Creative Confidence – Expand your life experiences

A Distant Episode 2Having creative confidence is trusting and valuing each and every one of your ideas and taking creative risks.

In the Art Studio this is goal #1 – to instill creative confidence in every visitor that walks through the door – no matter what the project is, what medium we are exploring, or what collaborative project we are constructing.

We regularly post new ideas about how to instill creative confidence in children at home and in the classroom.

For those of you out there that do not know, Boston Children’s Museum has an awesome gallery space where we have been showcasing the work of local artists since our renovation in 2007. One of the unique things about our gallery space is our family audience, which can top 2,000 any given day. That is an amazing turn-out for any art space! The thing about our audience is that they most likely are not coming to the Museum to see art. (I am trying to change that!). What this means it that they aren’t anticipating walking into an art space or preparing themselves for the conversation they will have with their children about what they are seeing, or what the art is, or what it means. They just happen upon it. I love watching the discovery, seeing what kids are drawn to, how they decide to interact with the work, what they say, what they don’t say….being a witness to the truly hands-on aspect of the Museum and what this means in an art space.

The current exhibit that was installed a few weeks ago was created by local Providence artist, radio host and DJ – Jesse Kaminsky. I have known Jesse for many years and was excited to invite him to create a piece for the Museum. I think of Jesse as a sculptor yet his most recent work has been much more multimedia using video, sound, and lighting to create environments. The work that is up in the gallery right now is objectless; at least it has no physical objects. It is a video and sound installation. It has been one of my favorite shows to observe our visitors interacting and making discoveries with, because visitors are actually IN the work: kids and adults stand within the projected piece. After that, I have seen a few different things happen…shadows, running and lots of dancing. Then a plane flies overhead (or, rather, under foot) and everyone stops and looks, waiting for the next plane. Some families stay for a while, some move through more quickly, but their experience and how they respond to the environment changes as soon as they see the shadow of the plane. You may be having a hard time imagining what I am describing so here is a snippet from our gallery page on our website:

A Distant Episode 10 A Distant Episode 5

A Distant Episode 7

A Distant Episode is a video and sound environment, like a movie except that the video is projected on the floor which means that viewers can walk on the art, and through it. When Museum visitors first encounter the exhibit, it sounds like an ordinary day at the beach, except that it’s in a dark empty room with only a pale blue rectangle of light on the floor. Visitors can close their eyes and hear the four speakers in the room play the sounds of waves on a sandy beach and almost feel like they are on their own little desert island. While they are enjoying the peaceful environment, they start to hear a little sound in the background. It blends in at first…is it imaginary? The sound of a boat maybe?  It builds slowly until suddenly it transforms into a huge roaring plane passing right through the gallery! Just like they were standing under it, the shadow of a plane flies right through the blue light on the floor.

Take kids to see art! A new life experience can only expand and open our eyes to new ways of seeing and relating to the world around us.

Here are few questions developed by psychologist Rudolf Arnheim that are the basis of exploration in Visual Thinking Strategies. These can be carried with you in your back pocket, they can be used when looking at a work of art with a child, but they can also be used when you find yourself in any new situation.

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a method initiated by teacher-facilitated (parent-facilitated) discussions of art images and documented to have a cascading positive effect on both teachers, parents, and students.

Children are asked to:
• Look carefully at works of art
• Talk about what they observe
• Back up their ideas with evidence
• Listen to and consider the views of others
• Discuss multiple possible interpretations

Teachers/parents can use three open-ended questions:
• What’s going on in this picture / work of art?
• What do you see that makes you say that?
• What more can we find?

See more, read more:

More about Visual Thinking Strategies:

More about A Distant Episode show at Boston Children’s Museum:

More about Jesse Kaminsky:

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