On the evening of Oct. 14, the Gund Gallery Associates brought the Gallery’s Late Night program back to the Kenyon community. The fall-themed event featured an outdoor photo booth, crafts, snacks and music.
Contrary to the beliefs of several annoyed Yik Yak posters, the Gund Gallery’s Late Night predates the widely mourned Peirce Hall evening dining option that enraptured the student body last year. In 2019, the Gund Gallery Associates started Late Night as a way to encourage Kenyon students to interact with the gallery space.
“For many students, the Gallery is a space they might enter for classes or other obligations, but we wanted to make it fun, which is why we were inspired to start Late Night,” Gund Gallery Associate Alasia Destine-DeFreece ’22 said.
The events, which often featured student bands playing live music along with food and activities, became a huge success. Then the pandemic hit, and the College suspended large gatherings, putting Late Night on hold. Gund Associates had to come up with other ideas to generate interest in the Gallery, leading to the creation of Takeaway Tuesdays, where students can stop by and pick up free goodies, like snacks, masks and buttons.
This fall, things are different. The community’s widely vaccinated status has allowed for eased restrictions on in-person events, and the Associates had the green light to start planning the return of Late Night.
“[Late Night] being one of our most popular events, we really wanted to find a way that we could safely bring people into the Gallery and recreate the same, if not a similar experience,” Maya Yukselen ’23, leader of the Associates’ Visitor Experience Team, said.
Of course, the experience was modified to be as safe as possible: Masks were mandatory inside the Gallery, the fall-themed snacks were prepared to-go and visitors were encouraged to eat outdoors. The crafts were distributed across different stations to spread people out.
I stopped by Late Night on a study break, and found the atmosphere to be just as enjoyable as it was pre-pandemic. I took a Polaroid at the photo booth and decorated it with the impressive array of stickers, gems and other supplies the station offered. The Associates working the snack table let me take multiple sauce containers of candy corn with me on my way out.
According to Yukselen, the return of Late Night was a great success, with a “wonderful turnout.” She hopes to host another one later this semester and two more in the spring.