Blog / Football and Art

Posted By Steven Neal

Photo by J Caldwell

The Nasher Museum made an impression on five Duke Football players who worked as part-time security guards all summer.
And they made an impression on the Nasher Museum.

For the student athletes, security work entailed more than walking around the exhibitions. They also made sure the artwork was safe, that no one touched or removed anything and that only authorized staff went into certain areas of the museum. The young athletes who worked part-time over the summer were Breon Borders, Marcus Aprahamian, Johnell Barnes and D.J. Reeves.

Breon Borders, a Duke sophomore who has been playing football since the fourth grade, is a defensive back for Duke with hopes to go pro. If the NFL doesn’t work out, he plans to go to law school.

“The whole summer in general for me is that I have practice in the morning and it’s tough going from practice straight to work,” Borders said. “But it definitely prepares me for the real world and the work force.”

Borders said he liked being around and speaking with children the most. Through this job, Borders said, he became a fan of the Nasher Museum. “There are many types of art here from Greece and African-American history, different varieties.”

Marcus Aprahamian, a senior and offensive guard for Duke, clearly enjoys his job as well as working with museum staff.

“Working at the Nasher Museum I got to meet a lot of awesome people,” Aprahamian said. “There’s very encouraging and uplifting people here at the museum. One person I found really enjoyable to work with was Officer Dennis Johnson. We had many encouraging conversations that ranged from a discussion in athletics to spirituality.”

Aprahamian, who has plans to become a teacher and coach football at the high school level after graduation, believes that exhibitions at the Nasher Museum provide a good history and educational experience to everyone. People will learn a lot about the new modern and contemporary exhibitions opening this fall.

“There’s a lot of exhibitions here and they’re all very enjoyable to look at and read the history about them,” Aprahamian said. “I would return to work at the Nasher because it’s a very peaceful place and the other employees were so kind. I was encouraged to work at the Nasher by some of my teammates who had worked there previously and I also enjoyed the trips to the Nasher that I took for class.”

Johnell Barnes, a wide receiver for Duke, said the museum provided a great opportunity to view different kinds of art from different cultures.

“Overall it’s been a great experience,” Barnes said. “I’ve had a lot of fun, got to experience new things, learn new things and it’s been a great time since I’ve been here. What I like best about the Nasher is that the staff is nice and caring, different exhibitions are brought in from time to time and the pay is good. This was my first job and while it helped me earn some money it also opened my eyes to new things that I had never seen before. … There’s a portrait called The Wings Will Fly that showed George Washington holding a baby with an eagle’s head that I really liked. Also the food at the Nasher Museum Café is good and I like the breakfast omelets that they serve.”

Barnes also liked working with museum staff.

“Nikki Gaskin, the H.R. manager, was caring, funny and great to talk to,” Barnes said. “Officer Dennis Johnson was great to talk to as he was full of wisdom and he liked to talk about football also. And Sergeant Jones influenced me a great deal. He taught me how to stay focused on the job, to keep an eye on things and to always stay alert. Overall, the Nasher is a chill and very relaxing place and working there was a great opportunity.”

D.J. Reeves, a tight end for Duke, also said he enjoyed his summer at the Nasher Museum. Reeves, a red-shirt junior (senior at Duke and a junior player on the field) found his job interesting and the coworkers and supervising officers great to converse with when times were slow; he also enjoyed the exhibitions.

“I liked being around the artwork, which had different varieties, styles and mediums,” Reeves said. “Also, the staff who are involved with the museum are what would make me come back. I like to hear their opinion on different things in regards to the exhibitions. Officer Dennis Johnson was a great influence also as he had a lot of insightful tings to say and talk about.”

Reeves said that he hopes to play football professionally after graduation and would like to manage his own business someday.

Duke Football, head coach David Cutcliffe’s seventh Blue Devil squad, will face off against Elon on Saturday, August 30, at 6 p.m.

IMAGE: Offensive guard Marcus Aprahamian and wide receiver Johnell Barnes (right) have left their part-time summer security jobs at the Nasher Museum for the start of Duke’s football season. They are standing in front of Robert Rauschenberg’s 1988 work, Wild  Strawberry Eclipse (Urban Burbon), 1988.  Photo by J Caldwell.

Steven Neal, a graduate of North Carolina Central University, has worked all summer as a marketing intern at the Nasher Museum.

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