Annual Costume Party signals Museum’s increasing appeal

As per tradition, the Colby College Museum of Art celebrated Halloween with a full night of festivities on Thursday, October 29 with their annual Museum Costume Party. 

Whether they were children from the local Waterville community, Colby students, or parents visiting for Family Homecoming weekend, almost 200 people filled the William D. Adams Gallery last Thursday night and celebrated the spookiest night of the year through fun, food, and art.

The night’s events ranged from costume contests to scavenger hunts and more. The fun  kicked off at 6 p.m. with mingling, music, food, and drink provided in the Museum lobby for students, faculty, and members of the general public. In addition, there was also a spooky scavenger hunt, which featured four art pieces from a number of the galleries. The prize for completing the hunt was a post card from the museum. Costumes were judged from 7 to 8 p.m., and the winners were announced at the end of the night.

While the party has featured a number of creative costumes in recent years, this year featured a particularly exciting batch of costumes. Some of the most compelling costumes of the night included a convincing Dwight Schrute from the NBC series The Office holding a beet from his beet farm. Linde Family Foundation Coordinator of School and Teacher Programs Margaret Aiken dressed as a constellation named “Constellation Margaret.” Donned in a black onesie with Christmas lights stitched into it, Aiken lit up any part of the gallery in which she was standing. Aiken said she was “inspired by Orion,” but rather than sporting a belt of stars, she wore a belt filled with 24 AA batteries.

unnamed-4Other art-themed costumes spotted throughout the night included a group of four Colby students dressed as Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych. All four girls were dressed in black from head to toe and held a rendering of Marilyn Monroe’s face in different neon color schemes. Apparently their work, unlike Warhol’s, only took 20 minutes to produce.

Another pair of Colby students came dressed as the iconic modern art piece Palindrome #1 by Glenn Ligon. Wearing all black, with lights carefully stitched into their blouses, the girls recreated the art piece with the iconic phrase, “FACE ME I FACE YOU.” The costume was particularly relevant as it is currently on display at the Colby Museum.

A group of students from Waterville Junior High School also came out for the festivities.  They were dressed as Harley Quinn, La Katrina, and a teenage girl from the colonial times. Additionally, kindergarteners from Windsor Elementary School came dressed as a kitty and a zombie cheerleader.

Other party-goers, including Miranda Shao ’19 and her dorm mates, came dressed as Snow White, a cat, and a Greek goddess. According to Shao, of all the costumes on display that night she “found the swamp monster to be most interesting”.

The costume competition began at 7 p.m. and was divided into three categories: children, group, and most artistic. A little girl dressed as a purple princess won the children’s section while a group of three boys dressed as art thieves won the group section. The winner of the individual category was a ghoul, wearing a white mask and black cape.

Of the winners in the group category, Caroline Ferguson ’17  said Jesse Jentura’s ’16 costume was especially well done. She said, “He was wearing gloves, and was holding a painting so that it looked like he had just stolen it from the museum. I thought that was a really funny costume.”

Ferguson said, “This was my first one. I thought it was great. I really enjoyed it.”

“It was awesome to see the variety of people who attended and the different creative costumes people threw together,” she continued. “Everyone was jiving together.”

While curators and staff members at the Museum have previously noted the academic value of the Museum, the costume party is another reminder of the integral role the Museum has begun to play as a social space.  In hosting these events, the Museum has further increased their contribition to  the cultural fabric on campus, adapting dynamically with Colby’s changing social environment. Along with a number of events held throughout the year—and certainly with the the recent addition of the cafe in the lobby—the Museum positions itself as a space for students, faculty, and outside community members to come together.   For those who attended, it appears to have been a particularly artful Halloween, indeed.