Special access to Chicago’s world-class art museum
Beloit College has a unique partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago that gives students free access to the museum, along with a variety of other benefits, including exclusive guided tours, reduced membership fees for students and faculty, and access to “Jobs at Art Museums” events, focused on career opportunities for students.
In November, about 40 students from three Beloit classes left campus for the renowned art museum in downtown Chicago. While Professor Kristin Labby’s chemistry class toured the Ferguson Imaging Lab, where they studied how to determine the age of paintings using the paint’s chemical makeup, Professor Gabriela Cerghedean’s AMP and Professor Ellen Joyce’s Medieval Mediterranean History classes took a tour with lecturer P.D. Young of the museum’s Baroque and Renaissance artwork collections.
Students saw many paintings from different disciplines and time periods, starting with Diego Velazquez’s 1618 painting Kitchen Scene, which depicts a woman in a kitchen surrounded by various articles of kitchenware. The scene is bathed in a soft morning light from an unseen window or doorway, using a technique called chiaroscuro, which was especially popular in the 17th century.
Students were guided to several other works of art, from The Assumption of the Virgin by El Greco to medieval weaponry, before it was time for lunch.
After lunch, students returned to the Art Institute to wander without a tour guide.
India David’25, one of the students who went on the trip with Joyce’s class, said she enjoyed the event. “The Art Institute of Chicago is a hugely well-respected museum, and has tons of great art, but I’ve never gotten to look around before, so it was cool to finally get to do that.”
This is not the first day trip Beloit has organized through the program. In spring 2022, students from several Career Channels participated in Career Trek, a day-long trip to several institutions, including the Art Institute.
“I think it’s great!” said Jared Saathoff’24 about the program. “It allows students to travel to the Art Institute of Chicago and get inspired by some of the great works of art throughout history free of charge. I hope this program is just the beginning, and Beloit College can enter similar programs with other museums in the future.”