Art Museum Student Organization

I have been part of the Art Museum Student Organization (AMSO) board since the fall semester.  I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Co-Presidents, Hayley Prihoda and Hayley Trezzo to ask them about the organization and their involvement.

How did you two get involved in AMSO?

Hayley Prihoda: I got involved in January of 2011 when AMSO had just become an official organization at IU. I attended an initial meeting and, based on my enthusiasm for the group, was elected into the position of Membership Director. Over the course of the semester, the board worked to write our constitution and finalize AMSO’S slogan, goals, and mission. In the fall of 2011, we put on our first event, Art After Dark, and continued to build our membership. 250 students attended Art After Dark – making it the largest student-based event ever had at the museum. Based on this success, Hayley Trezzo and I were excited to accept the position of Co-Presidents last semester.

Hayley Trezzo: I got involved in AMSO before the fall of 2011 because the organization needed a treasurer for Art After Dark. The position kind of fell in my lap and I quickly got very involved in the organization.

Coming into this year, what were your hopes and goals for AMSO?

Hayley Prihoda: Basically, we want to provide a communication link between the museum and the students at IU. We want to strengthen this relationship because the museum is such a good resource for our campus, yet it often seems exclusively used by students who are in Arts Administration or the School of Fine Arts.

Hayley Trezzo: We also wanted to engage with the Bloomington community and provide more opportunities for students to network.  Since Hayley and I became Co-Presidents, we have focused on providing more lectures and gallery tours. We also wanted to focus on the arts community in general instead of just the IU Art Museum. We thought it would be a good idea to branch out through academic events, like an upcoming event at the Pictura Gallery.

Hayley Prihoda: We also wanted our members to feel like they were participating instead of just volunteering. We are trying to accomplish this by having committees for our events and by having a very involved board.

What are you most excited for about the upcoming AMSO events?

Hayley Trezzo:  Well, first we have our Chinese New Year event on February 6th from 5-7 pm. A lot of other organizations take part in Chinese celebrations, but we want to focus on the visual arts of the Chinese New Year. We collaborated with the Chinese Calligraphy Club and they will be doing a demonstration to help people make the Chinese luck symbol. Participants will have the opportunity to create their own paper-cut zodiac signs.  The East Asian Studies Center is also presenting information on Chinese culture.  We will have traditional Chinese snacks provided by Chow Bar and Angles Café and Gift Shop will be providing teas.

Hayley Prihoda: I am personally very excited for this year’s Art After Dark event, which will be on February 20, from 7-9 pm.  We partnered with BCEC to bring in multiple bands (An Argo, Pretty Boy Freud, Keeping Cars, and Square Peg Round Hole). Two bands will be performing at the same time, one in the gallery and the other in the atrium, so that visitors can have a taste of both bands. There will also be a tour and a scavenger hunt with prizes.  Angles Café and Gift Shop will be providing hot chocolate, Italian sodas, and desserts and will be offering 20% off on all their merchandise for the night. Both events should be a lot of fun for our members and the public!

Upcoming AMSO Events:

Look out for call-outs for AMSO’s Student Art Auction!  Submissions will be accepted now until February 15th. AMSO will not only be displaying the pieces at the IUAM, but will also be creating an online exhibition! Student artists will receive 50% of all the proceeds. The Student Art Auction will be April 10, 2013 from 5-7pm.

If you are interested in getting involved with AMSO, email to join the mailing list. Be sure to like Art Museum Student Organization on Facebook and follow @IUAMSO on Twitter for more info!


Q&A with Docent Justina Yee

Justina Yee with students during a tour of the museum

I interviewed Justina Yee, a docent for the Indiana University Art Museum, and got answers about what exactly a docent does, how they contribute to a museum’s success, and how you can get involved:

ARTFROMALLANGLES: What is a docent?

YEE: A teacher.

Docents were popularized in the early 1900’s by Benjamin Ives Gilman, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts’ former director, to teach and guide the public about art.  Docents are trained volunteers who teach the public about the museum and its collections by giving tours that cover works of art through formal analysis (things like line, color, form) but also through interpretation (such as understanding narrative, connections to history, cultural context, etc.)

ARTFROMALLANGLES: Why is being a docent with the IU Art Museum an awesome job to have?

YEE: The IU Art Museum has an exploratory approach to teaching the public about its collection:

“Docents do not stand in front of a work of art and pontificate on it, nor does the docent repeat facts or ‘explain’ it.  Docents ask a lot of questions during tours and people learn about the work of art through discussion and visual discovery.  When people have questions, docents steer them to find the answer by looking and making connections to various topics in our culture, history, and life.  For me, this is a completely different way of teaching and learning.  Seeing people’s eyes light up and seeing their interest piqued by a work of art is an amazing feeling.  Art can be difficult to understand and museums can be very intimidating.  Most people are also accustomed to a rote learning style of memorization and repetitive tasks.  This style of learning really works and it’s really fun. I’m always laughing and learning something new during a tour and it’s incredibly rewarding.  Also, the museum’s encyclopedic collection is world class and one of the top university collections in the country!”

ARTFROMALLANGLES: How can I become a docent?

YEE: If you are outgoing, curious, responsible, and enthusiastic and have a love of art, teaching, learning, and interacting with people, then contact the IU Art Museum’s Education Department (headed by Ed Maxedon) to apply for the position.

After being accepted, becoming a docent requires intensive weekly training sessions for a full year.  Topics such as curriculum-structured programs, specific works of art, the building’s architecture, and the museum’s history are all covered in these intensive sessions so that the docent can be fully educated and accurately share with the public their knowledge.

Training continues throughout the fall and spring and focuses more on specific works of art, new curriculum programs, new acquisitions, special exhibitions, and much more; this type of training continues for as long as you remain a docent so that you can stay current in the ever-changing world of the museum.

Classes start September 17, 2012

Contact Ed Maxedon, Education Curator, by email at