Friday, May 17, 2013

Extraordinary Family Art for a May Weekend

Celebrate International Museum Day and Kohl's Art Generation Family Sunday

By Peggy Sue
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Make this Saturday or Sunday a family art day while celebrating International Museum Day on May 18th, a day that honors all museums first founded in 1970's. The Museum of Wisconsin Art and the Milwaukee Art Museum plan exceptional programs for families this weekend, whether Wisconsin weather rains or shines.

In West Bend, the new Museum of Wisconsin Art celebrates International Museum Day on Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Since the MOWA has panoramic views of the Milwaukee River from several of the galleries, gardens and nature become the theme for this special event. All day throughout the museum, visitors will be able to watch Plein Air painters, listen to gardening tips from Master Gardeners, discover the permanent collection through a guided poetry tour or watch Mexican Folk dancers before taking away a piece of garden art as a memento of all International Museums. Stay for the entire day, or choose an activity of interest, only celebrate the art history of Wisconsin and appreciate this contemporary new building now known as MOWA, a art museum of the future. 

In Milwaukee, MAM’s Kohl’s Art Generation Family Sunday happens on the 19th, 10:00 am. to 4:00 p.m., although the museum closes at 5:00 p.m. Once every few months, Kohl’s Department Stores sponsor a day filled with exciting activities for young and old, and this May the theme is “Around the World" that focuses  projects and performances on ancient art from the museum’s permanent collection.

Throughout the entire museum, interesting activities invite youth of various ages to become acquainted with ancient art and civilizations. In the Kohl’s Education Center, anyone can decorate an orange ceramic plate by applying black paint in a style similar to Greek pottery. Inspired by Nioblad Painter Hydria (460 BC), the project draws from the museum’s classical vase illustrating “red figure” techniques or painting red on a black ground. However, the collection also displays examples of “black figure” technique, where black appears over a red glaze, which is what the project duplicates.

In the Donald Baumgartner Galleria, the art project takes an idea from the museum’s Mummy Coffin of Pediusir (350 BC) from the 30th Egyptian Dynasty. Project participants will recreate ancient designs and drawings on paper to craft an Egyptian collar, an artwork that could be worn, a fascinating photographic opportunity in the making.

Windhover Hall will feature an air dry clay craft centering on ancient Chinese art by replicating one of the oldest pieces in the MAM’s permanent collection. Barnyard, Han Dynasty (202 Bc-220 AD) depicts a farmer’s plot, when agriculture was flourishing, and the animals and shelters one would see on the Chinese working farm. Children will sculpt animals from clay similar to the Chinese artwork and then let them dry in a cardboard barnyard modeled after the actual artwork in the museum, a project ready to paint later in the week at home or leave as is, appreciated for the simple form. 

Several cases of gilded German clocks appear in the European Decorative Arts Collection, and produces a final project completed in the Kohl’s Education Center. This project allows youths to build and decorate an unusual shaped clock where they can adorn the piece with “gold” paper and faux gilt while learning about the actual clocks housed in the museum, another fun artwork to carry home.

Besides the art projects, Sunday will offer Italian Dancers in Windhover Hall, drummers from Ghana and a Scavenger Hunt that travels into the West African Wing and the MAM’s phenomenal Haitian Art Collection. This activity only requires “the hunters” to learn and look at art instead of depending on any prior knowledge about the art or world geography. And also on view in the Kohl’s Education Center, a one-day art exhibition from several Milwaukee elementary schools and their student’s interpretation of these ancient art mediums.

Kohl’s Art Generation Family Sunday Events are free to museum members and those participating in the Milwaukee Museum Swap, while children under 12 are always admitted free of charge. Spend Saturday or Sunday exploring Wisconsin’s art heritage or these lost ancient worlds, and post on the calendar plans for the next Kohl’s Art Generation Family Sunday titled “Art of the Now,” on July 21, 2013. 

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