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

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