Log in

Anticipating Solar Eclipse, Windgate Museum of Art at Hendrix Presents ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’


CONWAY —The Windgate Museum of Art at Hendrix College (WMA) on January 26, 2024, will open “In the Shadow of the Moon,” a dynamic, multi-media exhibition centered around humankind’s history and interest in the moon and space, to celebrate the upcoming total solar eclipse. Hendrix College and the central Arkansas region are in the path of totality for the April 8 eclipse, an event that will leave millions in North America awestruck.
Among the most spectacular visible natural phenomena — lightning storms, shooting stars, the aurora borealis — a solar eclipse seems to earn the greatest reverence, and with good reason.
“The star of ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’ is the April 8, 2024, eclipse itself,” says curator Christian Cutler, director of the WMA. “This exhibition is both a celebration and a jumping off point. I hope visitors to ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’ learn and reflect on humankind’s relationship to the Moon and the Sun.”
Interpretations of Eclipses through History
Opening January 26 at 5 p.m., “In the Shadow of the Moon” will explore how different cultures have presented and interpreted solar eclipses in art. For instance, visitors will see eclipses portrayed as a dragon or a celestial wolf attempting to swallow the sun and included in the backdrop of European Renaissance crucifixion scenes to set a sorrowful or ominous tone.
The exhibition will also highlight the staying power of the solar eclipse as a worthy artistic subject. Science fiction illustrators, contemporary sculptors, and even video game designers incorporate eclipses into their work. Works by contemporary artists Tyler Nordgren, John W. Tomac, Lenka Konopasek, and Sarah Blood have been selected for the exhibition. “47 Rockets,” a mini-exhibit
inside ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’ by Nashville art duo Raina Belleau and Caleb Churchill, will explore history and folklore surrounding the moon with sculpture, video, and photography.
To provide historical context for the works of art, a collection of solar eclipse expedition artifacts will be on display, on loan from the James Lick Observatory in Mount Hamilton, California. Visitors can view scientific instruments, astronomers’ handwritten logbooks, and photographic plates made during expeditions in the late 1800s and early 1900s as far away as Chile, India, and the South Pacific.
Immersive Video Experience

One of the greatest undertakings in preparing “In the Shadow of the Moon” is the projection experience in the Wilcox-Todd Gallery. The museum is producing an immersive video about eclipses with financial assistance from the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium (ASGC), a part of NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. Landry Dosher ’24, an English and theatre arts double major at Hendrix, provides the voiceover for the script written by Lindsey Knight, the WMA’s education curator.
“The preparation of the experience we’ve planned for the Wilcox-Todd Gallery may be the most meticulous team effort the WMA staff has undertaken since the museum’s opening,” Cutler said.
Selected Works by Arkansas Students
Visitors who approach the museum from the east side will be greeted by 80 selections from a juried competition of creations by Arkansas kindergarten through 12th-grade students, centered on the themes of the cosmos, eclipses, the solar system, and human interaction with space. The Window Gallery, where this art from around the state will be displayed, faces east and south on the outside of the building, making it available for viewing 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The WMA is housed on the first floor, north wing, of the Miller Creative Quad, Building 3 on the current Hendrix campus map. Exhibitions and programs at the Windgate Museum of Art at Hendrix College are free and open to all. Regular interior gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters.
‘Star Trek’ Actor Tim Russ
To accompany “In the Shadow of the Moon,” the WMA is planning an entire semester of space-related educational programming, film screenings, guest speakers, make-and-take art projects, and more. On Saturday, January 27 at 10 a.m., the WMA will welcome to campus actor Tim Russ of Star Trek fame. Russ will talk about his love of amateur astronomy and how he got started. Brunch-bite refreshments will be served. A Q&A, an autograph opportunity, and merchandise sales will follow the talk, which will be held in Reves Recital Hall, Trieschmann Fine Arts Building (18a on the current campus map).
The WMA anticipates announcing more exhibition-related events this semester. To stay up to date on additional program offerings associated with “In the Shadow of the Moon,” visit www.windgatemuseum.org/events.