Danielle Schulz

Ethan Newman and Colton Jansyek take advantage of the free photo booth set up at the biannual Blanton Museum’s Student Fest.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Howeth | Daily Texan Staff

The Blanton Museum of Art was filled with Old West spirit Thursday as museum patrons took part in various cowboy-themed activities.

At the biannual Student Fest, museum staff came together with the Blanton Student Guild and various campus art organizations to present a free day of activities, food, offerings and exhibits for the general public. The event sported an Old West theme, and activities included student-led tours of the museum, an interactive crossword puzzle and word search, an outdoor photo booth managed by the Texas Photography Club and performances by UT’s Conjunto Ensemble, a band that played music with south Texas origins and Spitshine Poetry, a campus poetry-reading organization.

“The museum hopes to be more conducive to the Austin community’s needs in the future and is holding events like this one to gain more knowledge about public interest, get the public more involved and raise attendance,” said Danielle Schulz, graduate student and University program coordinator at the Blanton Museum of Art.

Joel Guzman, specialist in the Sarah and Ernest School of Music Endowment and instructor of UT’s Conjunto Ensemble, said he was delighted to have his band participate and sees major value in the museum’s work.

“The Blanton is representative of all things important in the art world,” Guzman said. “That also includes forms of art like music and poetry, and I see it as a real advantage that the Blanton has decided to showcase these other art forms through this event. I hope they will continue to grow.”

The event developed as a replacement of Student MIX, a similar event sponsored solely by the Blanton Student Guild held in previous years, Schulz said. Schulz said the event did not garner as much attention as Student Fest because they did not have the resources to market it.

“We wanted to take the event and make it more widely known,” she said. “By putting the full power of the Blanton behind this event, we were able to use the Blanton’s PR and marketing professionals and really get the word out.”

Kate Stark, graduate student and event attendee, said the museum and events like Student Fest bring together the campus and the Austin community.

“It brings people to campus that wouldn’t normally come here,” she said. “This way, it helps make UT a part of the community.”

Samantha Youngblood, UT alumnus and PR and marketing manager for The Blanton Museum of Art, said the museum’s exhibits are a great way of sharing the University’s efforts with the public.

“The Blanton acts as a sort of bridge between the Austin and UT communities,” she said. “We’re here to serve them both and are very open to their ideas.”

Printed on Friday, April 6, 2012 as: Blanton Museum event hosts campus, community