The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is partnering with Black Camel Coffee to present monthly virtual presentations about museum artworks with specially-blended coffee roasts for each painting.
Each month, the museum invites an educator or artist to choose a piece they are familiar with to chat about over a Zoom call with the community. The museum wanted to create a space for informal discussion about art pieces while ensuring that their supporters, many of whom are at a higher risk regarding COVID-19, could be involved, said Amanda Boehm-Garcia, the director of learning and engagement at the museum.
When brainstorming the idea, Boehm-Garcia wanted to find a way to support other local businesses through the event. She contacted a friend of hers, Daron Hacker, founder and owner of Black Camel Coffee. Together, they decided to make the event a collaboration and Coffee with the Collection began.
“When the pandemic hit, it shut down the whole museum. Then Amanda threw up the idea to the powers that be, and they liked it, so we went from there,” Hacker said.
Hacker opened Black Camel Coffee in February as the second roastery in Norman, following Yellow Dog Coffee Company. Last year, he attended a seminar in Minneapolis about coffee roasting and returned to Norman to start working on his own business.
Since collaborating with the museum, Black Camel has seen a small uptick in sales of specialty roasts they design for each piece discussed, Hacker said. To design the roasts, Hacker looks into the history of the artist. He prefers to buy beans from where the artist was from or a place connected to their work, Hacker said.
“I love the art and science that goes into roasting,” Hacker said.
Hacker also hopes the collaboration inspires other businesses to work together and try to promote each other during COVID-19.
“It’s a way for the university to reach out to the community,” Hacker said.
Coffee with the Collection will have its third session at 9:30 am on Friday, Nov. 20. People can register for free through the museum’s event page and purchase November’s roast, “Coffee Under Snow,” at Black Camel’s online shop.
Boehm-Garcia plans to continue Coffee with the Collection online into the spring but hopes it will go on longer as it provides a safe and easy way for their supporters to be involved, she said.
“Getting to see some of the faces that we don’t get to anymore is so important,” Boehm-Garcia said.
Boehm-Garcia said that in the future, the museum aims to invite people who are not “experts,” but have a passion for art and are familiar with a piece. They’d like to have students and faculty from other disciplines present.
“Sometimes people get really intimidated when you ask them to talk about a piece of art. They think they don’t know how. But they do know how, they always do,” Boehm-Garcia said.