Eric Vaughn ’11- Hello all, my name is Eric Vaughn and I am a senior at Wabash College. Who would have thought that by my senior year at Wabash College I would be a valuable asset on a student run team to develop the necessary foundations for a museum project that is done in only one place in the United States? I mean, I started out as the stereotypical biology (this is too hard) major who switched to an English (that’s much better) major by my sophomore year. Wabash has certainly challenged me in many ways I had never imagined over the years. I have grown more in four years than a Giant Sequoia could in 2,000. Keep in mind that the comparison is relative.
As a break from the intensive rigors of science, I took some art classes during my freshman and sophomore year so that I could freely express with my brain for once instead of repressing and recording. I learned that art’s expression can provide great insight into an individual’s unique perspective. For example, a chair was placed in the center of the room. We all had the same type of paper and pencil to draw with. So the pictures really couldn’t be that different. However, everyone saw the chair from a different angle. The lighting was different depending on the viewer’s orientation as well so the shadows fell a different way on each depiction. One must also consider the artist’s ability to capture an image and translate it into a work of art.
There is so much that goes into developing a piece that it is amazing we can ever find time to focus on our own interpretation of someone else’s work. With such insight I became fascinated by art history. I even thought of minoring in the subject. I was struck by the difficulty and value of learning about a culture through its art. In many ways, art says just as much as literature, it’s just a different medium. I took an African Art History class with Dr. Morton at the end of my sophomore year. We researched various artworks, wrote short descriptions of them, arranged them on a display case and presented them to the college as though we had our own museum. I had so much fun in that class. I saw this class being offered this semester during my senior year and couldn’t wait to do it again.
However, instead of setting up the displays, we are in charge of developing the TAPP Tour program which features an iTouch that the museum will loan out to people attending the event. Each iTouch features either video or audio tracks that will tell about individual or groups of art works to gain a more personalized insight than what one may get by merely looking at the cards outside the display cases. The most exciting part is that I know there is additional information included in the TAPP Tour than is on the display because I’m one of the people doing the research! I have been told that the IMA is one of the only museums to feature the TAPP Tour and I am forever grateful to be a part of such a unique program as merely a senior in college. On top of that, the event we are presenting for is regarded as one of the most exciting to hit the U.S. in years — Dynasy and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria. This exhibit is astounding because the people of Yoruba are the only group in the world to claim that the birthplace of the world started in one of their own cities — Ife. This is truly and exciting project to be a part of and I can’t wait to get further absorbed in the pure “awesomeness” of this project!