The Nasher Museum has been instrumental in shaping my Duke experience and life beyond my undergraduate years. During my first semester on campus, I joined the student advisory board, Nasher MUSE (Museum Undergraduate Student Exec). I served as chair of marketing and then president, and had the unique opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the museum. My curatorial pursuits led me to co-organize an exhibition with other students, Masculinities: Mainstream to Margins. In summer 2014, I received the Trent A. and Susan L. Carmichael Internship Grant to continue honing my curatorial skills, assisting in the preparation of an exhibition schedule for the Miró: The Experience of Seeing exhibition. I spent summer 2015 in Venice, Italy on a Duke-sponsored internship with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, combining my Art History major and Italian minor in a professional setting. These academic and professional experiences would have been impossible without the Nasher. These days, you can find me in the Nasher Museum’s Academic Programs department, where I work to connect undergraduate students to the museum.
— Ryan Elizabeth Bennert, Duke Class of 2016
I grew up in the South. Conversations about the South are difficult. Art provides visual cues and is a really accessible medium through which to provoke these difficult conversations. You can’t have the full narrative of the South without its dark corners and skeletons. Art gives us a place to jump off and move forward. Some students find it easier to avoid talking about it, but the Nasher provides a safe place for conversation. Through art, we can reach some greater understanding, and move forward.Ryan Elizabeth Bennert, student outreach and membership coordinator at the Nasher Museum, Duke Class of 2016