Neighborhoods #MyCMAStudio Challenge

Exploring your neighborhood can conjure up lots of creativity and inspiration.
Use the prompts provided to inspire you throughout the month. What can you create that represents your neighborhood?
Collecting data on repeating items and patterns.
How many streetlights, stop signs and fire hydrants do you encounter? Can you compare the differences in mailboxes or front doors? What patterns do you see in the sidewalks and on the streets? What are the buildings around you made from: metal, wood, brick?
Who frequents your neighborhood?
Do you see lots of children at play? Are their people out walking their dogs? Is everyone in a hurry? Are people walking in large groups or on their phones?
What kind of story can you create from the familiar faces?
When do things change?
How do the seasons effect your neighborhood? What used to exist in your neighborhood that’s no longer there? What changes would you like to see? How would those changes affect your daily life or that of your neighbors?
What sounds do you hear?
Can you observe the sounds in the morning, the afternoon and at night? How do they change? When is it the loudest? What images represent the noise?
How can you celebrate your neighborhood?
What characteristics define your neighborhood that make them special to you? How can you depict those elements in your work? What makes a neighborhood worth celebrating? Is it the neighbors? Is it a space you frequent?
Explore the theme of Neighborhoods by challenging yourself to sketch, photograph and observe the space that makes up your home.
Join us for free online programs that continue to explore this theme with teaching artists in partnership with Streetlight Guild and Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.
2/4: Creative Happy Hour
2/11: Creative Mindfulness
Tuesdays at 4pm Studio Workshops + Aminah Workshops
Share your creativity with us by tagging us on social media with #myCMAstudio
#myCMAstudio is a digital version of our drop- in program, Open Studio. Which is currently unavailable to the public due to Covid-19, and part of CMA’s JPMorgan Chase Center for Creativity Studio to explore ideas, solve creative challenges, and collaborate with friends and family.
Pick up a Studio in a Box with all the supplies and materials needed to aid you in our weekly challenges.

Image credit:
Unknown American Artist
Unidentified Photographer
[Man with Camera in Neighborhood] , c. 1950
Gelatin silver print
2 9/16 x 2 1/2 in. (6.5 x 6.3 cm)
Gift of Peter Cohen

Envisioning the Future: Vision Boards 2.0

Welcome to 2021!

With every new year we all have the opportunity to rethink our goals and hopes for the future. While we can never predict what will happen from one day to the next, we can always dream.
Many people make vision boards around the new year. Vision boards are fun and simple collages that express things that we don’t have but would like to have in the future.

(Example of a vision board)

In this project, we will take the same idea of a vision board but use a variety of materials from markers, paint, decorative papers, magazines, old newspapers, drawings, found objects, fabric or whatever you have around the house.
Before you begin to create, I first invite you to close your eyes for 2-5 minutes. While your eyes are closed think about all the good and positive things you wish to see in the future. This could be something you would like to see later today, in a week, a year, several years or during a lifetime. Consider things you want for yourself, your community, the country and/or the world.
Lastly, were there any images ( ie. Blue skies, birds, houses) or words (i.e. health, family, prosperity) that come immediately to mind? If so, make sure to represent this in your work in some way.
Here are a few examples I created:

Remember, stay positive and happy creating!!!

Artwork and prompt created by April Sunami in partnership with Art in House by the Ohio Alliance of Art Education.
April Sunami is a professional visual artist primarily focusing on mixed-media painting and installation. She earned her Master of Arts Degree in Art History from Ohio University and her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Ohio State University. Sunami is also an award-winning installation artist through the 2012 Columbus Art Pop-Up Project sponsored by the Greater Columbus Arts Council. Her work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums including the Columbus Museum of Art, National African America Museum and Cultural Center and the Southern Ohio Museum. Sunami is married to writer and philosopher Christopher Sunami. They both live in Columbus, OH and co-parent two bright and imaginative kids.

Find a CMA Studio Challenge that speaks to you and share your creations on social media by tagging #myCMAstudio.

#myCMAstudio is a digital version of our drop- in program, Open Studio. Which is currently unavailable to the public due to Covid-19, and part of CMA’s JPMorgan Chase Center for Creativity Studio to explore ideas, solve creative challenges, and collaborate with friends and family.

Pick up a Studio in a Box with all the supplies and materials needed to aid you in our weekly challenges or allow our CMA educators to guide kids 1- 8th grade in an free online Studio Workshop.

The Story Behind Our LEGO Schokko

Read the story behind our Lego Schokko, described by one of our docents Sheryl Ellcessor.
“In the spring of 2015 a group of docents took a Road Scholar trip to Philadelphia. While there, Wendy Johnson, Marilyn Donahue, and I toured the Nathan Sawaya ‘Art of the Brick’ exhibition at The Franklin Institute. We were amazed at the works he made out of Legos, but especially enamored with the Lego paintings. We came back to Columbus with an idea to have the CMA docents make a Lego painting for the next Lego exhibit in the fall.
As Docent Chair that year, I asked Wendy Johnson and Marilyn Donahue to lead this special project. It was decided that Schokko would make a great painting since she was our informal mascot and had a wonderful array of colors. We worked with an online Lego site to determine how to lay out the Legos and what sizes/colors we would need. Merilee Mostov gave us a large tub of Legos, many docents contributed Legos, and we purchased the colors that were not in a standard set. Wendy and Marilyn created a grid with instructions and coordinated the entire group of docents working on the piece when they were in the museum. It only took a couple weeks to complete our Lego Schokko. We had Lego Schokko framed at Reed Arts. That fall the museum included our Lego Schokko in the Lego exhibit and it has been included each year.”

Museum Store 2020 Holiday Gift Guide


Though our galleries remain closed into mid-December, the Museum Store is open and as well-stocked as ever. To help support our museum and bring comfort, joy, and creativity to the end of a tumultuous year, here is a selection of our staff’s favorite gift ideas this season.

Visit us in-person for special shopping hours Wednesday, December 16 to Friday December 18 from 12 – 5 PM. The museum is returning to normal hours starting Saturday, December 19. Call 614.629.0314 to make a private appointment, arrange curbside pickup, or shop online.


LEGO Activities

We miss Think Outside the Brick this winter, but these kits are available to inspire your own LEGO exhibition at home! $21.99-$24.99. Available in-store or by phone only.


Choose your own skill level: from 300 pieces ($19.95) to 2,000 ($38.95)! Or roll up your sleeves for the challenge of a Mystery Puzzle, available in 500 or 1,000 piece sets.


Quotable Gifts

If you’re searching for the right words to say this holiday season, we’ve got you covered with our selection of quotable cards, mugs, bags, magnets, and more. Pictured bag is $9.95, mugs are $14.95.

Hot Sox

These vibrant, humorous socks make great stocking stuffers! Check out our selection of men’s and women’s sizes for $9.95 a pair.

Bee’s Wrap

Sustainably save your holiday feast leftovers. This all-natural product uses organic cotton and beeswax to create a washable, reusable, and compostable alternative to single use plastic wrap. $7.95 – $22.95.

Modgy Expandable Vase

These expandable plastic vases come in fun and masterpiece-inspired patterns. Perfect for shipping, they lay flat in their packaging. $9.95. Fill one with: Pom Pom Mum Gel Pens, $4.95.

Mad Man Ultra Light Bamboo Watch

This minimalist watch is a comfortable and casual timepiece. With a bamboo and stainless-steel face and a soft leather strap, it’s stylish and won’t break your bank at $60.

Featured Jewelry

Explore our broad selection of jewelry, from local artists to Italian jewelers and everything in between. Some of our brands include Patricia Locke, Jianhui London (right, $130), Italianissimo (left, $105), Shinola Detroit, and Hanna Hoffman.

Lingua Franca Cashmere Sweater

Spoil someone with these soft and beautiful cashmere sweaters, hand embroidered with custom sayings (pink: “art makes us better people”, grey: “Creativity takes courage”, or orange: “art equals hope”). $380 each.

Pixie Mood Bags

Pixie Mood bags have been a shop favorite for years. These stylish and affordable bags are 100% cruelty-free, made out of PETA-certified vegan leather and other recycled materials.  

Browse Our Library!

We have a huge selection, including novels, cookbooks, coffee table books, and beloved exhibition catalogs. Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s House and Journals is $39.95.

Catch These Hands (For Aminah) by Scott Woods

At the virtual CMA Members’ Opening of Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn’s House and Journals on November 18, 2020, Columbus poet Scott Woods captured Aminah’s spirit in a vibrant poem. Here is the poem and some of the objects and scenes that inspired it.

Catch These Hands (For Aminah)
Scott Woods

“The beginning of one’s life never begins with oneself.”
– Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson

Sockman, 1980, mixed media, Estate of the Artist

When writing a gospel,

always note the place, then the activity.

The place will not always stay –

sometimes they crown our emancipated spaces someplace else –

but someone will always need a sock or a chickenfoot.

Keep track of these bones.

One day you may have to make flesh clay of them.

Someday someone will somehow

sometime your something.

What you need a bed for anyway 

when you got all this world to sleep on?

Kitchen is just a place to cook more art.

Dining rooms make great studios, 

bedrooms profound museums.

A hallway is a perfect place for another gallery.

So claim your space now and loudly:




Beatty Center

The Cameo

The Pythian

Ted’s Place

All of the schools

Aminah’s Living Room

Uncle Alvin Says….in 1200 AD, Mixed media, Columbus Museum of Art, Bequest of the Artist

These places where we ruled and now hold on to with our teeth,

where we have been before, and before before,

her Uncle Alvin says as early as 1200, 

when Afrikans settled the Ohio Valley

in ships made from stitches and stories.

Those ancient Afrikans who became 

the silt and dust of Poindexter Village,

whose children would disappear into its obsidian streets

and upon whose flesh you could grow the grandest blackberries, 

which just goes to show that stories run in Aminah’s veins.

Themba Bears Witness, 1996-2012, mixed media, Estate of the Artist

Raggin on from Sapelo Island to now,

a cart full of brown smiles turned to scowls as they passed,

baptized by an orchard of ripe and hanging kin,

always looking back,

first over the shoulder, 

then with arms open wide to the past

as if the trees might give up their ghosts.

And in her hands they do.

Incantations, 1996-2912, Estate of the Artist

The masks of Themba are not disguises 

but our true selves hollering into the red sky,

all these Black people who smile

but do not show they teeth,

calling forth all the buttoned-down gods of man

to come catch these hands.

Let us make a quilt of the quilts,

Needle to thread life, a maestro of souls.

Even if you out of work, you work.

Hands are the first tools of a people and

all her hands large enough to hold the world.

At least this one.

Quilt Meetin’ catching up on the gossip, 1994, mixed media on paper, Estate of the Artist

Called out each morning from a

sidewalk shaped grocery list 

a street full of prayers

a block of hymns and 

the mundane sold in ecstasy,

head kicked back in laugh you can almost hear,

a dancers gait frozen and held aloft

on pedestals of auction block wood

and family albums that look like gallows.

Auction Block, 1980, pen and ink and pastel on paper, Estate of the Artist

Iceman, Breadman,

Ragman, Sockman, 

Cameraman, Vegetableman,

Chickenfoot Woman,

come get your hustle on!

It’s a blues life, a jazz walk,

a symphony of Mount Vernon lives

dotting the musical staves 

of songs sung in the leathery tongues

of Eastside angels. 

Brownyskin Man, 1998, watercolor, Estate of the Artist
Chickenfoot Woman, 1998, watercolor. Estate of the Artist

Oh, to need a rag so bad you buy one.

A sock delivered to your door,

ice so heavy the sun take its sips and leaves

Learn to be one thing on this avenue

and you’ll live forever.

To become what you carry is to become a patron saint of the bramble:

Umbrellaman is a golem of shades,

Chickenfoot Woman a priestess 

of every good Saturday night supper for seven blocks.

Aminah made of brush and rag and button and hogmawg,

carrying all of her people like a Brownyskin Man,

a pantheon of Black Jesuses.

Brownyskin Man, 1997, mixed media, Columbus Museum of Art, Museum Purchase with funds donated by Wolfe Associates, Inc.

And I stand here,

in this archive of captured dreams,

an Alexandrian library of long gone mystics,

looking at this button,

a goddess’ eye looking back at me

strung firm into the face of an ancestor 

I did not know I had,

Themba whispering to me that a life is a walk;

that ragonnons,

unfolding and unfolding through time,

take a life to create and capture at once.

Dad’s Journey, 1972-2006, mixed media, Columbus Museum of Art, Gift of the Artist
The beginning of one’s life never begins with oneself.
So says the Artwoman, the Buttonteacher.

So says the Hogmawg chef and the empress of blackberries,

the Envelope steamer and the gupa goddess.

So says the gardner of bottles and spirit catchers,

the mayor of villages that sink into the concrete 

and come back blacker still,

as if their roots were oil and slave blood.

Robinson in her front yard bottle garden

Button Beaded Book, date unknown, mixed media, Estate of the Artist

So says the Afrikan time traveller and the eternal Ohioan,

The Trustworthy Daughter Thus Named.

So says the realtor of holy places and sensei of stitches,

the librarian of sleepy-eyed languages, 

an optometrist of cowry shells

the archeologist of memory over searching, 

the carrier of homes, 

the avatar of unrequited love letters 

that have had their bellies steamed open

to make room for more love.

An Old Custom from the Blackberry Patch, Unwritten Love Letter, 1988, mixed media on envelope, Estate of the Artist

The Teachings, 1992, Mixed media, Columbus Museum of Art, Gift of the Artist

So says the teacher of this last lesson,

who is somehow gone but present,

still drawing on the walls,

still penetrating all hallelujahs,

midwifing the Middle Passage back into now,

still catching every newborn/old world

in her great hands.




Hudson Bay Fur Company – Explained by CMA Docent Linda Bauer

Reginald Marsh
American, 1898 – 1954
Hudson Bay Fur Company, 1932
Egg tempera on muslin mounted to particle board. Museum purchase Howald Fund, 1956.

Reginald Marsh was a prolific sketcher and chronicler of life of the middle- and lower-income working class in New York City from the 1920s through his death in 1954. Even though he was born into a well-to-do family, he found it more fun to paint the working class of New York City and the places they visited like burlesque dance halls and the public beach and amusements at Coney Island. He was sympathetic towards those less fortunate than himself and said, “in and around New York City there were dumps, docks and slums – all wonderful things and in the city subways, people and burlesque shows”.

Hudson Bay Fur Company was painted in 1932 during the great depression. In spite of breadlines and high unemployment women aspired to dress like the Hollywood actresses they saw in the movies. Even if they had limited funds women wanted to replace their outdated 1920s clothing with the latest styles and look glamorous, alluring and attractive.

Marsh’s studio was very close to Hudson Bay Fur Company and when he was not walking around New York City sketching the sights, he was in his studio drawing and painting what he saw on the bustling street below. He loved to gaze out his window with binoculars to observe the vibrant activity on the sidewalk. During the depression it was not unusual for stores to use real women as models in their store windows. Look up and see how many women you see. Can you find five women? Do they all look real or could one be a mannequin?

Hudson Bay added the sign with the store’s address to cover the women’s ankles because they thought people passing by paid too much attention to the model’s ankles and not enough to the furs and clothing for sale. Marsh frequently included text in his artwork. What other signs do you see in the painting?

Marsh delighted in what was considered seedy or vulgar subject matter at the time and his art was popular partly because he did not conceal sexual content. Today the models in the window may seem less provocative and maybe even quaint. What do you think?

Linda Bauer is one of Columbus Museum of Art’s many docents. Our docents mission and joy is to engage museum visitors in meaningful conversation and to encourage visitors to make personal connections with the art of CMA.