“If you’ve ever had fun at ARTafterDARK, it’s because of me,” special events coordinator Rebecca Barat says. “If not, it’s definitely someone else.”
Rebecca brings that trademark wit to her job as part of the events team, a big part of it involving creating the ARTafterDARK experience. Hailing from Washington, D.C. (no, she hasn’t met any presidents, but she did see Joe Biden’s motorcade across the street once), Rebecca joined the museum in May 2016 as our special events coordinator after moving to Hawai‘i. “This job came like a flash of light out of the clouds, and was the perfect fit for me—it was in an incredible, fully-accredited museum,” says Rebecca, who was previously with the Smithsonian Institution. “It allows me to be super creative with event ideas and it’s full of amazing people I’m now lucky enough to call coworkers.”
So what would work of art from the museum collection particularly speaks to our planner of parties? Holy moly, don’t be surprised.
“This is perhaps the most entertaining piece in the museum’s collection in my opinion,” Rebecca says about John Singleton Copley’s 1763 portrait of Nathaniel Allen, a Massachusetts merchant. “At first glance the subject of this portrait looks like it has been damaged by someone’s dirty fingers. However, as [art and programs deputy director] Theresa Papanikolas explained to staff during a recent tour, those aren’t smudges, either on the subject’s cheek or on the canvas itself—they’re actually two huge, dark, hairy moles on his face. Theresa explained that this portrait shows how portraiture continued to evolve—from an idealized version of the sitter to more realistic depictions that might not have been as flattering.”