College, museum unite

By Shardae Smith

The Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., is one of the nation’s largest art facilities dedicated to offering exhibitions where the public can see projects of living artists and be able to appreciate the art of today. Columbia students, faculty and staff now have free access to the museum as of Oct. 1.

Made possible by the offices of the Provost and Academic Affairs, this offer is available until Sept. 30, 2011.

“We know some of our faculty or students go to the [MCA] as a class, or on their own,” said Louise Love, vice president for Academic Affairs. “By getting a much better deal for the whole college, we’re hoping it will increase the opportunity for everybody.”

Love said because many of the college’s staff are artists and people who are interested in the cultural life of the city, she hopes this collaboration will be an opportunity everyone will take advantage of.

The MCA is one of the finest art institutions, according to Steven Kapelke, provost and senior vice president.

Presenting a Campus Card will give Columbia visitors free general admission during the museum’s public hours. This also includes public and curator tours.

“It is part of the MCA’s priority to be an integral part of our community,” said Erika Hanner, director of education for the MCA. “It’s a natural relationship between the MCA and our fantastic art schools in the city. We’re excited to add Columbia to[the partnership].”

Hanner said she’s thrilled to be deepening the museum’s relationship with Columbia.

Students also receive discounted prices on special performances and discussions not included with general admission.

The MCA has college partnerships with the School of the Art Institute at Chicago and the University of Chicago.

If Columbia actively participates in the offer and takes advantage of the deal, Love said the college may extend the partnership in 2011.

The museum will keep a tally of visitors from Columbia and share the information with the college.

“I’m hoping because this is without charge [to the students, faculty and staff] that it will encourage people to take advantage of the MCA,” Love said. “It’s a wonderful institution. So we’re hoping this will take away that financial barrier, so the college can use it for both cultural enrichment and educational purposes.”

The Theater Department recently worked with the MCA on the production of “The Astronaut’s Birthday” at the Redmoon Theater.

“[The partnership] will only consolidate the relationship between Columbia and the MCA,” said Theater Department Chair John Green. “Given that [Columbia’s] mission is to educate students to be arbiters of change in the arts, and the MCA is all about cutting edge presentations in the art, both in terms of fine art and performance. It is the

perfect partner.”

College faculty who bring their classes to the MCA have been using departmental budget money to purchase tickets for admission, but now they can save the money for other uses, according to Love.

Green said the Theater Department will be taking full advantage of the offer.

“Our design students will be there, and our acting and directing students will be there,” Green said. “It’s like the best of all museums; it’s a place

of inspiration.”

The college is also working on future collaborations with the MCA.

“[The MCA is] very interested in our Critical Encounters program,” Love said. “They’re thinking of doing their programming to be a little more thematic because we have an 1 theme this year. Our Center for Teaching Excellence is going to meet with them, so that’s another example of how we’re going to work closely with

the museum.”

The Museum of Contemporary Art is open Tuesday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m., and Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.