By Rachel Dragos
Since the creation of the weekly Peanut Butter and Jelly (PB&J) event at the Gund Gallery in the fall of 2012, the event has become an integral part of campus life for many students and faculty members. This year, the event was moved from Wednesday to Tuesday, to accommodate scheduling issues at the Gallery. Every Tuesday between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. the Gallery features a sandwich bar with over 25 different spreads, jams and jellies, as well as a weekly special topping. The event serves between 225 and 250 people on a weekly basis.
“The purpose of PB&J Tuesday is intimately linked to our mission to bring students and our campus community in the door so they may discover and be transformed by great art and learn about global visual cultures,” wrote Natalie Marsh, director of the Gund Gallery, in an email.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Marsh explained, are the perfect catalyst for the Gallery’s mission. “We can actually provide a fun food to people with a wide range of dietary concerns: kosher, diabetic, gluten-free, some nut allergies, organic-only, vegan and vegetarian.”
However, the sandwiches go beyond simply being a “fun food” to establish the Gund Gallery as a space of ease and accessibility for the community. “Peanut butter and jelly is a comfort food for most of us,” Marsh explained, “and is intended to lower the ﾑintimidation factor’ and snobby elitism often associated with museums.”
The event is also a way to get the community into the Gallery to see the exhibits. “While waiting to make a sandwich, we want PB&J fans to check out the exhibitions, all of which are intended to provoke new ways of seeing and understanding the world, of experiencing your intellectual and other pursuits, or even imagining solutions to complex problems in other disciplines.”
Each week, the Gallery features a special topping in addition to the wide array of spreads. The most popular special topping, according to Marsh, has been bacon (or a turkey alternative). Other special toppings have included bananas, potato chips, Oreo crumbs and chocolate sprinkles.
The funding for the event comes from the Gallery’s programming budget. This budget supports exhibitions, public programs and educational outreach and is funded largely by private donations. According to Marsh, the allocation of funds for PB&J Tuesday is a valuable investment; “PB&J is an incredibly inexpensive way ﾅ for our community to be encouraged to experience the art and visual culture on view and enjoy each others’ company.”
This semester, Natasha Ritsma, curator of academic programs at the Gallery, has introduced a new program, “Noon Talks,” to accompany the PB&J activities. These talks, given by faculty members, are only 20 minutes long, complementing the accessibility and routine of the sandwich bar. “All the informal talks or conversations,” Marsh said, “have some relationship to an issue or idea put forth by an artist or exhibition on view.”
Professor of Music Ted Buehrer, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies Laurie Finke and Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Jessica Carr have already presented talks this semester.
For some students, the event has become a fundamental part of the week. Cait Coates ’16, a regular attendee, admires what the event adds to her routine. “It’s a culture,” she said. “You normally wouldn’t think getting a sandwich is so fun, but it’s just great ﾗ it’s a tradition.”
Rachel Mitchell ’16, who also attends the event every week, enjoys getting to spend time in the Gund Gallery, though she thinks the space can be sometimes too crowded. “The Gallery is beautiful,” she said. “[But], there’s something almost competitive about the environment. Everybody vying for Nutella, for example.”
Overall, the event has been deemed a success in forwarding the goals of the Gallery. “It makes me appreciate the space,” Coates said. “It is really refreshing being in such a beautiful building. You just look around and think, life is good, with sandwich in hand.”
Need a new take on the classic sandwhich? Check out these specialty recipes.
No to the Nutella
(Rachel Mitchell ’16)
Rye bread, crunchy peanut butter, raspberry jam
(Cait Coates ’16)
White bread (crustless), creamy peanut butter, Nutella, sliced apples
Super Crunchy Bacon Fluffernutter
(Natalie Marsh, Director of the Gund Gallery)
Whole wheat bread, crunchy peanut butter, Marshmallow Fluff, bacon
(Laura Duncan ’17)
Honey wheat bread, creamy peanut butter, Nutella, toasted coconut
The “Appeeling” Sandwich
(Megan Morris ’16)
Whole wheat bread, creamy peanut butter, Nutella,