Majoring in Community Health, Christina Marbury believes her time at Krannert Art Museum has broadened her experience by exposing her to new cultures and ways of thinking. We sat down to talk with her a bit about it.
KAM: Hi Christina, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself:
Christina: I am an undergrad student here at the University of Illinois in the College of Applied Health Sciences. I participate in RSO’s such as the University of Illinois Black Chorus, where I serve as a member of the wardrobe committee, and GRMD, a traditional Korean percussion group. I also devote my free time to volunteering at the Salvation Army, where I help with administrative work or work in the food pantry.
KAM: What brought you to the U of I?
Christina: I am from a community on the north side of Chicago called Edgewater. I was introduced to this prestigious institution through family members who attended the University of Illinois. They spoke highly of their time spent here and encouraged me carry on the Illini tradition.
KAM: What led you to study Community Health?
Christina: I always knew I wanted to do something related to the health field. During my first semester here, I found confirmation of my calling. I was initially on the business track but after taking one community health class and learning more about the program, I decided to choose this as my major. Community Health offers students a variety of possible professions to pursue, from clinical and administrative work to public health. I loved the idea of having a wide range of possibilities.
KAM: Do you think that art has an influence on the way you think about the world?
Christina: My major is Community Health with a concentration in Health Planning and Administration and Health Education and Promotion. Although my studies are not directly related to the art field, getting to experience works of art has allowed me to be exposed to different cultures and ways of thinking. It has had a positive influence on how I view the world around me.
I can transfer these skills into my future career as an RN. I will be working with and taking care of people who may not think like I do and may have very different beliefs from my own. Being able to recognize these differences and understand these points of view will enable me to give the highest quality care to the patients I serve.
KAM: When did you first come in contact with the museum? Do you have a moment you remember that shaped the way you think about KAM?
Christina: I first came to the museum my sophomore year. I was in an Intro to Art class and one of the assignments was to visit a gallery and look at piece of artwork that we were drawn to. I visited Krannert Art Museum and was intrigued by the vast collection of artwork that was displayed. That was the moment my eyes were open to all KAM has to offer.
A few months passed, and I received an email from the KAM Security Supervisor & Facility Manager, after having applied for a position as a student guard. I got the job and ever since, I have loved my experiences at KAM. I enjoy seeing all the artwork that enters the museum, and I especially love to see the work presented by my peers during the BFA and MFA shows as well as the work presented by administrators during the faculty exhibitions.
KAM: What type of art inspires you?
Christina: The art that I find most inspiring is contemporary art. Art itself is a way for people to express themselves freely, and I sense the most freedom of expression in contemporary art. From my experiences at KAM much of the artwork that has been displayed in the contemporary gallery has really opened my eyes and has encouraged me to view things from a different perspective.
KAM: Do you have a favorite work of art at KAM?
Christina: My favorite work of art at KAM is in the Decorative Arts gallery. It is a cobalt pressed glass piece by Czech artist Ladislav Palecek, titled Sculpture. This is my favorite work of art because of its precision and mystery. The exact date this piece was created is not known precisely—just 20th century. I think the sense of mystery adds to the aesthetics of the piece and really draws me to it.
KAM: Has there been an exhibition that was really meaningful for you?
Christina: I think the most meaningful was World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean. The exhibition featured combs, bracelets, staffs, chairs that resemble royal thrones, and many more culture-enriched pieces that were infused with history. I thought this exhibit was especially unique because KAM was the first museum to show it, and now it's traveling across the country to the National Museum of African Art, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles.
KAM: What do you wish more students knew about Krannert Art Museum?
Christina: I wish more students knew that Krannert Art Museum was available for all to visit for free.
I think the museum as a whole is a hidden gem that many students don’t utilize unless their major or a class brings them in. When I tell people where I work, they immediately assume I am talking about the performing arts center. After telling them where the art museum is located, I tell them about the vast collection of artwork present and emphasize the importance of experiencing it first hand.
KAM has a lot to offer and I for one am glad I was able to experience it during my undergrad career at the U of I.
KAM: I understand you’re getting ready to graduate.. What comes next for you?
Christina: After graduation, I plan to attend a master’s level-nursing program to become an RN with an advance generalist degree. Upon completing my Master of Science in Nursing degree and receiving my licensure, I plan to work either in Champaign or the Chicago area to begin my practice as a Registered Nurse.
KAM: Is there something from your time at the museum that you’ll carry with you beyond campus?
Christina: During my time at the museum, I learned a lot of enriching knowledge, from public relations and customer service to the cultural enrichment and historical enlightenment that comes from being in an art-filled environment. Along with this knowledge, I will carry with me a newfound openness to new experiences and ideas that vary from my own. I am eager to apply the skills I have learned and carry them into my profession.