Students craft items at Tarble After Hours

Austen Brown, Staff Reporter

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Tarble’s After Hours party went down smoothly Thursday night, despite low numbers of attendees.

According to Tim Abel, the museum’s education manager who has been coordinating After Hours since fall of 2018, the number of guests in attendance was about half of what it has been in previous semesters.

“About 30-ish (guests attended), but we usually see about 70 to 75,” Abel said.

“I always like to see the (museum) bustling with people … but I’m happy to see this many people actually doing stuff,” Abel said.

People in attendance spent the evening making T-shirts and banners, playing video games on a projector in the atrium, listening to music and eating free pizza courtesy of the museum staff.

Abel said guests who made banners at the party typically made one of three types of banner – protest, power, and statement.

He said all three types of banners serve the purpose of sending a message to the viewer.

Mickayla Upton, a sophomore digital media major, was one of the students in attendance who made a banner.

Upton’s banner featured a rainbow backdrop, reminiscent of an LGBT pride flag, with the words, “love your LGBT kids or I will” across the canvas.

She said she is trying to spread a message of LGBT acceptance to those who view the banner.

She said no one should be denied acceptance by family or friends because of their sexuality or gender.

Upton said as an EIU PRIDE member she believes gay and transgender acceptance on campus is not a problem, but she thinks society as a whole needs to work on being more comfortable in accepting LGBT people.

“I think in general society has a lot of work to do,” Upton said. “We have a long way to come, especially older people.”

“Acceptance (is) something that needs to improve. We need to accept people, even though they’re different than you. Maybe you don’t understand it, but that doesn’t make it less valid,” she said. “Recognize people’s differences, but don’t make that who they are … and realize that they’re people too.”

Jeong Kim, a senior graphic design major, and Michael Otzwirk, a junior geography major, worked on a T-shirt at the event.

The shirt they were working on read “vox populi” in black on the front and said “Museum Punk” in a cascade of graffiti-like letters of different hues down the back.

The message, “vox populi,” translates from Latin to “voice of the people,” a phrase recently popularized by Russian artist Rachel Monosov, but which also has roots in Zimbabwe’s recent history.

Otzwirk said Monosov drew attention to the phrase via her art installation in the middle of a farm, which sat in an otherwise empty field.

“She did it for the symbolism,” Otzwirk said, “because the voice of the people was kind of meaningless (in Zimbabwe) because the population wasn’t really listened to during their voting cycle.”

According to an article by an anonymous writer for The Patriot titled “‘Vox populi, vox Dei’: Voice of the people is the voice of God,” the aforementioned phrase was used by Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa to affirm the people of his country that their social presence has power, even under an oppressive government.

Kim said the latter phrase is Tarble’s slogan for this semester.

“We have pins and badges of (the slogan),” Kim said.

She said the phrase was coded onto the screen used to make tee shirts for the event so students can make shirts sporting the museum’s slogan.

Otzwirk and Kim said making their shirt had been a lengthy process, as it had taken them almost two hours to complete the process.

Abel said attendees had a chance to admire the art exhibitions the museum has to offer.

“We had people walking through all the exhibitions, so it’s really nice to have this party atmosphere but also have the galleries open,” he said.

Austen Brown can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].