July 27: Museums

July 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

from the Mariani family exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum


Having dropped our budding scientist off at the science camp this morning, D. and I (with O. in a baby carrier) spent some time at the Tacoma Art Museum. They have an incredible show right now: Lodge by Marie Watt, a practitioner of  “social sculpture,” which “holds that art should be participatory and has the power to effect transformations in the self and society.” She uses blankets and felt to tell stories. The centerpiece of the exhibit is Engine, a felt cave in which American Indian storytellers, projected as holograms (a nod to Star Wars), tell stories of their peoples. Here is her website and here are some exhibit pictures:

The blankets, some or all, I am not sure, were donated. Donors included stories about the blankets, which are attached to them. One of the blankets was donated by a WWII prison camp survivor; the blanket was given to him in the camp. The whole exhibit is moving and powerful, but I don’t need to elaborate on that; that’s not the purpose of this blog.

The great thing about the Tacoma Art Museum is the art resource room on the second floor, where you can make art inspired by the exhibits using the toolkits provided by the museum. Being impressed and moved by Watt’s work, I chose Stitches, Stories, Shelter. Here is the visual story of the five-minute creative act that came out of that:

the toolkit

the instructions

my contribution

(Maybe what I meant to say with my fabric patch is this: that in parenting you have to be tough, soft, and fierce all at the same time. Maybe I didn’t mean to say anything at all, but liked the fabrics and the colors.)

the entire display

(You may also notice D’s blue fabric bike in the middle. After all, an image of a bike says a lot about who he is and what he does.)

other people’s work

By the time I was done, it was time to pick up our little camper. We all headed to the Museum of Glass, where they just happened to have a silly puppet-making activity. We cut out heads, bodies, and legs from different magazines and put them together using hole punches and brackets. Results? Here:





What a great day. I am grateful for museums, their participatory nature,and for the fact that they encourage creativity. This is not what museums are like where I grew up.







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