Students find value and inspiration at a museum event


When a group of Roanoke College students visited the Taubman Museum of Art in downtown Roanoke on November 13 to meet an Oscar-winning costume designer, they treated the night like their own top Hollywood party. .

“They were just jubilant,” said history professor Dr Whitney Leeson. “They looked fabulous.”

The event held on the opening day of Taubman’s avant-garde exhibition series ‘Fashioning the Future’ Featured “Afrofuturism in costume design”, an exhibition highlighting the work of Ruth E. Carter, who worked as a costume designer on generation-defining films such as “Black Panther”, “Selma” and “Do the Right Thing”. Carter was present at the event and the students had the chance to meet her and attend a question-and-answer session.

Famous fashion stylist Micaela Erlanger was also present with her collection of fine jewelry, featured in an exhibition titled “All That Glitters: Iconic Jewelry and Hollywood Style”.

The event continued a long-standing relationship between the College and the famous art museum, as Roanoke students enjoy free entry and many students end up working or interning at Taubman.

Students from various fields and interests were able to enjoy the event in their own way. Isabella “Bella” Moritz ’22 is an art history major who hopes to pursue a career in fashion conservation. Da’Vaun Lee ’22 is a biology student seeking to pursue graduate studies in zoology.

All described the event as a valuable experience. Lee and Cantu were particularly interested in Carter’s work on Afrofuturism – a cultural aesthetic that explores the intersection of African diaspora culture with technology.

“The event was amazing,” Lee said. “It was a pleasure to meet both Micaela Erlanger and Ruth Carter. It was an honor, and this opportunity really inspired me to be better at my job and to show my authentic Afrofuturist self. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Ximena Cantu ’24 said she enjoys meeting people from diverse backgrounds at the event. She said listening to Carter opened my eyes.

“Ruth E. Carter talks about her work with a lot of passion, which has given me hope that one day I can also achieve the things that I am passionate about,” Cantu said.