WAM Collective: Bridging the gap between student and museum

WAM Collective plans various events to bring students into the galleries and gauge interest in the museum’s work.

Junior Patrick Griffin guards the galleries on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016 at the Weisman Art Museum on East Bank.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Junior Patrick Griffin guards the galleries on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016 at the Weisman Art Museum on East Bank.

Maddy Folstein

Despite its location at one of the biggest intersections on campus, the Weisman Art Museum is often overlooked by students. University of Minnesota student group, WAM Collective, is working to end that problem.

“I think that [WAM Collective] really benefits both the student body and the museum,” said Elise Armani, a University of Minnesota senior studying studio art, Gender, Women and Sexuality studies and art history. “It’s very easy to spend four years on campus and not go inside the museum. It’s also very easy for staff to go right to their office and not interact with students.”

Armani serves as the group’s blog chair. She worked with the Weisman before becoming a part of WAM collective.

“I actually interned in the education department at the Weisman, so I was exposed to the programs and had a desire to get involved,” Armani said.

Throughout the school year, WAM Collective plans various events to bring students into the galleries and gauge interest in the work that the museum is showcasing.

“We have a monthly study night that’s always on a Wednesday. We open up our Riverview Gallery and we have Radio K do some DJing. We provide snacks and study resources,” Armani said. “People are welcome to come study in the museum until 8:00 [p.m.].”

The collective also partners with other departments and student groups on campus.

“We have an annual design showcase where we partner with a class in the School of Design. They actually design runway garments in collaboration with one of our exhibits,” Armani said. “We have a big fashion show through one of the galleries, with students modeling the designs.”

On Jan. 18, the WAM Collective hosted an Open Mic night with a focus on mental health and stress relief.

“[This event] was a collaboration with Active Minds, a mental health group,” Armani said. “It was just a really open space where people were sharing poetry and music, so I think it went really well.”

For those interested in the industry, WAM Collective encourages creative networking. Their “Bring Your Own Business Card” event serves as a starting point.

“I think the biggest thing [I’ve gained] is an opportunity to work in a serious way with professionals in the community,” Armani said. “You get to see ideas put into action.”