Inspired by LEGO: A Family Story

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LEGO bricks provide inspiration for many families to be creative. We talked with the Gonzalez family, last year’s LEGO DESIGN Challenge winner to get the scoop.

How did you decide what you were going to build? (What were some of the challenges? Any fights or funny stories?)

Our son and daughter worked together to think about what to build. They made up sketches which evolved as the ideas grew. We love penguins in our house so quickly the penguin idea got traction and everyones’ agreement. Once we started building, our biggest challenge was to get the kids to go to bed before they fell asleep at the table.  We worked every night- sorting, building… and would lose track of time. After seeing the Lego Movie, we decided, my husband Ricky is the original “Lord Business.” He would love to Krazy glue everything down.  But, lets the kids constantly move and change pieces and figures.

Gonzalez

First sketch of idea:

sketch 1

2nd sketch to elaborate how to use Penguin

sketch 2

What else do you guys build with LEGOs?

Ricky built with Lego since he was a kid and has passed on his love of Legos to us all.  Our favorite thing he built is a miniature of our house.  The kids gave him the Death Star a few birthdays ago.  They built that together working every morning before school for weeks.  Having Lego projects means everyone gets up early in our house!

How else is your family creative?

We all enjoy being creative.  Ricky works in a creative job and has a BA in fine art.  We volunteer our arts/creative energy for many local and school projects.  We have a great passion for the arts, fashion, design and music.

Want to have your LEGO creation on display at the museum? Participate in this year’s 2014 LEGO DESIGN Challenge. Be a master builder and help build a new Columbus from LEGO bricks. Submissions due by October 17, 2014.

Wallowing in the MUD: Making Use of Documentation Copy

Documentation

In the past three years as Visiting Education Scholar at the Columbus Museum of Art, I’ve noticed something astounding happening in the museum’s education department. It’s transformative… and it is going viral, spreading to the children, teens, and adults who come to the museum to experience art as well as affecting those in the schools where museum educators do much of their good work.

And it all starts in the MUD…which stands for Making Use of Documentation.  I asked Caitlin Lynch, a performance artist who is also a museum educator at CMA, what documentation has meant to her practice and teaching. Caitlin replied,  “It’s everything! As an artist who works primarily in installation and performance, and who tries to foster collaborative experiences between strangers, documentation is often times the only way I have to reflect back on my work. Often times I am so in a performance, that I miss small, meaningful moments, especially between visitors.  Reflection lets me see how my audience is responding to my provocations, almost always shaping what comes next, or where I take an idea. 
This is true as an educator as well. I can’t follow a student’s idea if I can’t remember it, and, much like a performance piece, being in the moment of teaching, it is often hard to catch and remember the true gems. It’s one thing to have me, another adult, tell you “Hey! This preschooler had a cool idea.” It’s quite another for me to show you an image of this same child making a giant, spontaneous, room-sized spiderweb, to trap all the adult ‘flies’…”

And just last week, Rachel Trinkley, the Assistant Director of Education for Schools, Teachers and Docents at CMA shared with me that “documentation has transformed the way I think about learning.”

Now when most people think of documentation, words like “transformation” do not usually come to mind.  In fact, when I ask people to tell me what words they think of when they hear the word “documentation” they sometimes say things like “endless paperwork,” “dreary reports,” and even “covering your tracks.”  But at the museum, rather than spending our time defining documentation, we’ve been practicing it and using it in a manner that is inspired by the way that the educators from the Italian pre-schools of Reggio Emilia use it (the Reggio schools were named in a Newsweek cover story as “One of the Best 10 Schools in the World”).

Rather than dreary paper work to cover your tracks, museum educators are using the Reggio educator’s practice of using documentation as a way to observe, record, interpret and share back moments of learning and thinking through a variety of ways including written quotes, photographic images, children’s artifacts as well as audio and video recordings in order to extend and deepen learning.  Documentation is being used by museum educators with children, teens, and adults not only during the process of experiencing art and art making, but also after the experience is over.  We’ve even begun to use it with funders as a unique way to show results and make visible the richness of learning about and through artful experiences.

But as I said earlier, much of this starts in the “MUD” i.e the monthly Making Use of Documentation meetings that museum educators are conducting.  During these two hour meetings, these educators use protocols and rigorous ways of looking deeply at documentation from their programs in order to examine, ponder, and interpret powerful moments of learning.  It is also during these MUD meetings that they learn with and from one another to continuously improve what they do with museum visitor experiences inside and outside the museum.  When examining documentation (children’s words, artifacts, photographs, and teacher reflections) at a recent MUD meeting, two museum educators shared how their thinking and teaching was being transformed (there’s that word again!) as they were changing their teaching from “a reliance on materials to a reliance on listening and following the direction of children in order to spark their play and imagination.”  Sparking children’s play, creativity, and imagination…now that’s something worth getting dirty for!

-Guest blog post by Fred Burton CMA Visiting Education Scholar

Become a Docent at Columbus Museum of Art

CMA Docents

Do you value learning? Do you have a passion for art? Do you enjoy conversing and sharing with others? If you answered “YES,” the Columbus Museum of Art is recruiting for a new docent class for the 2014-2015 year. Docents are volunteer gallery facilitators who guide visitors in thinking, talking, and wondering about art. Docents ensure great experiences for CMA visitors including 15,000 + K-12 students from all over Columbus.

The process in becoming a docent includes a rigorous nine-month training process where candidates research and study art in the Museum’s collection, learn touring strategies to match various age groups, and explore educational philosophies. No previous art knowledge is necessary, but curiosity and commitment is required.

Docent candidates must commit to two years of touring and continuing education after their completion in training. Graduates will join one of the most dedicated and passionate group of volunteers in central Ohio. They must maintain a Museum Membership. Benefits of becoming a docent include curatorial and guest lectures, interactions with contemporary artists, social events and art-focused trips, access to unique museum resources, discounts at the Museum store and cafe, plus more.

DOCENT OPEN HOUSES
Tuesday, July 22nd, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Thursday, July 31st, 6:00 PM-7:30 PM

Current docents and museum staff will be on hand to talk more about the program, answer questions, and tour you through the galleries during the open docent Open Houses.

For more information and to apply, download the 2014-2015 CMA Docent Information Sheet, then complete a Docent Program Application.

Applications are DUE on August 8, 2014. Interviews will begin in mid-August. Those accepted into the program will be notified by September 10, 2014.

Please contact Stephanie Samera, Docent Programs Coordinator, at stephanie.samera@cmaohio.org with additional questions about the program.

CMA and 2014 Columbus Arts Fest Challenge

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Join CMA and Greater Columbus Arts Council at the Columbus Arts Festival located on the Riverfront on June 6, 7, and 8. The Riverfront will be transformed  into a stunning outdoor art gallery as the nation’s  top artists display their work and attract art  enthusiasts from all over the country. In addition to hosting more than 280 nationally acclaimed artists, GCAC’s Festival will feature fantastic gourmet fare from some of the city’s finest local  restaurants, live music, hands-on art activities and more. Visit us at our booth on Rich Street, and pick up your free art swag.

Plus, pick up materials at the CMA booth and show off your creativity with CMA’s Imagine the Possibilities Creative Challenge:

  • Make a twist tie sculpture.
  • Take a picture, and tag it on Instagram with #CMAatArtsFest to be part of the online gallery.

Imagine the Possibilities area at CMA is part of the Creativity@CMA Gallery where visitors get creative and experiment using simple materials. Here are a few of the creative twist tie sculptures visitors have created so far.

Imagine the Possibilities Creative Challenge Gallery via Instagram

Middle School Redo and Role Models

Critical Works

My name is Alvin White, and I am a Teaching Artist at the Columbus Museum of Art. Imagine walking into a middle school classroom and you’ve become the star of 6th, 7th and 8th grade. Students are high-fiving you, asking you questions about art and interested in learning about you. This is completely different from my middle school experiences, actually the opposite. For me to have the chance to redo middle school has been a huge opportunity to learn how to reshape thinking for the betterment of others by talking about complex social issues that are relevant to the students’ lives.

I was the teaching artist this past year for Pressing Matters and Critical Works, programs the Museum conducts with Central and Southeastern Ohio middle schools that lack arts programs. CMA staff brings authentic, socially charged works of art to the classroom to engage students in an interdisciplinary learning experience. Students explore social issues relevant to their own lives and communicate their concerns through creative expression and experimentation.

Pressing Matters

Although teaching about art and social issues is part of my job, I am also indirectly teaching about something else: the importance of an effective black male artist in the classroom. Every time I start a program, I re-learn that seventh and eighth grade students are much smarter than we give them credit for. Students are able to pick up on the significance that I am an one of the few examples of a black male teacher within the building, maybe the only creative black role model they have encountered.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

-Alvin White, CMA Teaching Artist for School and Teen Initiatives

Inside the Strange and Wonderful World of a Museum Educator

Museum educator

If you’ve ever worked in the field of museum education, you know that people “on the outside” have no idea what that means. “That must be so fun,” we hear a lot. Yes, it is fun! However, no, we don’t teach kids how to paint all day! We do all kinds of strange things in this field.  In order to offer a bit of insight into the day-to-day experience of  a museum educator, I’ve interviewed the Studio and Outreach Coordinator here at CMA, Stephanie Rybicki. Here are some interesting tidbits I unearthed:

On a regular basis, Stephanie…

Comes up with creative challenges for program participants.  For Girl Scout Day, she had scouts recreate portraits by George Bellows:

Bellows interpretation

A not-so-pleasant aspect of Stephanie’s job is…

Unclogging glue bottles! With so much programming going on all the time, Stephanie is constantly cleaning, organizing, and setting up for the next workshop. It’s a good thing she has interns to help her out;)

One of Stephanie’s favorite work days was…

When artist Oliver Herring performed TASK, during which CMA visitors were invited to do all kinds of crazy things. Stephanie helped by building a fort of streamers and sending streamer bombs flying across the room.

OliverHerringArt21SelfieWeb

Oliver Herring taking a selfie with a TASK participant

Stephanie has to mix the fun and hectic stuff with the boring and mundane stuff, just like any other job. Her most boring day was spent…

Sorting paper. To anyone interested in an internship here at CMA, we love people who can organize!

Stephanie will be leaving us soon, to pursue her career in the great state of Texas.  We are very sad. This experience has changed her by…

Making her more comfortable with silliness and being goofy. She can dress up like a “cat witch” (sorry, no picture), Photoshop glamour shots, or make tiny rats for a Caravaggio exhibit.

The lesson to be learned from Stephanie is that museum education can look like almost anything. So, stay on your toes and go with the flow!

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

- Susie Underwood, Manager for Studio Initiatives

In the Arms of the Willow

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How does one go about turning a Monet into music? Behind the scenes of Gallery of Echoes with Shadowbox’s Gabriel Guyer.

My name is Gabriel Guyer. I am 35 years old and the Bassist and Co-Composer for the Gallery of Echoes project, a multi-media, multi-disciplinary collaboration between Columbus Museum of Art and Shadowbox Live. I have been a Musician and Visual Artist my entire life. Gallery of Echoes in many ways is this fascinating culmination of my life’s experiences. Though I know this isn’t nearly the climax of my existence or my life as an artist, bringing these 2 art forms together in such a unique way is an event I have somehow always been moving towards.

I grew up in a house filled with Classic Rock from the 60s, 70s and 80s like The Doors, Steely Dan, Rush, Jimi, Zeppelin, etc. As I got older my tastes expanded into other genres of music like Soul, R & B and went deep into Rap and Hip Hop for a very long time while dabbling in Classical, Jazz, Lounge and World music along the way.

As a musician I began my life as a Vocalist. I picked up my first stringed instrument, the Violin, in the 4th grade. Soon after I switched to Trombone and stayed with it for several years. However as I reached High School I picked up the Guitar. Being a teenage male with a guitar taught me a lot about songwriting and how to express myself emotionally through my instrument (laugh). Several years later while working in the early days of Shadowbox Live, we lost our bass player. Out of necessity – though perhaps destiny – I picked it up and haven’t put it down since. It speaks for me and from my heart better than any other musical instrument I’ve ever touched.

As an artist, I grew up in a house that was filled with my mother’s Watercolors and Acrylics. She had a gift for sharing her imagination and feelings through abstract work – using mainly art nouveau and still life. Very expressive and very feminine works. I use pen and pencils in my Visual Art, but I have explored many various mediums throughout my life. I’ve never been a painter; in fact I’m terrible at it, so consequently it’s one of the mediums that fascinates me the most.

Perhaps needless to say, Art and Music have been two of the most import factors in my life.

French Impressionism has influenced me since I was young and Claude Monet has inspired and enlightened me through all of that time. For me, Monet’s work has always felt light and inviting. … the way that he could turn an everyday something or somewhere into a place that you wanted to be. He takes you into that world. As you stand at a distance looking at the whole picture, all you want is to be closer. You want to see more detail. But as you draw near, instead of revealing these details you see brushstrokes and texture. This almost blurred vision seems to help the piece to surround and envelop you.

I have seen many of Monet’s works and have been blessed to see several in person. I certainly do not know his entire catalogue of work. However from my experience, Weeping Willow is a very unique piece that the Columbus Museum of Art is lucky to have.

I had never seen a Monet like this before. It was very dark. As I walked up to this piece, explored its colors, and compared it to what I know of Monet – all I could think about was the intense and deep emotion he was expressing. Though I believe Monet is actually inviting us, the viewers, to this safe place where we may comfortably share the darker parts of ourselves.

As I came into writing the music for this piece, I really wanted to speak to each of these elements. The main time signature for the song accompanying this piece is an alternating 7/8 to 8/8 that feels good but is slightly off kilter. That directly speaks to my comparison this piece to his other works.

I also felt a somber, minor tone coming from the painting, which had something of an unexpected flow to it. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to use my chorus pedal and give it that fat, wavy tone to match the natural behavior of the piece.

The main guitar line was a perfect compliment to my languid bass line with each quick 16th note creating tiny, individual leaves on the limbs that tumbled down.

The keys fleshed out our environment with one laying the foundation of rolling hills that we don’t see in the actual artwork but are merely implied. All while the other keyboard creates a gentle breeze that moves the limbs slightly and invites you to come inside for your self-expression.

As we move into the heavier section of the song, it represents the emotion trapped within the weep of the willow. We have stepped under the canopy and are taking our moment to scream and release all of our anger and pain.

Now that we’ve let it out, we can begin to rebuild our confidence and courage – coming back out from beneath its branches. This leads us into my quiet solo section.  Here I tried to communicate the feeling of regrouping and just beginning to take new chances emerging and looking at the world with new eyes. You feel good. You feel lighter.

As the song flows into its outro, I see it as looking back to where our experience began and feeling the call of the willow as we did when we first stumbled across its path.

Perhaps not every song in Gallery of Echoes has given me the illumination that I feel with Weeping Willow, but every song most certainly has its own, unique experience. I truly believe that we, Light‘s performers and composers, have found a new and provocative way to express these wonderful works of art. I hope you will come share our interpretation. And perhaps you will have your own interpretations that wildly differ from ours, but that is exactly what this performance is meant to celebrate. The most beautiful thing about art is that it can be seen and felt in so many different ways.

I was able to smuggle out a rough copy of the recording to share with you. Please know this isn’t a finished product, but it will definitely help you understand the vision we have.

Weeping Willow by Light

Art inspired by art inspired by art.

Gallery of Echoes has only 7 performances at Shadowbox Live from May 1st – 4th

To get your tickets or more information on Gallery of Echoes, please visit the Shadowbox Live website. For more about Gabriel Guyer, visit the author’s website.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Guest Blogger, Gabriel Guyer, Bassist and Co-Composer for Gallery of Echoes

Artful Mother’s Day Brunch at Columbus Museum of Art

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Catch the last days of Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne, and treat your mom to a delicious and artful brunch at one of the most lovely spots in Columbus during our Mother’s Day Brunch on May 11, 2014. Enjoy spending the day exploring the galleries accompanied by a relaxing lunch in Derby Court.

Mother’s Day Brunch Menu
Smoked Salmon
Blueberry or Strawberry Stuffed French Toast / French Toast / Bacon
Prime Rib Carving Station
Fruit with Yogurt / Granola
Muffins, Crossaints, Bagel
Scones – Lemon Rosemary, Cranberry orange, blueberry
Honey, butter, clotted cream, jam
Hashbrowns
Berries with Russian Cream
Spring Vegetable Mix
Strawberry and Mixed Green Salad
Mini Cupcakes
Cheese Cake
For Kids – Chicken Fingers / Tater Tots / Mac & Cheese

Reservations available from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM (Space is Limited) Please call: 614.629.0359. Adults – $35, Special Member Price – $30; Children 12 and under – $15, Special Member Price – $12. Please note: Mother’s Day Brunch is now SOLDOUT. We may add some additional seatings.

Surge Columbus Ignite For Teens

Surge Columbus Ignite for Teens

We had tons of new teens in our space making beats in the sound booth, creating stencil art, and participating in button-making during last week’s Surge Columbus Ignite event. We met some truly inspiring teens and their families who are interested in creative after-school learning opportunities!

SURGE Columbus is a collaboration between Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Wexner Center for the Arts, WOSU Public Media, and COSI, and is made possible by a grant from Battelle Memorial Institute. Columbus is one of the few cities in the country to have this kind of innovative collaboration for teens.

Below are some more pictures from last week. Keep an eye out for the Surge Columbus segment on an upcoming episode of WOSU’s Broad & High.

Columbus Museum of Art’s SURGE: public space, Drop-In Studio Time for teens continues every Thursday from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Columbus teens are welcome to join us for this weekly drop-in program that includes pop up events in the Studio and Innovation Lab, experimenting with technology and art supplies, and just hanging out.

Surge Columbus Ignite

Surge Columbus

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

- Morgan Anderson, Columbus Museum of Art Teen Programs Coordinator

Gallery of Echoes: Art inspired by Art inspired by Art

Bierstadt King Lake California

Imagine if you stopped to look at a painting, it unfolds in front of you, moving through space to cover every inch of your vision…Music transforms the brush strokes into melodies and harmonies that become the painting’s soundtrack. And nearby, live performers may experience the work through dance, song, and spoken word.  Art inspired by art inspired by art.

These are the opening words to Gallery of Echoes, a multi-media, multi-disciplinary collaboration between Columbus Museum of Art and Shadowbox Live presented by PNC Arts Alive. According to Stev Guyer, Executive Director of Shadowbox Live, the singular production is the first of its kind.

“We were very excited to work with Shadowbox on this brand new kind of collaboration,” said CMA Executive Director Nannette V. Maciejunes. “Gallery of Echoes is a unique experience that bridges the gap between the visual and the performing arts. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced.”

To create Gallery of Echoes, Guyer and fellow members of the band Light selected works of art from the Museum’s collection and composed a 21 song cycle inspired by those works. Next, Chief Video Editor David Whitehouse designed an imaginative video segment inspired both by the visual art and the music written for it. Lastly, Shadowbox Live metaperformers were sprinkled throughout the production. The result is a completely original art form.

“As observers, we too often consider different disciplines of art as completely separate beasts,” said Guyer.  “But all art is connected at very base and very visceral levels.  ’Art inspired by art inspired by art.’  That is what Gallery of Echoes represents.”

Gallery of Echoes opens Thursday, May 1 with performances May 2 – 4. Students, seniors, military, and CMA members receive a $5 discount for all shows, except opening night.  For more information and reservations, call the Shadowbox Live Box Office at 614-416-7625 or go online at www.shadowboxlive.org.

Above: King Lake, California by Albert Bierstadt one of the more than 20 works from CMA’s collection used as inspiration for Shadowbox’s Gallery of Echoes.