this one-year certificate program, students were responsible for researching, selecting and interpreting all objects within the exhibition. They were also tasked with planning, designing and developing educational content, as well as installing the exhibition.

“I worked on the design team to fully design what the layout would be, the visuals, the wall text, the color pallet, and various other things going into the feel of the exhibition,” Diffendal said in an email. “I had also helped with installation, and selection of an object.”

Even though the Pandemic resulted in a smaller group of students participating in the program, it didn’t stop the usual flow of creativity seen in previous years.

“Of course, every year of the ongoing series is special because each is based on a unique theme referred to as “the big idea,” Pauley said in an email. “This year’s enrollment in the program was the smallest, which was probably due to COVID-19. Nonetheless, the students succeeded in creating a dynamic space that tells the story they envisioned. They wanted it to have somewhat of a “grandma’s attic” feel and their gallery design certainly conveys that.”

It also allowed for students in the program to meet others outside of their major.

“I ended up really, really enjoying my classmates, which made it a lot better, and there were 14-15 of us, so we got to know each other pretty well,” Luken said. “The cool thing about this class is it is cross-disciplinary. While some of us were art students, you had history students and anthropology students (as well).”

The program’s fall semester coursework is lecture-based while the spring semester is a practicum. Juniors and seniors, as well as graduate students enrolled in a degree program on campus are eligible to apply for the certificate through the School of Art + Design.

“I think the part of this class that really made it for me was the people and I enjoyed that feeling of all of us talking and figuring out what we were going to do and then seeing it happen,” Luken said.

“Connections, Remembered” is on display until Sept. 4.


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