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Stephanie Pereira

Museums, etc: Little Arts Society Uses Dialogue and Tactics to Permeate the Museum’s Borders


            The Little Arts Society project was generated out of a need to bridge the living language of the cultural capital that exists in the world with that which exists inside the highly specialized and specific, if not hermeneutic, system of museums. This paper sets our to, at first, define some of the conditions that can influence a museum’s users, examples are provided via a reading of generalized museum space as seen through the eyes of a generalized public, as well as offering material representations of such activity.

            In order to unravel some of the complexities of how spaces are activated or consumed by its users—thinking of the space as an integrated resource for its users, rather than a disparate and separate (from the messy reality of everyday) system—this thesis draws from thinkers such as David Bohm, Paulo Freire, Michel Foucault, Jurgen Habermas, Mikhail M. Bakhtin, Raymond Williams, and our contemporaries that are writing about them today.

            Little Arts Society was created out of an urgency to bring people together as users who aware of our agency over our role as museum visitors and to open up the possibility of more meaningful programs that are created by the people, rather than for the people. The challenge of bringing together a group of diverse individuals existed as the first barrier, and bringing them together in the spirit of mutual influence was the second. Failing on both counts, a group of highly specialized art savvy people came together and said, “What now?”

         Acknowledging the failure, and moving on as an exploratory combination of dialogue and tactics, the Little Arts Society members have worked to pierce the opacity of the Museum’s walls, and make more apparent how we as arts specialists use a museum space. From our activities, we have generated a body of knowledge that can be used as a means of creatively, rather than passively, engaging the museum space. Products of our endeavors are provided through the project website, littleartssociety.org, or by any means appropriate to a given project. The website is also used by its members, or anyone who visits the site, as a locus for knowledge gathered and knowledge shared.


         Stephanie Pereira received her BFA in Visual Arts from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2002. Towards the end of her tenure at Mason Gross, she became interested in the contextual implications of the galleries, museums, etc., where artists show their work.


Thesis Advisor: Rachel Weiss, Associate Professor and Chair, Arts Administration; Exhibition Studies

Thesis Reader: Stefan Szczelkun, Senior Lecturer, University of Westminster, London




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