by Holly Buskirk
While the sun slowly starts to set, we stand on top of the Western Hemisphere’s largest art museum, The MET. Gazing off the dimly lit yellow roof, the cool wind bites into your cheeks and frost your nose. The atmosphere is filled with pure bliss, the sounds of chatter seem to fade away, eyes tunnel visioning into the city. A small smile creeps onto lips of the tourists, people could never truly capture the beauty of New York until they saw the twinkle of the lights reflecting off the water on a cool fall evening.
This past weekend, the WVU Parkersburg Art Club went on a trip to New York City, a place where many of the members have never been. We all met at the school around 3:30 a.m. to leave on our long journey to The Big Apple. For the first thirty minutes the bus was exploding with sound from the excited students, but once we hit the highway, everyone’s eyes slowly fell closed. The ride there took us around twelve hours, but once we all had awakened , we were fresh-eyed and ready to go.
I have never personally driven in New York, but the art professor and club advisor, Dr. Reidmiller, offered to drive the van. Many students didn’t really process how busy the city was until we spent an hour parking for The MET. Once we finally parked, we all headed to the museum. You could sense the excited energy from everyone as The MET came into our vision. We all piled onto the steps to pose for a picture, bright smiles filling our faces. At this point, we separated to explore the museum. When looking up to the ceiling, a beautiful round skyline with lights wrapped around it, when you walked around you saw huddles of people with their maps propped open. We were all here for the same reason: to see art.
Seeing these famous paintings by the likes of Jackson Pollock, Caravaggio and Giovanni Paolo Panini, is enough to blow minds away. Noticing all the intricate brush strokes that go into each artwork and how huge the pieces are, really helps show appreciation to these artists.
As The MET started to close, we all met back up to head to our Airbnb. We have never used an Airbnb before, but the experience could have not gone better.
We ordered so much pizza that the delivery boy needed an extra hand. Our stomachs all growled at the smell of the fresh food. We sat down at the big table and started to devour all the pizza that laid in front of us. This was our time to talk about our favorite moments from The MET. The room was bursting with sound and laughter as we expressed our love for the museum.
“What was just one art piece that really stood out to you?” I said.
“I liked the knight armour, definitely the stained glass, there was one Tiffany that was a mosaic and it was gorgeous,”
It was hard to catch what everyone was saying, but one thing we all could agree on was the New York Skyline. We all thought that looking at the city from the distance was art in itself. Dr. Reidmiller expressed her fondness while we all sat and ate our pizza.
“The fact that I was able to bring my students to the museum and actually see the things I have been teaching in my class, things even from last year, so we talked about Canopic jars and they can see the actual Canopic jars or the Pot Sherds the different kinds of Greek architecture columns, so it brought what I was teaching in class to life. It was great to see my students were excited about learning and retaining the information I taught them, you know, a year ago.I was very excited to do that.”
Saturday, we all headed into the city to shop and explore a culture different from our own. It was a learning experience to try and navigate New York City by ourselves. Soon enough, we came across a street where little vendors littered the pavement. The overwhelming smell of freshly baked food was mouth-watering. Stores lined the streets selling handmade jewelry, clothes and little keepsakes.
Dyvan Locke and I bought roasted corn on the cob that oozed with honey butter, students bought some crystal necklaces and Dr. Reidmiller was fascinated by the never ending amount of shawls. Musicians lined the streets of vendors to perform music for profit and entertainment. It was at this point we all stopped for a group photo. The sun was blinding to our eyes, but you could see our excited smiles nonetheless.
“I loved seeing the myriad of lights that lit up the dark streets, eating the sweet buttered corn from street vendors, getting to see my first Broadway show with a great friend and most of all, I loved getting to go to New York to make these unforgettable memories.”
The day went by fast for my group. We explored KoreaTown and went to some of the best places to eat. Koreatown is filled with many places to snack on traditional meals and sweets. The group learned many things about Korean culture just by all the food that was being devoured. The clock hand was creeping onto 8 o’clock, which means it’s showtime. It was nice that some of us were able to choose our own Broadway shows such as ‘Aladdin’, ‘Beetlejuice’, ‘Frozen’ or ‘Phantom of the Opera.’ Once our shows came to an unwanted end, we all met back up in Time Square to watch the Midnight Moment, the world’s biggest digital art exhibition from 11:57-12 a.m. We all posed for a group photo, our hands filled with bags of goodies we had purchased throughout the day.
Sunday, the day we are destined for home, had been a bittersweet one. We took the ferry over to meet Lady Liberty in her full, up close beauty. Seeing the statue in the distance as the sound of water rolled underneath the boat really made the feeling of being an immigrant in the 1900s come to life. Many Immigrants traveled by sea to come to Ellis Island in America. They knew they had arrived when you saw the green, torch barring, statue in the distance. At first we photographed the statue herself, but we were all quickly sidetracked by taking photos of the grazing seagulls. It was rainy and gloomy the whole morning, but for some reason, the foggy weather had set the most magnificent aesthetic. Everyone always tells you not to visit The Statue of Liberty because she is just a tourist trap, but the group loved this last little memory of our long awaited trip.
The Art Club was slightly sad to see it come to an end, but we all made memories we will keep for a lifetime and a half. Going to the Western Hemisphere’s largest art museum, The MET, eating New York pizza for the first time and being able to make these memories together as a club, will never be forgotten.
“It’s not about the journey, it’s about the friends you make along the way,” L.V Hissem.