Lights in the Dark

  • A screenshot of the Pittsburgh Glass Center's Google Arts & Culture page for the Light in Transmission exhibition. The image shows a wide view of the gallery brightly lit by the neon artworks with white text stating the name of the exhibition over the photo.
  • An image of my supervisor, Valerie Bundy, standing before a neon artwork in the Pittsburgh Glass Center's gallery. There is also a camera and laptop in front of her in order to communicate with the class via Zoom. Another employee stands behind the camera to help zoom in and out.
A screenshot of the Pittsburgh Glass Center's Google Arts & Culture page for the Light in Transmission exhibition. The image shows a wide view of the gallery brightly lit by the neon artworks with white text stating the name of the exhibition over the photo.

The front page for Light in Transmission story I designed on the Pittsburgh Glass Center's Google Arts & Culture page.

 

Lights in the Dark

CJ Dawson

Museum Studies Intern at the Pittsburgh Glass Center - Spring 2021

As we recently passed the one year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, museum spaces and galleries have found their footing and embraced new ways to safely engage with visitors. Many turned to digital resources, using livestreams and Zoom panels to offer virtual art events at home. My internship at the Pittsburgh Glass Center allowed me to reflect on my own remote experiences from the 2020-2021 school year to inform my contributions to their digital presence and assist with virtual gallery experiences for the opening of their neon and plasma exhibition titled LIT: Light in Transmission.

One of the largest projects I worked on throughout the semester was helping my supervisors Valerie Bundy and Paige Ilkhanipour translate artworks and exhibition narratives to the Pittsburgh Glass Center’s forthcoming Google Arts & Culture page. While I wasn’t familiar with Google’s digital architecture on the curator’s end, I recalled what virtual strategies worked best for me as a student and digital wanderer. I used this knowledge to guide how I arranged photographs and selected information for their stories on the Google Arts & Culture platform. It was an exciting process to be a part of, and building a relationship between the in-gallery Light in Transmission exhibition and its online counterpart was especially transformative. I enjoyed witnessing the unique experiences each realm could offer. While the Pittsburgh Glass Center’s gallery allows viewers to physically encounter the artworks and their characteristic neon glows, the digital space provides deeper insight to the artists’ processes and encourages further engagement with their works at the click of a button.

Despite the unfortunate but necessary restrictions on in-person activities at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, the affordances of virtual spaces opened up new avenues to engage with visitors of all ages. I created two Tiktoks for their new profile on the popular app by manipulating the Pittsburgh Glass Center’s high-quality footage as well as recording my own videos of the brightly lit artworks to capture viewers’ attention. I was also able to assist one of my supervisors, Valerie Bundy, with a middle school class’ virtual field trip to the Light in Transmission exhibition. This opportunity allowed me to witness how educators have adapted to current circumstances in order to continue to foster curiosity and creativity among students in inclusive ways. Whether through Zoom or Google Arts & Culture or Tiktok, my time at the Pittsburgh Glass Center was spent participating in ways their team has been sharing (neon) light in an otherwise dark historical moment.

Categories: 
  • Academic Interns
  • Undergraduate Work
  • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh