Before the Opening: What You Should Know About ‘You Like This’

Last spring, the Museum called for the community’s help in curating an upcoming exhibition. Now fall is here and it’s time to see the end result in the exhibition You Like This: A Democratic Approach to the Museum Collection. But before you see the art, there are some things you’ll want to know about this special exhibition.

The process began about six months ago with an idea to “crowdsource” an exhibition. The crowdsourcing phenomenon uses large groups of people to create new ideas and projects. The first step for our process was to create an initial survey to decide which types of art and artists the Fargo – Moorhead community calls their favorites. Museum staff worked with a group of community members to narrow down the works of art to a more manageable number using the guidelines from the initial survey. After that, the public voted again in a final survey we posted online in July. Then, we called back the community curators after the final selections were made to choose how the works will be displayed when You Like This opens.

The last two community curating meetings were spent discussing general layout ideas like color choices, framing, and organization of the art. Curators liked the idea that the voting and interaction with the exhibition didn’t stop at the opening, so they brainstormed ways to take in more votes. During the exhibition, visitors are encouraged to interact with You Like This in a few different ways:

  • Ballot boxes in the gallery will allow you to vote up or down on specific works of art;
  • A comment wall in the gallery will capture your thoughts on the exhibition or specific works of art;
  • Interactions through Facebook and Twitter will allow you to connect with others and leave comments;
  • An email address is available for you to send your thoughts and comments.

To hear more from our community curators, check out a short video of what they thought of the You Like This process.

You can probably tell that technology played a large role in this process, and it really has! The Museum learned a lot of interesting things by analyzing the data we collected, and technology also makes it easy for us all to communicate and discuss our opinions.  If  you don’t have a mobile device to use in the gallery, don’t worry – we’ll have a form you can take home so you can respond at your convenience.  After we’ve generated enough comments and votes, the polls will be re-evaluated and each piece’s ranking will change according to the results.

The You Like This opening reception will be 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6 in the Jane L. Stern Gallery and will have refreshments, cash bar, and music by local ambient-rock group Opinions About Dinosaurs. Admission is free for members, $10 for nonmembers and $5 for students.