Recently two of the Art Studio Summer Interns, Helen Austin and Leah Henry, designed and led a Special Sunday activity for our Museum guests inspired by the Olympics. The following is their report on their process and the event day.
Step aside Rio – The Art Olympics is going for the gold! About halfway through the 2016 Olympics, we hosted an artistic competition in the Art Studio for a Special Sunday program. We created “events” that our visitors could participate in, and while our brainstorming list was long, we settled on four events. These events incorporated stamping, drawing, sculpting, and even flying techniques!
1st Event: Stamping the Olympic Rings
We wanted to include the Olympic rings in the events not only because it is the most recognizable symbol of the games, but also because it is so vividly colorful. For this event, visitors were given a black sheet of construction paper to stamp their rings. On the table were stamp pads filled with tempera paint (blue, black, red, yellow, and green) and a collection of circular found objects, including bottle caps, cardboard tubes, marker caps, and much more. To help keep the paint on their designated stamp pads, we organized the found objects by color. We found that this really helped keep the paints from mixing on the pads.
Many visitors went above and beyond the Olympic ring configuration to stamp designs of their own. The different sized circular stamping materials helped encouraged visitors to create their own interpretation of the Rings. White gel pens or markers were a great addition on the table to contrast with the black paper.
2nd Event: Sculpt an Olympic Athlete
What we found most spectacular watching the Olympics is how the athletes can move, twist, and control their bodies when they are competing. For the second Art Olympic event, we wanted visitors to explore the movements of bodies through twisting and bending wire into their favorite Olympic athlete, or any body shape they desired.
Guests worked with an assortment of pipe cleaners and separated computer wires. We included a photo collage of contemporary images of Olympic athletes in motion as a visual reference and point of inspiration. We were worried guests would quickly twist a body shape and move on, however most guests expanded on their wire athletes by combining other materials.
3rd Event: Design a Distance Flier
Like the second event showed, the Olympic Games are all about athletes moving their bodies. We took that to heart for the third event of the Art Olympics in which the guests designed a paper airplane and then stepped outside on our patio to see how far their airplanes flew. Who said the Art Olympics can’t be athletic, too?
We encouraged guests to use crayons and rubbing plates to create a design on their airplane prior to flight. Once they were ready to fly, visitors stepped up to the start line of our runway, paused for a nerve settling deep breath, and let them fly! We recorded each distance so visitors could see how their airplanes measured up with others.
4th Event: Medal Ceremony
After completing in all three events of the Art Olympics, guests ended their Olympic day how every Olympian dreams: wearing gold in the medal ceremony. Guests decorated cardstock medals using metallic silver and gold colored pencils. With proud hearts and hands full of creations, our guests left the Art Studio wearing their personalized medals.
As we wrap up our first Art Olympics, we are already thinking about what new events will be added next time and how we can experiment with new materials. But for now, we will reminisce on the great Art Olympians of our time!