I’m going to take a moment to stray away, a bit, from the topics of education, technology, or the Common Core and talk about a visit my wife and I took to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts that was really different for me. We went to see the free form blown glass work of Dale Chihuly that was on exhibit. As you can see from the photo of his artwork, the pieces of glass he creates are quite unique and beautiful, but that’s not what made the exhibit so different for me. It was the fact that all of the visitors to this exhibit could take, were even encouraged to take, photographs. A friendly sign at the opening of the exhibit even gave us hashtags to help us post our photos (#chihuly). This openness made the whole exhibit more enjoyable for me. I could sense the excitement in the crowd as people mingled about admiring his work and taking photographs.
I do wonder a bit why we were allowed to take photographs when it is usually prohibited in an art exhibition, especially if it is the featured traveling show. I can definitely see benefits to the museum and the artist. Taking and sharing photos made the experience more social for me. It made the museum more inviting without guards tapping me on the shoulder if I dare to touch my smartphone. Dale Chihuly surely benefits from the photos as well, because we are all spreading the word about him. (See, I even posted a link to his web site in the first paragraph of this post!) My visit to Chihuly’s exhibit was all-in-all a very pleasurable experience and I left with thoughts of Chihuly and of the benefits of sharing.