MEDIUM Workshop with Jonah Bokaer

Carolina Performing Arts Mellon DisTIL (Discovery Through Iterative Learning) Fellow, Tunisian-American dancer and choreographer Jonah Bokaer will be on campus next week and is hosting a free workshop for the UNC community. This is a movement-based workshops broadly focused on identity exploration and introducing mind+body awareness into academic spaces.

Date and Time: Friday, November 15th from 3-5 PM
Location: Ackland Art Museum, ART& Space (101 S Columbia St, Chapel Hill, NC 27599)

You are welcome to join for as little or long as you’d like! This workshop is intended to bring each of us an increased awareness of our own mind+body as we progress through academia and continue developing our sense of self.

RSVP: If you are interested in joining, please fill out this RSVP form to confirm your attendance.

More details on the workshop:

Jonah Bokaer and collaborators designed a free series of Workshops for UNC Students, Faculty, Staff, and Community Members who wish to improve “everyday performance” skills, including physical awareness, public speaking, performance lectures, and “whole self awareness” for Academics, Artists, and Administrators alike. The workshops are free, accessible, and with no prior performance history required.

Built from a project uplifting Middle Eastern and North African identity in the world of the performing arts, M.E.D.I.U.M. will take place over a series of five weeks in the 2019-2020 Academic year, will be hosted by Jonah Bokaer and his collaborator, dancer Hala Shah, at various locations across UNC’s campus. 

To learn more about Bokaer’s DisTIL Fellowship:

A secondary component of the free workshops is to enhance diversity in performance and identity exploration at UNC Chapel Hill, within a safe space, open to all racial, ethnic, gender, intellectual, and sexual identities. The workshops were developed over 1 year of dialogue on campus, including several community gatherings at the Center for Middle East Studies, and with experts in Sociology.

The event is designed to be easily accessible, positive — and transformational. Street clothing as-is, and footwear as-is, shall be fine.

Department of Art and Art History Graduate Symposium

Art and Art History Graduate Symposium


Coordinated by the Art Student Graduate Organization and co-sponsored by the Department of Art and Art History, Department of Classics, Department of Romance Studies, and The Graduate and Professional Student Federation.

Community: Public, Private, Patron, & Spectator

Join us for this day-long, interdisciplinary exploration of the interrelations between community and art-making. In the Ackland Art Museum’s Art& space, Graduate students from UNC and universities from across the US will present and discuss new research touching on ways in which material objects manifest collective values and shape perceptions of identity among disparate audiences.

Through a series of panel presentations, discussions, and a culminating keynote address, gathered attendees and presenters will ask together: How do works of art create dialogues between and within communities?

Keynote address by Dr. Peter Chametzky, Professor of Art History in the School of Visual Art & Design at the University of South Carolina.

Please find the final program schedule here.

Registration is required, but registrants need not be there for the whole day. Please RSVP below!

Student Showcase

Please join us at the Ackland for our Spring 2019 STUDENT SHOWCASE featuring presentations from UNC-Chapel Hill students in a variety of disciplines including

Art History
Asian Studies
Creative Writing
and more!

Free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Reintroducing Ackland Upstairs

By Elizabeth Manekin, Head of University Programs & Academic Projects, Ackland Art Museum

Ackland Upstairs is a space where the University community and broader public can come together and ask questions about art. Formerly called the Study Gallery, Ackland Upstairs displays works of art that directly engage with learning objectives of courses at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Students and faculty from diverse disciplines investigate research questions using the works on view here, whether in class sessions held in the gallery or through individual study. In each of the gallery’s six sections, there is brief information about the course and its approach to the art on view. There is also a question posed for the students’—and your – consideration.

While the function of the space has not changed for the courses that shape its content, the change in title reflects a deeper shift in how we hope to engage the public. The questions that frame the University class visits are amplified on the walls of each installation for all to see. From “What is a line and what does it do?” to “In what ways can art be both modern and traditional?” these questions prompt us to consider what art is, what it does, and how it fits in to our experience and understanding of the world. Big questions.

I am particularly excited about this shift, and look forward to experimenting with different approaches in Ackland Upstairs. University museums are uniquely poised to have dynamic and interdisciplinary conversations about art. We do that in our teaching all the time and public programs, which are ephemeral; if you aren’t present for the discussion you miss it entirely. How do we engage members of the public in these discussions through our physical display?

Ackland Upstairs can be a laboratory to think through those ideas with students, faculty, and members of the community. Right now, that means there are questions on the walls. Next semester, it might mean something different. It rotates every eight weeks, so there is always something new to see and think about. The next round of installations goes on view October 17th. Come and see what’s Upstairs!

The Ackland through Young Eyes

K-12 tours are a vital part of the Ackland Art Museum’s community outreach. Interactive in nature, they engage students in interdisciplinary activities outside of the classroom. Please visit to learn more or request a tour. 

Bill Cosby’s late ’90s television show “Kids Say the Darndest Things” may be off the air now, but I felt like an audience member when I observed a group of kindergartners taking a tour at the Ackland. They came to learn about different art forms—and definitely weren’t lacking in funny, yet intuitive, comments.

They all gathered on the floor, sitting “criss-cross applesauce” and wide eyed, admiring the art from the Ackland’s permanent collection. The girls donned bright patterns and bows in their hair, and the boys were sporting superhero shirts and tennis shoes.

It came as no surprise that the art work that garnered the most attention was a colorful, contemporary IMG_1318 (1)piece by Hans Hofmann. The Ackland docent leading the group asked the inquisitive kids what objects they saw in the picture. They all raised their hands, waiting to be called on. At first, they remarked on the bright colors and shapes that resembled animals and mountains, but their comments quickly took a different turn.

One boy enthusiastically raised his hand, bouncing up and down, until he was called on.

“Um… there’s a Hans in ‘Frozen’!”

And then came the squeals of excitement. Surprisingly, there is not a big difference between a group of 5-year-olds talking about “Frozen” and a group of 21-year-olds talking about “Frozen.” There will always be one trying to out-do Idina Menzel by belting “Let it Go” at the top of their lungs, and one repeatedly asking if anyone wants to build a snowman. Needless to say, I’ve never felt more connected to a kindergartner.

DSC00317On their tour, the group also went back in time and learned about Hercules, another one of my all-time favorite Disney movies. They sat quietly as they listened to tales of Hercules’ battles and admired an ancient Greek pot he was depicted on. The kindergartners even decorated their own pots on paper. The kids put a modern twist on themes in ancient pottery and drew modern day superheroes.

Watching their eyes light up as they explored each gallery made me smile and think back to when I was their age. Visiting the Ackland is a great opportunity for young minds to explore and engage in hands-on activities, all while having fun.

Fear Not the Blue Border: Mix and Mingle at the Nasher!

Though Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have a long-standing rivalry, students are coming together at the universities’ respective art museums to go “beyond blue borders.” Two collaborative parties—designed for students from both universities—are upon us, hosted by two world-class art museums in the Triangle area.

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Carolina Students: Make the Ackland YOURS!


Carolina students at the opening reception for “The Sahmat Collective,” September 12, 2013. Photo: Briana Brough

As the Ackland Art Museum’s director of academic programs, I’m blogging to tell you that because the Ackland is the University’s art museum, it’s your art museum. This is a great time to check out all the ways that you can be involved with the Ackland, making memories, meeting great people, enjoying art, and having fun! Continue reading