By Teens for Teens

“Teens need a program that will make them believe that something is possible for them.” Dyshawn – CMA Art Lab Teen Intern

You may have seen one of CMAʼs 15 member strong Art Lab Teen Collective (ALT-C) in the halls of the museum shooting scenes for video projects, asking museum patrons with help filling out questionnaires or working with visiting artists on projects in the galleries. These are the same teens that took over Columbus Museum of Art last spring with fashion shows, live entertainment, street art and other radical forms of museum engagement. See the blog post here for more information about the event.

Columbus Museum of Art is on the cusp of engaging in a transformation of how we work with, program for, engage, value, and support teens in the Columbus community. We believe that continuously developing new ways to authentically engage teens is essential to the mission of CMA and the Center for Creativity as part of our effort to become a resource hub, and catalyst for great things in our community.

How do we inspire teens? What changes do we need to make in our museum community to make teen programing even better? How do we encourage teens in our Columbus community to be involved with the CMA? These are just some of the questions we set out to explore with some insightful members of the CMA community by hosing a teen focus group.

The focus group is a dynamic and integral part of our museumʼs effort to create great new teen programming. On Thursday July 26th a few ALT-C teens gathered in the Center for Creativityʼs Innovation Lab to zero in on what CMA could do to support teens to feel connected to their community, to be eager to learn, and to feel empowered to create positive change.

Weʼll do our best to make them proud. Look as new teen programs, inspired by this teen focus group, roll out this Fall.

For more information about CMA teen programs please contact Kristin Lantz, School Programs Coordinator at or (614) 270-3501.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Kristen Lantz, School Programs Coordinator

Curator’s Choice: CMA Photo Hunts Round 1

As promised Catherine Evans, William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography, has selected some of her favorite CMA Photo Hunt submissions out of the hundreds of great entries tagged so far. See what she chose from the Sign of the Times, Resourcefulness and Joy assignments, and what she has to say about why they work so well.

Sign of the Times Assignment

In this photo from Nick Carron (@urbancurse), verticals and horizontals are in harmony and intention with one another. It has an industrial feel, but has this human touch with the handwritten instructions.


This is an elegant reference to our current housing problem with a good use of filters to underscore a distressed situation. Nice work by @_Thisspace_.


A big and bold sign with a provocative imperative challenge in this shot from Tim Courlas  (@durtball).


Resourcefulness Assignment

This was a tougher assignment, however this picture by @mamawooste clearly embraces the resourcefulness theme. It’s an interesting use of recycling and meta-messaging all in one.



The light lands perfectly on the baby, and makes her the surprising center of this photograph from @uponadaydreamer.


Energy, movement and water come together in this dynamically cropped shot from Nick Carron (@urbancurse). The empty space in between is an effective compositional strategy.


Even without an actual human being, this is the perfect icon of summer joy in this picture from @LittleMissLibrarian.


Looking forward to seeing what you submit, and choosing favorites from the next several assignments. Great work from everyone who has tagged their photos so far!

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Catherine Evans, CMA’s William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography




Art Lab Teens Take Over CMA

Thirteen teens set out to change the way you experience the Columbus Museum of Art.

Art Lab is a teen internship program at the Columbus Museum of Art. Our interns from The Arts and College Preparatory Academy, Focus Learning Academy, and Columbus Alternative High School worked all year long to plan a day of events and programming that truly engaged their community.

The Art Lab teens were challenged with thinking about alternative learning environments, making everyone feel welcome in a museum and how the museum can be relevant to everyone’s lives, including teens.

Can people change how we interact with art in a museum setting? Our Art Lab teens think so. They examined the perception of teens in roles of power and responsibility, inclusiveness of museums, and what real community engagement at museums can look like.

We brought our Art Lab interns in on a recent Sunday to put their plans into action. They were on a mission to create a museum experience like none other.

Tommy found that parts of the museum seemed inaccessible so created a barrier to artwork. Latisha and Jessica included a fashion show to the museum halls. All garments were inspired by trends seen in the artwork of the museum. Aaron played live music throughout the museum. Jarred curated an exhibition with five urban artists. Jacob created a recorded sound scape for CMA’s New Materials Gallery.

It was quite the engaging Sunday! We are lucky to have our museum embrace youth as valued guests, to highlight their creative learning processes, and to embark on a future of informal learning and alternative ways of thinking about museum experiences.

What will our teen interns bring in the 2012-2013 school year? Well that is a question for a new group of teens with fresh ideas.

To be continued…

“Before Art Lab I did not feel like I had a place in the museum. I was nervous to interact with the art or engage in talking with people about art. Now I feel like those boundaries have been taken down.” – Tommy

For more information about the Art Lab teen program please contact Kristin Lantz at

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Kristin Lantz, School Programs Coordinator

West Garden Opens, A Natural Partnership

The way we use our leisure time, directly affects our quality of life. Opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and exercise our minds and our bodies are more important than ever. That’s why I am so proud of our partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art and the newest downtown public green space, CMA’s new West Garden.

From the beginning of this project, Columbus Recreation and Parks has been proud of our partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art and our shared commitment to the vibrancy of our community.

The new West Garden celebrates the outdoors in an accessible garden setting that insures visitors are ‘naturally’ welcomed to the world of art whenever they visit.

Photo: Director of Alan McKnight Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and CMA Executive Director Nannette Maciejunes open the new CMA West Garden; photo by Heather Maciejunes

- Alan D. McKnight, Director Columbus Recreation and Parks Department

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

The Thrill of Creative Gardening

After a relatively mild winter, spring and summer in Columbus is quickly on its way. I love the this time of year: the warmer weather, the baby animals, lighter clothes and jackets and, of course, the green sprouts of new plants. While my thumb is only somewhat green, I do love to garden! Being able to grow and harvest my own vegetables and flowers just brings me so much joy. I also think gardening is a great family activity; between the planting, weeding, composting, mulching, watering, and harvesting, there is plenty for adults and children to do together. And who doesn’t love the excitement and anticipation of checking the plants daily to watch them pop up out of the ground and turn into beautiful flowers or tasty food?

One of the things I love about gardening is it’s so versatile; anyone can grow a garden. All you need is some dirt, seeds, water, sunlight and voila! The plants do the rest on their own. Even if you have a tiny yard, porch, patio, or even just a windowsill, you can still grow a garden with just a little extra planning and creativity. If you’ve never tried to grow a garden before, I encourage you and your family to give it a try. Stop by your local garden center (I like Straders and Oakland Park Nursery, but I also often shop at Home Depot or Lowe’s) and ask the nursery staff for their recommendations based on your gardening availability. I’ve found that most peppers, tomatoes, herbs, bulb flowers, wildflowers, and perennials are fairly easy to grow, even in pots. For those of you who are more experienced gardeners, I encourage you to try growing something new this year. I think I’m finally going to try my hand at some beans and potatoes, which I’m really excited about. If you have any helpful tips, please let me know.

If you’re really pressed for space, you can even try guerrilla gardening with projects such as seed bombs. We had a lot of fun creating seed bombs during the March 1st Saturdays. This great project was led by 1st Saturdays Instructor Renee Zamora. Here’s directions to create your own seed bombs.

There are also many blogs and websites devoted to gardening, some of which I’ve listed here for you to check out:
For creative gardening and unique containers:

Kid-friendly gardening tips to help everyone in your family get involved:

I wish you success in your gardening ventures, and I hope your family enjoys it as much as I do! If you’d like to share your garden stories or photos with us, please send them to

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Dayna Jalkanen, Educator for Family Programs

Teens, Photography, & Columbus

Utilizing the power of photography to engage teens in socially relevant conversations, the Columbus Museum of Art’s Columbus In Focus program invites students from two Columbus City high schools, Linden McKinley and Marion Franklin, to examine the rich history of Columbus and document it during the Columbus Bicentennial. With these photographs, students invite you into their world as they uncover their communities past, confront today’s most pressing issues, and explore their place in their city and the world at large.

This years participants also looked to extend their reach into the community. Three students from Linden McKinley helped create QR Code plaques that are installed in locations thoughout Columbus. These plaques direct viewers to their exhibition at CMA and online resources located on this page.

To see more student work please visit the Columbus In Focus Flickr Group or check out the Columbus Underground story on the Columbus In Focus program.

The work the In Focus students created is on view at CMA May 3 – September 8, 2012. Columbus In Focus will also dovetail with CMA’s Radical Camera exhibition, which highlights the work of the Photo League, the pioneering documentary photography movement of the 1930s and 1940s. For more information about the Columbus In Focus teen photography program please contact Kristin Lantz at

The Focus program is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and Puffin Foundation West, Ltd.


Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Kristin Lantz, School Programs Coordinator

Healing Power of Art & Art Therapy

Art and its therapeutic uses are highlighted in the new exhibition in the Community Gallery at the Columbus Museum of Art. In Art & Therapy: The Therapeutic Benefits of Art we highlight how local Columbus hospitals, community groups, and private therapy practices use art and art therapy to aid in mental and physical treatment and recovery. The career of Don Jones, a founding member of the American Art Therapy Association, will be shown in a documentary, alongside his own artwork.  Work from Zeller & Associates private counseling and art therapy, will highlight art therapy as it is incorporated into traditional therapy practices.  Pieces from HomeReach Hospice Expressive Arts Therapy illustrate the process of offering support to terminally ill patients and their families.  Selections from the Goodwill Columbus Art Studio & Gallery show the unique work of adults with disabilities.  A small display of work from Courage Unmasked is also on display, to highlight this program which partners cancer survivors with artists to create artwork out of radiation masks. Art & Therapy will be on display through May 31, 2012.

To celebrate Art & Therapy, we’ll be hosting a free public reception Thursday March 8, 2012 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Susie Underwood, Studio Programs Coordinator


12 for 12

In honor of the Columbus Bicentennial, each month throughout 2012 we will highlight a local Columbus artist from the Museum’s collection. Look for “12 for 12″ blog posts each month, plus follow us on Facebook and Twitter for interesting tidbits about the artists’ life and work. To kick things off we’re starting with George Bellows.

George Wesley Bellows (1882 – 1925) was arguably the most celebrated American painter of his generation. Born in Columbus, Ohio, he attended The Ohio State University, where he played on the varsity baseball and basketball teams. Bellows left Columbus in 1904 to study art in New York City, quickly becoming associated with the charismatic artist Robert Henri and his artistic group later characterized by the term Ashcan School. Bellows’ work exemplified Henri’s call to depict the experience of the everyday, often gritty working-class, world around him.  “It seems to me,” he wrote, “that an artist must be a spectator of life: a reverential, enthusiastic, emotional spectator, and then the great dramas of human nature will surge through his mind.”  The artist’s facile brushwork perfectly conveyed the teeming vitality and heady brashness of human and natural drama.

By his mid-twenties, Bellows had risen from art student to art luminary, winning nearly every major award in the art world, and becoming a member of the prestigious National Academy at the young age of twenty-seven. His dazzling career, however, was brief; he died tragically at the age of forty-three from a ruptured appendix. In his short professional life, Bellows created an enormous body of work that includes more than seven hundred paintings, almost two hundred editions of lithographs, and an equal number of drawings. He is celebrated equally for his seascapes, portraits, city snow scenes, and socially engaged genre, as he is for his depictions of working-class urban life. The Columbus Museum of Art has one of the largest and most important collections of works by Bellows in the world.

Critical Thinking & Art

What would you say if someone asked you, “What really matters to you?” It seems like that might be a straightforward question, but take a moment to think about it. Now think about what you might have said when you were in the 7th grade …

This is the second year I’ve had the opportunity to co-teach with the social studies teachers at the Columbus Collegiate Academy. This small charter school serves around 100 middle school students from Columbus’s urban center. Due to a generous grant from Chase Bank, we have been able to partner with this school and create a program entitled “Critical Works” that utilizes art to foster critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity.

We start by asking the students what critical thinking looks like. What do you do when you are being critical? When you are thinking? One student responded, “I hear the root word ‘critic,’ so you’re being a critic and forming an opinion.” To my question about thinking one student said, “You are expanding your view of the world.” Throughout my time with the teachers and students at CCA, I have considered myself a co-learner. As I ask the students to think, form an opinion, question, take risks, I am doing this along side them as a teacher. We bring a selection of prints to the school that deal with social issues such as inequality, poverty, oppression and race relations. I was impressed with the connections the students were able to make to historical events, literature, and our modern culture.

If you haven’t heard Steve Johnson’s TED talk, “Where Good Ideas Come From” it is worth a look. He explains how ideas come from conversation … not in isolation. I can see this in the classroom when the students are debating and analyzing the art works. When looking at Thomas Hart Benton’s print entitled “Jessie and Jake,” the discussion went from Little Red Riding Hood, to child abduction to No Child Left Behind.

The students are asked to make a statement about a social issue that really matters to them. It surprised me that these students had very little trouble coming up with issues that they cared about. One student wrote about the ways African-Americans are portrayed negatively in the media. Other students chose issues such as gang violence, bullying, and immigration. The teachers held class debates and we spent time brainstorming, discussing the issues and gathering research.

For the final project the students created hand-printed flags that make a statement about their social issue. We asked students to consider words and symbols that would communicate their message, and also where they would install their flag to have the greatest impact.

When we asked Catera where she wanted to install her flag about HIV AIDS, her reply was, “Well, at first I told my mom I was going to put it on her car … but she said I wasn’t going to put it on her car, so I’ll put it on my dad’s car.”

Well, art is often controversial so I take that as a measure of success.

Over the past 18 months, in preparation for opening CMA’s new Center for Creativity (on Jan. 1, 2011), the entire education staff immersed ourselves in research on creativity, particularly what is necessary to cultivate creativity.  Musings from the Center for Creativity is an opportunity for us to share our thoughts on this topic.  Please share your views and resources with us, as well.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Emily Reiser, Educator for Family Programs

Holiday Shopping Gets a Handmade Makeover

I love the holiday season. I really do. I love the lights, the music, the decorations, the baking, the shopping, and, most of all, the Christmas tree. I know that many people (including my roommate, who has been proclaiming “Bah Humbug” for at least a month now) hate the bustle and craziness, the traffic and long lines. And, of course, one of the biggest complaints about the season is the commercialism. Somehow, the Christmas shopping season seems earlier and earlier every year, and all of the emphasis is placed on getting the best deals and the most fashionable and expensive presents.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like presents—both the giving and the receiving of them. However, I decided this year I’d like to try something other than going to the crowded mall and checking out the same stores and websites. I’m ready to give something unexpected. An obvious solution to my present conundrum is to shop (or make) handmade.

One of the things I like best about living in Columbus is its great art and craft culture. I am a crafter myself, but I mostly scrapbook and occasionally make cards, so my present creation is pretty limited (I’ve been working sporatically on a Colorado vacation scrapbook for my parents for about 3 years now). But I love to see what other artists and crafters create, and it’s so much more fun to buy unique, handmade items than it is to walk around a store where everything is made overseas via mass production and it all looks all the same. I also think it’s great that craft items now range from kitschy and fun, such as Nintendo-themed jewelry, all the way to elegant and beautiful, such as gorgeous mohair knit scarves and sweaters. The Columbus art and craft community is chock-full of presents that are personal and cool and full of soul. They are a delight to give, as well as to receive, and it’s so satisfying to actually be able to talk to and meet with (or at least email) the creator of your presents before buying them.

I may still pick up a movie or two, or perhaps a requested book, but my plan for my holiday shopping this year is to go unique and shop handmade. I even got off to a head start at Wholly Craft and the Craftin Outlaws fair last month. Should the holiday spirit really start to kick in, I may even make a thing or two (or finish that scrapbook for mom and dad).  It may just be the best holiday gift season yet!

If you, too, would like to do some of your own craft shopping, or even make some of your own gifts, you may want to check out Holiday Craftacular Spectacular at CMA on December 11. Workshops will take place all day that will allow you to create everything from polymer food charm beads to festive gift tags, plus shop from local vendors for your own handmade holiday gifts. For Craftacular Spectacular tickets click here.

Over the past 18 months, in preparation for opening CMA’s new Center for Creativity (on Jan. 1, 2011), the entire education staff immersed ourselves in research on creativity, particularly what is necessary to cultivate creativity.  Musings from the Center for Creativity is an opportunity for us to share our thoughts on this topic.  Please share your views and resources with us, as well.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Dayna Jalkanen, Educator for Family Programs