ELMS: Attend a lecture outside the classroom

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The Haggerty Museum of Art offers an extensive permanent collection along with ever-changing exhibits. But in addition to the art hanging on its walls, the museum also hosts an array of guest speakers each year.

I know what you’re thinking: You’ve been running from class to class all day and the last thing you want to do is sit through another lecture, so why should you care? But what’s so great about these talks is you are guaranteed to learn something new, and they are voluntary and free.

The Haggerty is one of the most underutilized resources at Marquette. I’m so happy when I see professors incorporating the Haggerty’s exhibitions into their course curriculums – as a student, I appreciate a little variety in my classes – but the Marquette community is still not taking enough advantage of the museum’s resources. Many seniors have never stepped inside its doors, and plenty of freshmen don’t even know it exists.

None of the guest lectures are about things you’ll be able to learn in any of your classes at Marquette, and it’s nice to go to something of your own volition, not because a professor is forcing you to (although I hear some do offer extra credit if you go, depending on the subject matter).

I enjoy going to these talks simply because they offer such a welcome change of pace. I am grateful we live on a campus with such easy access to art and events like these, despite the fact that Marquette is missing an art department (even more reason for students to take advantage of the museum).

Next Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m., the Haggerty is hosting a lecture by local artists Reginald Baylor and Mark Brautigam, whose works are both featured in the museum’s fantastic exhibition “Current Tendencies II.” The exhibit showcases work from 10 Milwaukee artists, and if you haven’t done so already you should really go take a look. I still haven’t decided which piece is my favorite — that’s how good they all are.

Baylor works with a variety of media, and many of his prints and paintings have been exhibited nationally and featured in publications throughout the Midwest. Brautigam is a photographer and Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design alum and was a 2009 Mary L. Nohl Fellowship Emerging Artist finalist. His first major project, “On Wisconsin,” was completed last year and put on display at the Tory Folliard Gallery in the Third Ward.

This talk is an excellent opportunity for students to not only learn about art in general but to hear firsthand about what artists in the Milwaukee community are working on. Marquette prides itself on being in touch with the community, and this is an easy way for students to connect with people living and working in the same city they are.

I expect the two will talk about their work, the exhibition and possibly the life of an artist in general, but what is fun about these lectures is you never know quite what direction they will take, especially if the audience brings a lot of questions. And if you find yourself even more curious, there is the opportunity to chat one-on-one with the artists at a reception after the talk.

I’ve been to several of these lectures in the past, and I can tell you they are well worth your time, especially as a student. I’ve learned about how 100-year-old masterpieces are restored, about outside artists from Africa and about using art as the basis for community outreach.

You might not think it, but I bet you can find at least one aspect of the talk that relates to you. And if you’ve never been to the Haggerty, this is the perfect opportunity to see what it’s all about. So take a chance on a lecture that’s outside the classroom. I’ll see you there!

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