In a previous blog, I outlined how my academic concentration has changed during my four semesters at Princeton, transitioning from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering to Politics. However, Princeton has also influenced my personal interests, including my appreciation for art.
Though I’ve always enjoyed making art and I’ve been drawing since childhood, that was the extent of my interest. I didn’t care much for art museums, art books or even talking about art. In particular, I didn’t understand what the big deal was about the Princeton University Art Museum. It amused me that all the visitors to campus seemed to want to visit the museum, possibly the place students visit the least. This began to change after I took Visual Arts (VIS204) “Painting I” in the spring of my first year. Over the course of that semester, I visited the art museum several times for class assignments, gradually developing a greater appreciation for it.
The next semester, I resolved to go to the museum more often, with the ambitious goal of visiting once a week. This was a challenge; I still didn’t know very much about art and had a hard time appreciating all of the galleries. In late fall, however, Nature’s Nation went on exhibit (a collection of American art focused on the environment). I began to go to the museum quite often, hoping to examine everything in the exhibition before it moved to another location. While I had always enjoyed landscapes and more traditional depictions of nature, the exhibit also included styles of art I was less familiar with, which I began to grow more curious about.
When the exhibit left, I continued to visit the museum, exploring sections I had passed over before. I found a few friends who were also interested in the museum or volunteered there, and I began to visit it with them. Though I never expected it, going to the art museum is now a highlight of each month at Princeton, and I plan to continue visiting for the rest of my time here—even if it’s not always once a week.