From our Education & Community Programs department, an evolving guidebook navigating the expanded terrain of art and creative life.
The new Mobile Cart is just right for summer in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. On weekends, the grounds are teeming with visitors from all over the world. We’ve seen wedding guests dressed to the nines, families picnicking in front of Spoonbridge and Cherry, and mini golfers waiting for tee-times. Like our visitors, the Mobile Cart has a purpose for being outside.
Designed for pop-up outdoor activities, the handsome and nimble cart reflects the genius of Museum Exhibit Designer Maria Mortati. It has a casual feel, like a food cart. In fact, someone tried to order ice cream from us! Seriously, people have approached us with practical questions concerning weddings, mini-golf, and the location of Garden Café, which contrary to its name, is inside the Walker Art Center.
The Mobile Cart is a magnet for visitors desiring more interaction with art and ideas.
A stop at the Mobile Cart outfits visitors with supplies for Can I Have an Idea, a hands-on drawing experience. This activity is loosely related to the exhibition Art Expanded currently on view at the Walker Art Center. Can I Have an Idea plays with decision-making and offers a simple direction for action. It resembles a musical score that comes alive when someone actually performs it.
Can I Have an Idea looks like this. There are 2 bins with instructions for drawing typed out on small paper cards. The first bin is labeled “Take an Idea and Make a Drawing.” It contains single directions, such as, “draw the nearest sculpture” and “spin around and draw a spiral.” The second bin, “Take 2 Ideas and Make 2 Drawings,” is for participants who appreciate experimentation.
Her grandma turned to me and said, “She’s from an arty family living in Winnipeg, Canada.”
This activity also intrigued two visitors from the Museo d’Arte Modernae Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto in Italy. Full disclosure, these museum educators asked to replicate Can I Have an Idea in their museum, and I gave them what they needed.
Closer to home, we’ve engaged families from the Twin Cities who were visiting the Garden for the first time. The presence of the Mobile Cart generated conversation about Family Programs and encouraged a number of families to return to Walker’s Free First Saturday offered throughout the year.
This summer, Yaneth Quintero, a STEP-UP Intern, hosted the Mobile Cart with me. She wraps up her internship at the Walker this week so it’s appropriate to record her impressions about the Mobile Cart. When asked, she quickly replied, “I realized how much I miss drawing. When I was a child, I drew all the time.”
Ilene: What did you notice about the crowd?
Yaneth: There were many curious on-lookers. Young and old people approached us and loved the cart. Some even asked me if they were too old to participate! But, as Ilene says, ‘There’s no age limit to creativity’. They were eager to try out the scores; just draw!
Ilene: What did they want to know?
Yaneth: I had a multitude of people ask me when we’d be out with the cart again. Others asked about the Walker and were curious about activities happening inside the building. We were a mini info hub. I also got questions about the master mind behind the Mobile Cart or directions to places.
Ilene: How did they interact with the drawing activity?
Yaneth: Some people came to try out one score while others got deeper into it. They made more personal drawings based on their interpretations of the scores. Some just kept coming back for more ideas.
Ilene: Thanks, Yaneth, for being so attentive, welcoming and creative. Keep drawing!
What does a welcoming entrance look like? How do people in wheelchairs maneuver around the Sculpture Garden or the galleries? Can other sensory elements like smell and touch be part of a space where art is viewed and experienced? These are some of the questions asked by 12 artists from Partnership Resources, Inc. (PRI). In […]
What does a welcoming entrance look like? How do people in wheelchairs maneuver around the Sculpture Garden or the galleries? Can other sensory elements like smell and touch be part of a space where art is viewed and experienced? These are some of the questions asked by 12 artists from Partnership Resources, Inc. (PRI). In September and October 2012, these artists and I probed the Walker’s public spaces, galleries, and art lab. Our quest was to experience, respond to, and design two unique spaces for art ── one outdoor and one indoor. After visiting the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the PRI artists shared opinions about particular sculptures and the Garden’s overall design. Lara Hanson, artist-in-residence at PRI, collected the artists’ written feedback. Questions of accessibility were addressed and the artists had some comments. “the little ridges of metal around each of the four square plots were an issue ──chairs could probably get over them, but Andy and Richard didn’t want to try. Mud and deep edging along the sidewalks (was a concern).” This insightful critique aided artists in designing their projects. To articulate their preferences, the artists sketched out site plans and built models of their outdoor spaces.
Henry Moore’s Reclining Mother and Child inspired Tammy’s observation that motherhood has its smooth and rough times.
An elevator from the parking garage would carry people, with or without wheelchairs, to Zach’s sculpture garden on the top level.
When it came to exploring the indoor spaces at the Walker, each artist documented their experience with a point-and-shoot camera and completed a feedback sheet. They responded to spaces including the Garden Cafe, Cargill Lounge, and a whirlwind tour of artworks in galleries 1, 3, 4, and 6. With our corps of volunteer tour guides and PRI staff, we had an exceptional experience. Everyone was able to flow at their own pace, and we had the galleries to ourselves. Merrie said, “Cargill was very open and light.” She also noted that the tight floor space in gallery 4 (Midnight Party) made her feel “kind of nervous” in her wheelchair. Richard took a picture of the terrazzo stairway outside the elevator of gallery 4 looking down to gallery 3. This made him uncomfortable, and he told us the story of someone in a wheelchair that had rolled down the stairs backwards.
The slower pace and individualized attention received on this tour afforded PRI artist an opportunity to scrutinize and enjoy the artworks more intensely. Everyone commented on the smoky scent and heat felt in the Haegue Yang installation titled Series of Vulnerable Arrangement – The Blind Room in The Living Years.
The design planning of the indoor spaces started with sketches again and resulted in models. Richard’s designed his space on one level and specifically said that the walls would be curved. This large gallery would display an array of his two dimensional artworks.
The PRI artists, based out of studios in Minneapolis and St. Louis Park are currently working on their final projects for Challenging Perspectives: Negotiating Spaces. Their projects will be celebrated and showcased in a PRI exhibition hosted by the Walker Art Center on March 21, 2013 in the Skyline Room.On a personal note, I’d say that PRI artists are direct and intuitive about art and they circumnavigate new spaces with determination and resilience. The artists’ spontaneous aesthetic choices delighted me, and I hope we’ll continue this partnership in the future.Richard and I worked together a number of times. On several occasions, I held his charcoal, and he held my wrist to direct my hand with the charcoal across the paper. The rhythm and pressure supplied to each gesture reminded me of a dance; I felt honored that he trusted me as his drawing partner.
A grant from MRAC (Metropolitan Regional Arts Council) has supported Partnership Resources artists’ collaboration with Walker Art Center for 2 years in a row. In 2011, the artists toured 50/50 and in 2012, they toured This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980’s.
Open Field has been a smashing success, and it’s no wonder people want to hang around outside whenever possible (in Minnesota). Yet, some of you may be asking what’s happening inside the Walker Art Center. Well, I can assure you that it’s just as busy in the Star Tribune Art Lab; it doesn’t go dark […]
Open Field has been a smashing success, and it’s no wonder people want to hang around outside whenever possible (in Minnesota). Yet, some of you may be asking what’s happening inside the Walker Art Center. Well, I can assure you that it’s just as busy in the Star Tribune Art Lab; it doesn’t go dark in the summer. Many campers are visiting the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and coming to the lab for some hands-on art making. Every Tuesday evening in July families have been gathering together for our Once Upon a Garden class.
Skyscapes happened on July 6th. We walked around the western side of the Walker campus with cardboard frames in hand looking at the grass and the sky. Our destination was Sky Pesher by James Turrell. We stretched out on the benches of this outdoor room and concentrated on the open ceiling. Clouds passed quickly through this room’s overhead frame. Everyone sketched the clouds on paper with colored pencils.
Back in the art lab, these drawings were used as the subject for a series of watercolor paintings.
If you were sitting in Sky Pesher, what would the sky look like at midnight, at sunrise, during a storm?
Stage Play took place on July 13th. We started outside making sun prints. Objects were placed on light sensitive paper blocking out the sun.
While the prints were being washed in the art lab, the families went to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to play with their own shadows. They practiced their storytelling on the grass and performed on Belvedere, the sculpture/stage by Jackie Ferrara.
Next, their figure shadows were captured with a Flip HD video camera.
Back in the art lab, the videos were downloaded and projected on a translucent curtain with a data projector. Each participant took a turn behind this curtain creating new movements and new shadows for the audience. How was it done? An overhead projector was set up backstage pointing light on the back of the curtain.
The mixing of shadows was great fun to watch because the indoor live-action shadows interacted with the video clips shot outdoors.
Petite Pond was held on July 20th. Reflection was the topic of conversation and experimentation. We used mirrors and 3 shades of blue paper to simulate the sky reflected on water. Then, we went out to look at the Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen and Standing Glass Fish by Frank Gehry. The families investigated the reflections in the p0nd surrounding Spoonbridge and Cherry and compared them to the reflections found in the pool surrounding Standing Glass Fish. We answered the questions, “How much of the sculpture can you see reflected in the water? Does it change when you look at the sculpture from another angle?”
Inside we created a pond and surrounding landscape for a sculpture. Some of the materials we used were molded pulp packaging, plastic bowls, cardboard, and found objects. Some artists selected tall green cocktail stirrers, made them into sculptures, and placed them in low plastic containers. Their miniature ponds (the containers) were set into the the molded pulp packaging to make a landscape of unusual contours. The installation was embellished with color, texture, and other shapes. During the project, one adult said, “I’ll never throw away this kind of packaging again.”
The finishing touch to the project was to add real water and some drops of food coloring to the pond. Many chose blue to resemble the reflection of the blue sky that night, but one artist noticed the algae in the pond outside and chose green for his water element.
Next week will be the last session of Once Upon a Garden. Come and join us for Garden Animals. These creatures really are going to move.
For more information follow this link.
The $99 sale at The Soap Factory attracts a mass of egalitarian participants, and I am one of them. Being someone who firmly believes in the barter system, I favor the exchange of services without the green back. So, it’s apropos that I create an artwork and donate it to The Soap Factory for the […]
Being someone who firmly believes in the barter system, I favor the exchange of services without the green back. So, it’s apropos that I create an artwork and donate it to The Soap Factory for the sale on September 11th and 12th this year.
Just a word about the works for the sale; they must be created on 5″ x 7″ paper without any signatures. There are many top notch artists in this pool, and this standardization levels the playing field. All the artists who participate in this event are united by their support of The Soap Factory. Last year, when all the works were installed in the gallery, they read like cells on a storyboard to me. What a kick to be part of this community that backs The Soap Factory cover to cover.
There’s a lot of glass in the Walker Art Center building. Opposites attract, right? Heat makes glass and cold makes ice. Why not combine these two materials in one experience? Family Programs had a great idea, why not celebrate winter by vicariously embracing ice? The theme for Free First Saturday, February 7, […]
There’s a lot of glass in the Walker Art Center building. Opposites attract, right? Heat makes glass and cold makes ice. Why not combine these two materials in one experience?
Family Programs had a great idea, why not celebrate winter by vicariously embracing ice?
The theme for Free First Saturday, February 7, 2009, was showcasing Minnesota Artists and Arts Organizations, and there were interactive activities for families set up throughout the building.
Rain or shinestart practicing your putting. Zoran Mojsilovis installingPig’s Eye Landfill on the course of Walker on the Green. The large wooden assemblage was trucked in this morning with the assistance of an imposing crane. It’s mostly made of elm branches and trunks that were salvaged from a wood recycling site in town. Zoran says, […]
Rain or shinestart practicing your putting. Zoran Mojsilovis installingPig’s Eye Landfill on the course of Walker on the Green. The large wooden assemblage was trucked in this morning with the assistance of an imposing crane. It’s mostly made of elm branches and trunks that were salvaged from a wood recycling site in town. Zoran says, “The mouse hole lines up with the cup just right. Now onto finishing the green.”
For more information on Walker on the Green: Artist-Designed Mini Golf visit http://blogs.walkerart.org/ecp/2008/05/13/artists-green-makers-mini-golf/
It’s a curiosity cabinet of sorts that displays an array of projects. These are art works that have been made by people who have attended an After Hours party, a school tour, or a workshop. This project was all about wrapping, Cassidy ran out of time and materials, but she could have worked all afternoon […]
It’s a curiosity cabinet of sorts that displays an array of projects. These are art works that have been made by people who have attended an After Hours party, a school tour, or a workshop.
This project was all about wrapping, Cassidy ran out of time and materials, but she could have worked all afternoon on her assemblage. Notice how her layering included her name tag. Like a cyclone, she explored her tactile sensibility, emphasizing her love of the process.
Yes, anyone can participate in an art lab. Just come with an intention to play with the materials set out for you. You’d be surprised by your ability to invent and build stuff. For those people who love to learn by doing, I suggest you take a look at the Walker’s permanent collection or a special exhibition after you’ve done the art making. You might experience the galleries in a new way.
Next time, you’re at a Walker event, try out the art lab. Look for the Kiki Smith inspired doll parts sculpture, Object with a Cause, or just marvel at the playful creativity of our local talent.
photos by: Gene Pittman This summer I facilitated 3 art-making workshops with children through Free Arts Minnesota. This is a wonderful nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the healing powers of artistic expression into the lives of at-risk children and their families. www.freeartsminnesota.org. Free Arts Minnesota partnered with the Walker Art Center at an opportune time […]
photos by: Gene Pittman
This summer I facilitated 3 art-making workshops with children through Free Arts Minnesota. This is a wonderful nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the healing powers of artistic expression into the lives of at-risk children and their families. www.freeartsminnesota.org. Free Arts Minnesota partnered with the Walker Art Center at an opportune time to visit the Picasso and American Art exhibition.
Picasso’s drawings, paintings, and sculptures attracted many American artists and were excellent models for our workshops. My goal was to highlight each young artist’s unique perceptions of self and observations of the world around him or her.
The young artists started with a kaleidoscope pointed at a still-life. They named basic shapes and rolled their Cubistic inspired observations into still-life collages.
The second theme was simplified portraiture. We referred to Picasso’s unconventional portraits and the way he reoriented facial features. The young artists painted a face in acrylics and added cut-out features from magazines.
The third project was an assemblage sculpture. Remembering the freedom experienced by changing a face around, students sampled found materials to build an animal or abstract sculpture.
Over the three sessions, every participant deepened his or her creative process, taking more chances along the way.
Interspersed with the art-making lessons was a field trip to the Walker Art Center, where several kids from the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s Bush Children’s Center received a tour of the Picasso and American Art exhibition given by Susan Rotilie, the Walker’s Program Manager of School Tours. During the tour, kids carefully looked at several Cubist paintings and sculptures and identified subjects in the abstract works. Taking inspiration from the artworks, the students developed great ideas for stories, wrote them down, and then read them aloud in the gallery.
I’d like to thank the staff of Free Arts Minnesota and the Bush Children’s Center, and all the wonderful volunteers who helped out with the Artist Like Me workshops.
The culminating exhibit, Artist Like Me, included work by students at the Bush Children’s Center and Delta Place. It took placein the Walker Art Center’s Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab on September 7, 2007.
Ilene Krug Mojsilov, teaching artist and Art Lab Coordinator at the Walker Art Center.
Before you marvel at everything new on a stick at the State Fair, try twirling with a Picasso. The Walker’s exhibition Picasso and American Art is closing in four weeks, so plan a visit, and after seeing the show, you may want to try your own Deep-fried Picasso on a Stick. Check out the portraits […]
Before you marvel at everything new on a stick at the State Fair, try twirling with a Picasso.
The Walker’s exhibition Picasso and American Art is closing in four weeks, so plan a visit, and after seeing the show, you may want to try your own Deep-fried Picasso on a Stick.
Check out the portraits by Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and Jasper Johns among others and note the way they processed Picasso’s imagery. Many of their painted, drawn, and sculpted faces were treated cubistically, so the viewer sees several planes of the face simultaneously. With this concept in mind, combined with an eye on popular culture, the twirled portrait was born.
Yesterday, August 9, 2007, some dynamic young artists (ages 5 and 6) from Minneapolis Kids made some bold portraits. These students played with the features of a face and worked on four sides to simulate a 360 degree portrait.
If you’d like to do this kitchen lab at your table, here is the recipe.
Materials: Tagboard, oil pastels, colored tape, 1 chop stick, and a pair of scissors
- Draw a wacky profile
- Cut it out
- Trace around it on a second piece of tagboard
- Cut that one out
- Put the 2 profiles together (one on top of the other – both noses on the same side)
- Fold nearly in half and crease
- Make 2 pairs of 1/2 inch cuts into the folded side of both heads
- Separate the heads
- Draw features on all 4 sides (add them anywhere)
- Fill in with any colors
- Line up the faces on the creases (noses point in opposite directions)
- Insert stick into the 2 slots leaving enough stick at the bottom to hold onto
- Secure the faces at the bottom and top of the stick with colored tape
Congratulations you’ve made a Deep-fried Picasso on a Stick!
All photos: Ilene K. Mojsilov
Photo: Ilene K Mojsilov On Wednesday March 28th, I had a small group of students from City Inc, an alternative Minneapolis High School, in the Art Lab. They came to see the exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love. High school teachers may ask how do we engage our students who […]
On Wednesday March 28th, I had a small group of students from City Inc, an alternative Minneapolis
High School, in the Art Lab. They came to see the exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love. High school teachers may ask how do we engage our students who are viewing this work for the first time?The show brings up a host of questions about racial stereotypes today. For a profound conversation about Kara Walker, I suggest that teachers consider doing this art activity Skin Deep before their tour of the exhibition. This has proven to be a good way for students to consider their own assumptions about color and race.
Skin Deep is a painting activity that explores color as a metaphor for racial stereotypes and classifications. I demonstrate how to mix a universal brown using the primary colors. Next, I add black and/or white to make a myriad of skin tones. Students then mix their own skin tones and collect samples of other people’s skin tones, paint them on canvas, and add a phrase that responds to their notions of black and white.
When the students from City Inc came to the Art Lab, we spent an absorbing hour previewing a few works from the show. Kara Walker has a series titled Do You Like Crème in Your Coffee and Chocolate in Your Milk? We looked at one of her watercolors that features a nude woman outlined in green with brown, black, ochre, and peach circles covering the upper torso and head of the figure. These samples refer to skin tones, and remind me of my own experience testing make-up.
Since the City Inc group had only women, we talked about this experience at the make-up counter. The way these products on the market try so hard to approximate our skin tones, and we realized how subtle our skin tones really are and how many variations exist. This theme of human variation is also current in the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Race: Are We So Different? http://www.smm.org/race/. By the way, the students from City Inc had viewed this exhibition before coming to the Walker Art Center. It was opportune to pair these two field trips.
Photo: Ilene K Mojsilov
If you get to the Science Museum for this show, don’t miss the label that introduces the artwork of Byron Kim. He did a project called Synecdoche that is composed of 400 smaller panels that match an actual person’s skin. Although I hadn’t heard of his project before, I think that it really gets at the important questions of racial politics and encourages a frank dialogue about stereotypes, classifications, and civil rights.
So, if you can take in both exhibitions, I encourage you to do so, and keep the activity Skin Deep in mind for your group here at the Walker Art Center.