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

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.

Project Pivot Teens at Roy G. Biv Gallery


If you were one of the more than 500 visitors to this month’s Gallery Hop in the Short North, you might have been stopped by a strange traveler outside of the ROY G BIV Gallery, and beckoned onwards to explore a magical realm of cosmic wonder…

Who are these mystical beings? Interstellar travelers? Creatures from another dimension? Nay! Secrets of the Cosmos, open at ROY G BIV Gallery through March, was produced and executed by a collective of 20 young artists with whom I work as part of CMA’s Project Pivot. Now it its fourth and final year, Project Pivot is a four-year research project partnering with the Arts and College Preparatory Academy (ACPA). The teaching team includes ACPA teachers, as well as, teaching artists from CMA. The program follows an emergent curriculum model, flexing the content of the curriculum to respond to student interests.

Project Pivot began in the 2010-2011 school year, giving students the opportunity to remain with Project Pivot for all four years of high school. CMA is conducting formal evaluation to help us uncover the benefits of this experimental approach to high school education. Project Pivot is generously funded by the Ingram White Castle Foundation and the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation

So how does a collective of 20 young artists go from this to this?:


Creating a show like Secrets of the Cosmos is the work of several months. As spectacular as the performance itself was, the hard work and effort the students put forth in its conception and installation was, itself, amazing to watch.

Though I would love to share with all of you the entire process, in the interest of time, and because they say it better than I do, here are the Pivoteers’ thoughts about the process of installing and performing for an audience of 300+ strangers in a public gallery:


“It was fun to set up but you got a really serious sense about it, like “oh, this surreal, we’re really making our ideas happen now?”

“It was kind of a reality check in a sense. It was like “this is really happening, we are gonna do this in front of so many people.’ It was kind of nerve wracking”


“Having people help you… it’s a lot easier.”

“Everybody was talking and helping everyone out.”

“It was exhausting but exciting at the same time just to know all the work we have been doing for the past several weeks would be presented to an important audience.”


“I was nervous in a good way. There was kind of a little rush of people and the energy in our room was very high, and eerie, and there were like butterflies in my tummy.”


“The whole thing is a cycle, and in the project, the process felt like that. Some people even came back through again, so it’s true that the end of something is really the beginning of something else.”

“We are so lucky to have had an opportunity like this. I think it was the best it could’ve been, I’m so fortunate for the amazing things we are doing and becoming.”

Over the course of this year, our students have thought, questioned, searched, reflected, made, remade, learned and relearned, tried things out, got silly, got serious and, in the end, created something unforgettable to share with their community. As an educator, I get to see and delight in all these moments of discovery. I am honored and grateful to have had this chance, and I can’t wait to see where these students go from here, both with their final project (sunset, at Glen Echo Park!) and beyond.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Cat Lynch, Teaching Artist for School Initiatives

Art Lab Teens and Social Sundays


Art Lab’s most recent Social Sunday was a fun and engaging learning experience for both our teen interns and Museum visitors. Art Lab teens drew inspiration from artists who work with unconventional materials to create engaging artwork.  The teens specifically looked at work by Cole Blaq, an artist exhibited in CMA’s Think Outside the Brick exhibition, and Jan Vormann, an artist who created a collaboration called Dispatchwork.  Both artists work with LEGO, an unconventional medium easily relatable to audiences of all ages.

Art Lab interns decided to use the ideas of unconventional materials and engaging artwork to create an interactive experience for museum visitors. Using storytelling as a relatable medium and performance as a means of engaging communication, the Art Lab teens created six distinct experiences throughout the hallways, galleries, and public spaces of CMA.


If you joined us for the last Social Sunday, you may have noticed an interesting character making shadow puppets with visitors in the Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne: Paris 1880 – 1910 exhibition.  Or perhaps, in the European gallery, you saw Bathsheba come to life as two ladies-in-waiting pampered guests like royalty while facilitating a discussion about the painting’s history and potential meanings.  Or maybe you simply heard the sounds of a dedicated violist practicing her craft while challenging visitors to consider something they would like to improve upon.  Our Art Lab interns engaged museums visitors in dialogues about art, society, and life through both performance and play. Challenging themselves to overcome feelings of awkwardness and shyness, our teens put themselves out there to create truly unique and meaningful experiences for Museum guests.


Art Lab interns will hold their third Social Sunday on March 16, 2014 from 1:00-3:00 PM, and their final Social Sunday of the year will be held on Mother’s Day, May 11th from 1:00-4:00 PM.  Join us to experience what these awesome teens have to share. And as always, Sundays are IHeartFreeSundays, with free admission, including special exhibitions.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Sohayla M. Pagano, CMA Education Intern

Art of Matrimony Gallery


For more than two thousand years, the ketubbah, or Hebrew marriage contract, has been an integral part of Jewish culture. Found in the homes of married Jews, whether wealthy or poor, scholar or layman, in the West or in the East, ketubbot provide a wealth of information concerning the artistic creativity and cultural interactions of Jewish communities. As testimonies to the sacredness of marriage, works of art, and repositories of Jewish history, these magnificent treasures offer insights and delights in equal measure.

Our Art of Matrimony exhibition (April 1, 2014 – June 15, 2014) features diverse ketubbot dating from the twelfth through the twenty-first centuries.

Join our online gallery of ketubbot by uploading a photo of your decorated marriage contract to Instagram and tag it #CMAketubbah.

Can We Really “Study” the Visual Arts?

The creativity of LEGO

Cindy Foley, the director of education at Columbus Museum of Art, wrote an article for asking the question “Can We Really ‘Study’ the Visual Arts?” In the article, she shares a unique perspective on what the visual arts can do for students—and why our kids need quality arts experiences now more than ever.

Here’s an excerpt:
At a time when politicians, policy makers, and educators are hand wringing over how we can develop creative thinkers who can begin to address the problems of our time, we can do something about it. Young children naturally think like artists, and with our encouragement, advocacy, and steadfast belief, we will help them develop lifelong habits that will sustain them into adulthood. Our future counts on it.

Read the full story.

(Pictured above: a creation made during Doodles, a Columbus Museum of Art drop-in program for adults and children 6 up who can experiment with fun materials and create art together.)

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Cindy Foley, Director of Education

Why Not Try

CFC blog photo

Why not try is a new mantra I’ve been trying to wrap my head around. I have a CMA visitor to thank for this statement.  It was in the form of a tape creation at one of our in-gallery activities in the Center for Creativity, and now hangs at my desk as a daily reminder.  I arrived one morning to see it hung among the dozens of other tape creations made over a busy weekend.  It caught my attention immediately.  I think I may have laughed at the pure simplicity and boldness of it.  I said it aloud.  “Why NOT try?”

We try lots of new things here at CMA. We try new materials. We ask visitors what they’ve tried during their visit to CMA that day on our Join the Conversation board.  We try to make visitors feel welcome, comfortable, and give them permission to create, experiment, and have fun.  As an employee who spends a lot of time in the galleries, I am particularly conscious of each of our visitor’s experience.  I want visitors, of all ages, to feel that CMA is a place they can explore and try new things.

Sometimes I hear visitors get discouraged at an in-gallery activity, feeling they might fail.  They’re hesitant to try something that is new and unfamiliar.  Gavin and his grandmother came to CMA on a quiet weekday morning to explore the newly re-imagined Wonder Room.  They joined me at an area where visitors are encouraged to draw a tree.  The grandmother immediately began to try the white pencil on the black paper, making various branches.  Gavin was hesitant.  “I’m not a good artist,” he stated.  “What makes you say that?”  I asked him.  “I can’t draw.” he replied.  Grandmother and I didn’t take that as a good reason.  We were encouraging and persistent.  “Just try and experiment with the white pencil on the black paper,” we suggested.  Grandmother and I continued to draw and doodle.  Gavin slowly made a mark on his paper. Over the next 15 minutes Gavin tried numerous tree drawings, making different markings, sharing his wonderings out loud with his Grandmother and me; “This kind of looks like a shoe when it’s upside down…”  Drawing and talking together became an enjoyable activity for all three of us.

I want all visitors to draw a tree, or put a puzzle together, or make a design using colored tape and note cards, or build something using only white LEGOs.  Trying something creative can be scary, or overwhelming, or confusing, but that’s okay.  There is no failure in trying.  Something wonderful could happen while you’re trying it out!  The important question is, why NOT try?

By Kelsey Cyr, Visitor Engagement Assistant

Art Lab, Project Pivot, and Teens at CMA


If you happened to be in the museum on Wednesdays recently, you may have noticed the surplus of high-school-aged youth engaging in various activities. Project Pivot, the 4-year partnership with the Arts and College Preparatory Academy (, is a high school program that experiments with formal and informal learning. Pivot and Art Lab meet every Wednesday. Pivot in the Studio and Ready Room and Art Lab in the Innovation Lab.

Art Lab, the out-of-school internship kicked off its first day recently with a photo shoot, gallery tour, sound booth intro, and zine workshop. More than 30 teens from four area high schools applied to the program and scheduled interviews with CMA staff. Only 15 were selected to participate, including Art Lab alumni who applied to come back for a second year.

From October until May, teen programming staff and mentors will be pushing teens to re-define what it means to be an artist, either as a profession or a way of existing curiously in the world. Members of the program will be encouraged to evaluate community need, and will be given resources to conceptualize events for museum visitors on our free Sundays.

In mid-November, Kansas City based artist, Sean Starowitz will be working with both Art Lab and Project Pivot on respective program initiatives. One of the reasons Sean was picked to work with our teens, is due to his belief that socially engaged art brings people together in unique ways, which create pathways for meaningful interactions, conversations, and experiences.  Art Lab’s first Social Sunday of the year will be a collaboration between Art Lab teens, CMA staff, Starowitz, and museum-goers alike. Stop in Sunday, November 17 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM to see what Art Lab teens have in store.

TeensatCMAThis Thursday November 14 will also be our first Drop-in Studio times for teens from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Teens can hang out together and check out our Studio and Innovation Lab, mess around with Garageband, PhotoShop, a sound booth, and green screens, plus Studio time with art supplies, crafts, and a sewing machine. All are welcome, no registration requested.

Interested in serving on the Teen Event Council? The Teen Council meets monthly on the second Wednesday of each month from 4:30 PM -6:00 PM, rotating between COSI and the Columbus Museum of Art. Contact Morgan Anderson for details.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Morgan Anderson, Teen Programs Coordinator

Help us Reimagine the Wonder Room

Columbus Museum of Art’s beloved Wonder Room is being transformed into a mysterious and playful forest filled with great art and one-of-a-kind hands-on activities designed by local artists and crafts people. The Wonder Room is our unique and dynamic gallery environment in the Center for Creativity, where visitors of all ages discover great works of art AND make, imagine, and play together. But what is a forest without woodland creatures?

We’ve commissioned Heidi Kambitsch of Openheartcreatures to design and create new costumes for Wonder Room visitors to use in its new woodland environment. Visitors will be able to discover, imagine and play with masks, capes, headgear, footwear, claws, paws, wings and things inspired by trolls and bats and trees and birds.

Read more on the project, and how you help us transform the Wonder Room into a magical forest! All donors to the Wonder Room project  will receive an invitation to a special opening event for the new Wonder Room at CMA on December 14. Give here through through the new Power2Give initiative. Thanks to the generosity of Chase Bank, donations will be matched.

Please note: the Wonder Room will be closed starting November 4 while we reimagine the space. Be sure to visit us to see all the exciting changes.

How We Make Art in the CMA Center for Creativity

Summer Art Workshops 2013

As we head full steam ahead into the school year, I am taking some time to reflect on Summer Art Workshops (SAW), why they are awesome, and how we can infuse the same energy into our school year programs, such as our Studio Thinking workshops or Home School workshops.

As the Manager for Studio Initiatives here at CMA, I may be just a bit biased, but I sincerely believe that these workshops are really special. This is no accident.  We’ve been working for years to hone our vision around art-making here at CMA, and Summer Art Workshops exemplify a lot of the philosophies we hold dear.  So, here’s the quickie list of how we make art in the CMA Center for Creativity.

1.    Ideas come first.  These workshops aren’t about painting, building, or sewing. They are about creative thinking, imagination, play, risk-taking, and all that good stuff. However, learning new skills becomes necessary to turn creative ideas into reality. This means increased relevance and sense of purpose for everyone.
2.    Students and instructors as co-learners and artist collaborators. While ideal instructors are practicing artists, adept at a variety of media, expecting them to be an expert in everything is ridiculous. The best instructors are not afraid to take risks and learn with the students.
3.    Workshops allow for surprises and oddities. Our student artists have wonderful, weird ideas.  We try to structure our workshops in a manner to allow those ideas to unfold naturally, which can result in some hilarious results if we allow it (and we do).
4.    The world is our museum. Not only do we use the CMA galleries to provoke imagination and storytelling, but our workshops are inspired by the art of the everyday. From high fashion to haunted houses, anything can be fodder for creative exploration.
5.    The Center for Creativity is an excellent resource. Not only do we get a sunny Studio with a bright green floor and bunch of fun toys (spray booth, exposure unit, etc), we also have the Innovation Lab, our tech studio, with adjustable lighting, a projection screen and tons of useful technology (green screen, laptops). Having these resources means high quality programming.

Now that SAW is over (phew!), we’re gearing up for Doodles, Day of Play, Girl Scout Day, and a gazillion other programs involving art-making.  Whether the program is for families, scouts, homeschoolers, or a school field trip, we will try to construct each experience as playful co-creators, encouraging our student artists to experiment and think, just like real artists!

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Susie Underwood, Manager for Studio Initiatives