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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Fine Arts

Blaffer breaks into digital age


In efforts to continue expanding beyond its museum walls, the Blaffer Art Museum has started a blog, ‘Blogging Blaffer,’ to spark conversation about contemporary art and culture largely — but not exclusively — about the museum’s past, current and future exhibitions and programs.

Blaffer’s Public Affairs Director Devon Britt-Darby, a former arts journalist for seven years, came up with the idea of “Blogging Blaffer” about a month ago when he first interviewed for the position.

Britt-Darby previously blogged for the Houston Chronicle and Arts+Culture Texas and said the role of a blogger came naturally to him.

“I loved the immediacy and versatility of the format. It lends itself both to quick documentary and to extended explorations of a topic,” Britt-Darby said.

“It’s a good format for making advanced artistic, art-historical and scholarly ideas accessible, just as many blogs do for scientific topics or other academic disciplines.”

During his time as an arts journalist, Britt-Darby said he admired the way some museums used blogs to “communicate informally with their audiences without dumbing down the conversation.”

“I think readers will use ‘Blogging Blaffer’ in different ways,” Britt-Darby said. “Some might use it to preview the show, since I’m including images and video clips of some of the works on view. Other people might use it to learn more about a particular artist who fascinated them — or whose work they didn’t get, for that matter. Somebody else might follow along as a way of thinking about how the different works relate to each other and to cities in the 21st century.”

Britt-Darby said he plans on using Blogging Blaffer to talk about the programming done outside of museum walls, like the “On Screen @ Blaffer” series bringing important film and video artists to Houston or the “Window into Houston” exhibitions at 110 Milam St. He said he thinks the blog will also be a useful way to break down artists’ work in a solo exhibition.

Blaffer’s Curator of Education Katherine Veneman said the blog has potential to improve tours by providing additional information.

“Blaffer offers free, guided tours led by knowledgeable (guides) who are arts professionals as well as UH graduate students in art, art history, and arts education,” Veneman said. “The blog offers an exciting resource for docents to continue dialogue about the exhibition during and beyond formal educational discussions — particularly, we have already taken advantage of the new Links feature.”

Construction management senior Darcy Gomez said she thinks the blog is a great way to connect with the youth of today’s generation.

“The blog helps modernize things,” Gomez said. “These days, we are all tech-savy. With the blog, students won’t have to be on campus and visit the museum to be be involved with Blaffer. The blog gives easy access to events and exhibitions at any given time simply by going online.”

Britt-Darby said he agrees, and hopes the blog will help clear any confusion.

“If people are ever confused about whether one of our lectures or screenings is at Blaffer or at another venue either on-campus or off, the blog will be a great place to check in,” Britt-Darby said.

Public relations senior Lorena Mendez, a former intern for Blaffer during a summer season, said she has high hopes for the new blog.

“I think the new blog will be a great way to keep students up to date on Blaffer and on the great exhibitions they have year round,” Mendez said. “I expect it to be successful and a great way to keep students connected.”

Check out “Blogging Blaffer” on Blaffer’s website.

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