Fitzwilliam Museum Society President Coralie Malissard and Social Media Manager and Designer Lizzie Marx talk to Anastasia Bow-Bertrand about their respective roles and the society’s upcoming ‘Love Art After Dark’ event.
How did you get involved with the Fitzwilliam Museum Society?
Coralie was Vice President last year and had ambitious plans to further develop the Society – Lizzie wanted to join the bandwagon and thought there was potential for creating a real social hub. Additionally, as art historians, we were lucky to see parts of the Fitz that are usually hidden from the public, and we wanted to give other students the opportunity to get hands-on with works of art.
Where did your interest in art come from?
Coralie’s great grandfather was a sculptor, so she’s always been surrounded by art. Lizzie’s family have an artistic background too: they work in the fancy dress and fashion industry.
Why are art and the Fitzwilliam Museum Society important to you?
We think that the art scene in Cambridge is too scattered and subordinated by the predominance of the music and drama scenes. Last year we sponsored a student-run exhibition, and in two years we’ve tripled the number of events.
What's the most unusual aspect of your role?
Becoming museum stewards for the day when we filmed our promo video for Love Art After Dark with free-lance filmmaker Nick Morris (watch this space!!).
OK, so what is ‘Love Art After Dark’ all about?
For one night only, the Fitz opens its doors to Cambridge students, kicking out the pensioners to make way for an evening of drinks, music, tours, workshops – and of course, art. It’s a perfect place to bring your Valentine’s date, or catch up with your friends over some complimentary wine.
What do you hope people will take away from ‘Love Art After Dark’?
We hope that students will see that there’s much more to the museum than its (scaffolded) neoclassical portico. It’s a bubble within the Cambridge bubble; it’s inspiring, and the collections range from Egyptian sarcophagi to contemporary installations.
What is your perspective on the genre and demographic of the art scene in Cambridge as a city generally?
Changing Spaces, a Cambridge-based project, aims to convert disused commercial spaces into pop-up exhibition spaces. If you’re a Cambridge creative, you should totally get in touch to put on your own show!
What is your favourite piece in the Fitz. Museum?
We’re torn between the awkward portrait of a man with a bit of a squint and bob haircut in Gallery 6, or the fleshy Self-portrait with Patricia Preece, by Stanley Spencer.
Why do you think that people get involved with the events you offer?
Because it’s a change from the day-to-day routine. It’s fun to be a tourist in your own city, and before joining, most people hadn’t been to the museum!
Would you be able to share any of your up-coming projects for the society?
We’ve got a very exciting activity for Love Art After Dark, which involves stepping into Stanley Spencer’s shoes (our lips are sealed!)
‘Love Art After Dark’ is taking place on 12th February, 6.30-8.30pm at the Fitzwilliam Museum. Members of the society are welcome to join at 5.45pm for a black tie champagne reception. Bring a guest for an additional £3. RSVP email@example.com before 10th February. The Facebook event can be found here.