The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Despite being over 175 years old, Grinnell College remains relevant

In an effort to humanize the college admissions process and reach broader audiences, Grinnell has entered the TikTok game. Graphic by Tess Kerkhof.

The number one rule of staying relevant on social media is to keep your bases covered. Never one to miss a beat, Grinnell College has entered the TikTok game – producing regular content and receiving hundreds of views on each video.

Each TikTok posted to the @grinnellcollege account is put together by a team of staff members. The videos often star students working at the Office of Admissions as tour guides, senior interviewers or multicultural interns. Behind the scenes, Katy Tucker acts as the social media coordinator, Dayna Jensen manages the account as the Office of Communication content specialist and Grace Lloyd, senior assistant director of admission, edits the videos released on Instagram and TikTok.

In an email to The S&B, Lloyd described the College’s TikTok account as a fun and effective way to engage with prospective students. “We hope to humanize the college process and help prospective Grinnellians see themselves here,” she wrote.

Videos posted to @grinnellcollege cover a range of topics related to student life, including spotlighting students’ favorite restaurants around the town of Grinnell, as well as sharing students’ experiences during their years on campus. The latter videos are framed by students “unboxing” different mementos and describing the memories they hold of time spent at Grinnell.

@grinnellcollege isn’t the only TikTok account affiliated with the College, though. Compared to the heavily involved production seen with @grinnellcollege, the Grinnell College Museum of Art TikTok account is a much more laid-back affair. Managed by the museum’s Promotions Intern Molly Skouson `21, @gcmuseumofart on TikTok features works of art currently on exhibit in the gallery on campus as well as works from the museum’s permanent collection.

“The main goal is just to expose people to the artwork we have in our collection, because some of it is really amazing,” Skouson said. “And I want people to see it, and to engage with it and think about art.”

The process of highlighting a piece of art on the museum’s account starts with Skouson perusing the permanent collection, which is displayed digitally on the Grinnell College Museum of Art’s website. When a piece catches her eye, the next step is to decide how to present it as a video.

As TikTok’s format is based around sharing short videos, one of the biggest challenges for Skouson is introducing movement to the pieces of artwork which are naturally static. By panning over and zooming in on the digital images, a dynamic element is introduced to the artwork that would be unattainable to someone simply viewing the piece hanging on a wall.

The other key element to TikTok videos is the audio accompanying the piece. As a music major, Skouson is particularly aware of the augmented experience sound provides the viewer when enjoying a piece of art.

Every week, Skouson reaches out on the Museum of Art’s Facebook page for suggestions of music that could form a soundtrack to the artwork she’s chosen to exhibit on TikTok the next Monday. Alumni, members of the faculty and loyal visitors of the museum respond with the music they think best accompanies the piece.

One such TikTok displayed a David Michael Itchkawich etching from 1977 titled, “Just be careful, girls!” The joyful scene of four beachgoers piled into a classic coupe with the roof down integrates four different suggested songs. Each song pairs with the etching in a different way, from inducing a thrill with a track off the “Iron Man” 2008 movie soundtrack to radiating the mellow summer vibes of “Havana” by Camila Cabello.

Skouson’s eye brings the artwork to life, as seen in a post of “Oceanscape B-2,” a chromogenic print whose waves seem to ebb and swell as the camera pans across its surface to lulling orchestral accompaniment. This TikTok is one of Skouson’s regular posts under the hashtag, “museum moment of zen,” a hashtag that she discovered trending last summer. Now, her regular Friday posts present a welcome reprieve for anyone looking for an escape from the hectic nature of day-to-day life.

The functionality of the app’s algorithm does not ensure that content posted by the Office of Admissions or the Museum of Art will appear on the “for-you page” of every current or prospective Grinnell student. To stay connected to the College campus and experience a museum moment of zen each Friday, follow @grinnellcollege and @gcmuseumofart on TikTok.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Nadia Langley
Nadia Langley, Editor in Chief
Nadia Langley is a fourth year majoring in history and French. Her favorite historical French quote is: "Literally I didn't say that, that's so cray," -- Marie Antoinette, 1793.
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *