Tag: creativity

Experiments in White

whiteoutsign

Elaine and her daughter Lydia were engrossed in looking when I met them. The object of their sustained concentration wasn’t a work of art; it was a new sign in the Center for Creativity called Whiteout.

“We can’t find the spatula; we’ve found everything but that!” Elaine looked to me for guidance.

As far as signs go, this one is atypical. It’s a 4′x 4′ plexi-glass box filled with shredded white paper. Imbedded, or camouflaged, in the paper are 19 assorted all-white objects such as a spatula, takeout box, ping pong ball, and headband. A list of the objects is posted on the wall nearby and visitors are invited to find them.

I’ve witnessed many visitors (and CMA staff) who are relentless in their search for all 19 objects. The sign is a not a work of art, but it is a curiosity. People gather together to point out objects found and hunt for the most elusive objects, the pipe cleaner and Q-tip.

whiteoutsign2This particular sign has been on display for just a few weeks. In that time, I’ve chatted with several people engaged in the hunt for white objects and I am somewhat surprised by our conversations. Several visitors think this sign is, in fact, a work of art. Others admit that they didn’t realize that it is actually a sign. (The lower portion of the box has large dimensional green words that spell out Center for Creativity.)

As a result of these conversations, I have been rethinking the purpose of this sign and its sister signs. The Whiteout sign is part of an on-going series of sign experiments for the Center for Creativity.

When we opened the Center in 2011, we knew that run-of-the-mill signage would not serve our experimental, playful, and even quirky philosophy. Instead we made several large plexiglass box-like signs that can be filled with different materials. We change out the “filler material” whenever we have the time and inclination, or about every 9 months. The one defining feature of the filler is the color; it’s always white. So far we’ve used packing peanuts (clingy), string mops (heavy), plumbing pipe pieces (very heavy), artificial birds (creepy), paper, and flowers.

The Center for Creativity signs filled with birds and string mops.

The Center for Creativity signs filled with birds and a string mops.

I am frequently asked why we only use white objects in these signs. The answer relates to design and creativity. First, I like white. And white is an effective visual background to the green Center for Creativity letters on the outside of the box. But more importantly, I established this color limitation as a personal creative challenge. What else can I find that is all white, not too expensive, small enough to fit in the boxes, and (new rule) not so heavy that the box will fall off the wall?

In fact, these signs embody many characteristics of creativity. They exemplify a willingness to experiment and take risks. They require divergent and imaginative thinking. They upend what is normal and expected.  And like many creative experiments, they may not be successful for their original purpose; I am willing to admit that they may have be failures as markers for our Center for Creativity spaces.

Yet, something interesting is happening when visitors engage with these quirky experiments in signage. And, heck, the world is full of so many other white objects. So for now, we will continue with our experiments in white.

If you have suggestions for filler, let us know.

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 LearnNow.org 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

5th Brandt Inspired Photo Hunt Challenge

Brandt Bees of Bees 2 2012 (detail 1)

The current round of CMA Photo Hunt assignments are inspired by our upcoming exhibition Matthew Brandt: Sticky/Dusty/Wet, which opens November 15, and is the first museum show for the hot Los Angeles based photographer. Brandt processes his photos using nontraditional materials such as bubble gum, honey bees, Pop rocks, and more, was recently named by Forbes the “Top 30 under 30 in art and design.”

Here Brandt embeds bees during the processing.With that in mind, respond with your take on the fifth challenge:

  • Capture something that reflects  “Embed” either in concept or process
  • Tag your work on Instagram with #CMAPhotoHunt and #Embed
  • For this fifth assignment you have until Friday November 22, 2013.
  • Please note: images must be your own. Anyone in the world can participate.

Once again our William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography Catherine Evans will select her favorites (based on the most creative entries, and ones that best represent the assignment), and your creation could grace the walls at Columbus Museum of Art. The third CMA Photo Hunt exhibition was on display July-October in our Community Gallery, and featured work inspired by our COLOR exhibition in the Big Idea Gallery.

CMA Photo Hunts are a digital complement to CMA collections and exhibitions, give participants an opportunity to flex their creativity, be inspired by works or themes in Columbus Museum of Art exhibitions or collections, and respond to creative challenges with their own visual take. Since our Photo Hunts began we have received more 4,000 submissions from hundreds of photographers from Seattle to Ohio to Paris to Russia. With our first exhibition last fall, we were first museum in the world to present a curated, crowdsourced installation based on the popular photo sharing app Instagram.

We’ll post the sixth and last in this series of Brandt-inspired Photo Hunt assignments here on our blog, and on Instagram on November 22.

Happy shooting!

(Bees of Bees 2, 2012 by Matthew Brandt, private collection).

4th Brandt Inspired Photo Hunt Challenge

Brandt, Lake Luis, WA 5

The current round of CMA Photo Hunt assignments are inspired by our upcoming exhibition Matthew Brandt: Sticky/Dusty/Wet, the first museum show for the hot Los Angeles based photographer. Brandt processes his photos using nontraditional materials such as bubble gum, honey bees, Pop rocks, and more.

Here Brandt in another one of Brandt’s Lakes and Reservoirs series, he uses lake water from Lake Luis is Washington in his large scale processing. So with that in mind, respond with your take on the fourth challenge:

  • Capture something that reflects  “Elemental” either in concept or process
  • Tag your work on Instagram with #CMAPhotoHunt and #Elemental
  • For this fourth assignment you have until Friday November 8, 2013.
  • Please note: images must be your own. Anyone in the world can participate.

Once again our William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography Catherine Evans will select her favorites (based on the most creative entries, and ones that best represent the assignment), and your creation could grace the walls at Columbus Museum of Art. The third CMA Photo Hunt exhibition is on display now through October in our Community Gallery, and features work selected by Evans.

CMA Photo Hunts give participants an opportunity to flex their creativity, be inspired by works or themes in Columbus Museum of Art exhibitions or collections, and respond to creative challenges with their own photographic take. Since our Photo Hunts began we have received more 4,000 submissions from hundreds of photographers from Seattle to Ohio to Paris to Russia. With our first exhibition last fall, we were first museum in the world to present a curated, crowdsourced installation based on the popular photo sharing app Instagram.

Watch for additional biweekly Photo Hunt assignments here on our blog, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

(Lake Luis, WA 5, 2012 by Matthew Brandt. From the series Lakes and Reservoirs, Chromogenic print soaked in Horse Thief Lake water. Private Collection)

2013 LEGO® DESIGN CHALLENGE

Lego650

Your LEGO® creation could be on display at the Columbus Museum of Art. Our 2013 LEGO® DESIGN CHALLENGE, presented by the Center for Creativity at the Columbus Museum of Art, is a design competition that promotes the creative and original use of LEGO® bricks. Design finalists will be exhibited at the Columbus Museum of Art November 8, 2013 – January 5, 2014 in conjunction with our Think Outside the Brick exhibition.  The competition is open to groups, families, teens, and kids. Click below for details on this year’s challenge.

2013 LEGO@ DESIGN CHALLENGE & Submission Details

Deadline for submissions: October 1, 2013

CMA Photo Hunt Gallery

Columbus Museum of Art is proud to be a leader and champion of the growing mobile photography community in Columbus, and around the globe through the CMA Photo Hunt project, an ongoing initiative to connect mobile photographers with art and each other. In 2012 CMA was the first museum in the world to present an exhibition of curated, crowd-sourced photographs shared through Instagram. To date Columbus Museum of Art has presented five mobile photography exhibitions from more than 7,000 images submitted from mobile photographers from around the world. Be sure to watch for our next big mobile photography news on the CMA blog and Instagram.

Read more about the inception of the Photo Hunt project in stories in The Columbus Dispatch, Art Daily, and Clic France, and Columbus Alive.

Take a look at the many creative entries since CMA Photo Hunts began.

#CMAPhotoHunt via Instagram

#CMAPhotoHunt via Twitter

#CMAPhotoHunt via Flickr

Adventure Out: Art Super Heroes

Adventure Out Celebration
May 5, 2012, 10 AM – 5 PM

What happens when art educators and a museum’s permanent collection intersect with preschoolers? Join us as we celebrate our Adventure Out program, an in-depth art program for preschoolers at OSU’s Schoenbaum Family Center in Weinland Park. In the galleries, experienced facilitators will guide playful conversations about Columbus Museum of Art’s collection. In the studio, families can participate in a special exploration project. Adventure Out is made possible by funding from JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

 

Paid to Play

If you spend time in the Wonder Room, chances are you will meet Alvin. Alvin White has a very important job at CMA.  He gets paid to play.

It may seem odd that we pay someone to play.  But many adults, and even some children, are not sure how to play at an art museum. Alvin shows them how.

He shows young couples how to make a silly face with common household objects.
He leads a family in a pirate adventure through the Fort.
He brings multiple families together to create a story out of clay.

What is his greatest challenge? To engage adults in this hands-on, family gallery. When an adult professes a lack of creativity, Alvin steps in to demonstrate the simple joy of making a newfangled animal or manipulating clay.

“It’s always interesting to see kids and adults think with their hands.” Alvin told me recently.  “When they get a chance to make something, or do something with their hands, it seems to get their brain working too.”

Alvin takes his playful job seriously. He has a special knack for leading visitors of all ages on a personal journey of looking, thinking, wondering, imagining, experimenting and playing.  An artist himself, Alvin encourages visitors to look closely at the great works of art throughout the gallery.

Although he enjoys spending time with visitors in the space, his biggest concern is what they take away from their experience. “I hope that families leave the Wonder Room with an expanded idea of what creativity is….and what art can be.  I show them that artists try to push the definition of what creativity is.  But it isn’t just about art.  Even if a visitor is an engineer, I want them to think, ‘oh a computer doesn’t have to be this…it can be that.’”

Alvin began working on the Wonder Room project as a volunteer, assisting artist Sean Foley with the fabrication and installation of Fort. Since then he has spent countless hours helping to make this unique gallery a success. He makes repairs, cleans up, and cares for hands-on activities throughout the museum. Although it may appear easy, his job would challenge most of us.  Playing is hard work, after all.

I asked Alvin how he would describe his role in the Wonder Room.  “The space is a vehicle for creativity.” he said, “I am just the person putting the pedal on the gas.”

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.

Merilee Mostov, Manager for Creative Initiatives

CMA Game Show Returns: Q & A with host Susie Starliner

CMA Game Show 2

This Friday is the return of Game Show 2 at CMA. To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s our interview with our fabulous host Susie Starliner.

How would you describe Game Show?
It’s really just a classic game show, but with a creative twist and an extra sexy host (me)!

What should we expect from the next CMA Game Show?
Expect more exceptionally witty banter from myself and co-host/hunk Tod Tabler with hot new games, cash bar, prizes and some super secret, super sexy special guest appearances!

Tell us about Wonderland and Fake Bacon’s involvement.
Well, I heard that there were a lot of really smart people in those groups, plus who could ignore all of the creativity coming out of Wonderland Columbus and the hilarity of the Fake Bacon crew?  I’m a woman that appreciates the talent that the Columbus community has to offer. Sexy!

What kinds of fabulous prizes can people win?
Anything from video games to spa treatments. All of the prizes are being sponsored by Small Business Beanstalk and come from local, independent businesses.

Do people have to participate or can they just watch and be entertained?
There will be plenty to keep people entertained, however, we encourage participation. It’s a chance to display your creativity, and Columbus has some VERY creative people. And, of course, if you press your luck, there’s a distinct possibility of a fondue pot in your future.

Can you tell us anything more about the grand finale game that Wonderland is creating?
Well let’s just say it will be the sequel of all sequels.

In the spirit of James Lipton…
What is your favorite word?

Sensuous.  It rolls off of my tongue like hot butter.

What is your least favorite word?

Impossible.

What turns you on?
Creativity, bocce ball and ’70s soul music.

What turns you off?
Doubters, and when Tod doesn’t wash his toupee!

What sound or noise do you love?
Squeals of excitement.

What sound or noise do you hate?
Whistle tips and that wah-wah-wah sound.

What is your favorite curse word?
I love you.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Professional Sherpa.

What profession would you not like to do?
Survey says: Air Traffic Controller.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Whoopee!

Game Show 2 returns to the Columbus Museum of Art this Friday July 22, 2011 from 8 – 10 pm. Purchase advance Game Show tickets or some tickets may be available at the door. You can also RSVP on Facebook.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Jennifer Poleon, Digital Communications Manager