Small but Memorable

Art museums may not be high on your list of places to visit with small children. I can understand that. We’ve heard an annoyed “shhhhh” from more than one art museum docent in our years with small ones in tow. But sometimes, small children and small art museums make for big memories!

We are Bank of America card holders, so we have the opportunity to enjoy a free museum on the first weekend of every month as part of their “Museums on Us” program. Being new to Orlando, we thought this would be a great opportunity to try out a new museum. This month, we selected the Mennello Museum of American Art.

The museum itself is small, only one floor with a few carefully chosen exhibits, both permanent and rotating. However, it sits on a beautiful expanse of land along the shores of Lake Formosa in downtown Orlando. We were also able to wander through its well manicured gardens which are amply supplied with comfy adirondack chairs for lounging, and engaging sculptures to enjoy.

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No small sculptures

Currently, they are featuring the sculptures of Alice Aycock – Waltzing Matilda and Twin Vortexes. These sculptures are anything but small. My daughters were fascinated just by walking around them and noting all the various details. As they viewed the sculptures from different angles, they pointed out different features and had lively discussions about what the sculptor was creating.

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There are a variety of other sculptures to view along the pathways in the garden. My family was particularly delighted with the larger than life crayon sculpture.

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No small impact

Inside the museum, we noticed that we had arrived on the final weekend of the visiting exhibit The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William EgglestonEggleston’s photographs have shaped many in the art world beyond just photographers. American novelist Megan Abbott said, “To me, his photographs evoke entire worlds, not worlds we merely see, but worlds we feel, smell, touch…When you look long enough at his photographs, [like the gorgeous, lonely blue parking lot chosen as one of the exhibit’s central images] you get lost in it. You’re in another place.”

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Art credit: William Eggleston, Untitled, 1973, color photograph. Collection of the University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses, gift of Dr. William R. Ferris.

Indeed, even our small children were in another place as they walked slowly and quietly through the exhibit. Ordinary moments in time become extraordinary works of art. In ways that I cannot quite explain, Eggleston’s works were remarkable in their power to capture my attention and my imagination with scenes as pedestrian as laundry hanging on a clothesline.

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Art credit: William Eggleston, Untitled, color photograph. Collection of the University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses, gift of Dr. William R. Ferris.

My girls were full of big questions about the photos and why they were so powerful. They began creating whole stories around the snapshot moments captured and displayed on the walls of this small exhibit. Unfortunately, the exhibit has moved on, but I would encourage you to check out the works of this groundbreaking artist.

The Mennello Museum also has permanent exhibits featuring self-taught landscape artist Earl Cunningham, and a fascinating sculpture by Albert Paley, entitled Hector. 

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art credit: Albert Paley (b. Philadelphia, PA 1944), Hector, 1990, steel with red paint. Collection of The Mennello Museum of American Art, purchased by Friends of The Mennello Museum of American Art, 2016, from Paley Studios Archive, Rochester, NY

This towering steel sculpture calls to mind the character of Hector from Homer’s Iliad. My husband has had the pleasure of teaching the Iliad and my daughter has read a children’s version of it as well. We had a rather interesting and engaging discussion about Hector the Greek hero and the sculpture.

No small stories

We spent not quite two hours exploring the Mennello museum, both inside and out. I’m so glad we took the opportunity to visit. I have no doubt that we will return. The museum offers multiple opportunities to engage with the art they celebrate. They offer free docent led tours on the first Friday of every month, a monthly free day for families (where your small ones can create their own art), a monthly documentary movie screening, and even a puppet led story time for toddlers.

I was thrilled to find a museum that was accessible, engaging, and thought provoking to enjoy with my whole family. Even my six year old has asked if we can return! But you don’t have to be small to appreciate the Mennello. My husband and I were grateful for the opportunity to be exposed to some new-to-us artists and look forward to our next visit.

If you’re in the Orlando area, I would encourage you to check out the Mennello Museum. If you’re not, I have a hunch that you have your own small museum in town. Maybe you’ve always overlooked it because of it’s size. You may just find something there you never expected. What’s your favorite small museum you’ve explored? Share your experiences in the comments, I’m always looking for new places to see!

 

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Where is the art in your neighborhood?

On our Facebook page, we occasionally share fun venues with interesting art related events. We try to highlight cities where our subscribers live. If you’d like us to feature your city, let us know!

This past Saturday, my family participated in a fantastic art event at Laguna Gloria, our local contemporary art museum here in Austin, Texas.

We have previously visited Laguna Gloria and greatly enjoyed it, so we were eager to return. My children LOVE all things artsy – particularly if they can get their hands dirty and create some masterpieces.

finished art projects

It was a rainy day in central Texas, but we braved the rain anyway. After signing in, we were given a map and an explanation of all the events that were going on and immediately headed off to an indoor venue where the girls could enjoy some paper, markers, chalk, and an opportunity to create their own book.

Creating some art

After a stop for some free snacks and beverages (including some specials for the grown ups!), we embarked on a tour of the working art studios. The first stop was the claymation studio.

claymation art

Our girls made their own clay sculptures that were then incorporated into a claymation video using the free app Stop Motion Studios. They are super excited to try some movie making at home.

From there, we paused a bit to watch a portrait painter. The girls were enthralled to see the portrait come together before their eyes as a patient model sat so very still. Our oldest in particular has a new appreciation for what “Miss Laura” does.

We then had a chance to watch and create our own silk screen prints.

silk screen art

The girls were fascinated with the tiny, almost invisible, holes in the silk that enabled the jackalope scene to be printed on their paper.

Our last stop of the afternoon was in the pottery studio. The girls were able to use carving tools to create a design on a clay tile. The tile was then inked and the girls were able to use it as a stamp to create their own unique card. Our youngest has already turned it into a lovely birthday card for her older sister – but shhh….it’a  surprise!

stamping art

We were there for several hours, and still didn’t experience all there was to see. There were seven open studios in all, but some had multiple exhibitions and activities going on. Despite the weather, over 1000 people showed up to enjoy all the art to be had. It was a fantastic day for our family, and it was all free!

Finding your neighborhood art

What art venues are there to be explored in your city? In our internet age, it’s easy to find fun (and often free) events in your own neighborhood. Where will you explore this week? Share your stories with us! And if you’re even in Austin, you can’t go wrong at Laguna Gloria!

 

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WIN a print of one of my landscapes!

It’s been an exciting time for me! Not only am I giving you a chance to win a print of one of my paintings (see below), but I was honored at a reception for local artists at the Uptown Gallery in Brooksville, Florida. 

Uptown1Uptown2

 

 

 

 

They are currently showing Faith, Into the Light, and the original of the print we’re giving away:

MissionFinal

WIN THIS PRINT BY NAMING THIS PAINTING! 

I’ve been calling this “Mission Impossible” but it just doesn’t seem right. So I’m giving everyone who reads this a chance to “Name this Painting” and win a beautiful print.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL WIN:  Your 11 x 17 print of the above painting will be number and signed (any way you like) by me, the artist. Printed on 80 lb card stock. The print will be shipped, via first-class mail, in a rigid cardboard envelope

WHEN: Now until February 7th – you’ll have it by Valentine’s Day!

HERE’S HOW TO DO IT:  Subscribe to our blog (if you haven’t already done so) so that we know how to contact you (you’ll see the subscription form in the right side bar menu), and then leave your suggestion for the name in the comment section below. The winner will be contacted via email and we’ll post the name here on our blog.

Don’t be selfish…post this on your Facebook page too! I am so excited to see your entries!!

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We’re GIVING AWAY this beautiful print!!

“Giving” in your life is something that should never stop. Do you know your motivation for giving? It’s much more important than the “gift” itself. Many people’s thoughts are dominated by the cost of something or to impress someone, or to conditionally receive something in return when they give a gift.

Giving to me, means you take a piece of yourself, you stop thinking about you and start thinking about him or her. It should be motivated by something outside of yourself, but come from inside yourself.

I received an incredible gift for my birthday this year. What the giver in my situation gave, was overwhelming love. Embedded in that love was support and encouragement, a belief in me and my talents. It was given with delight! And gosh, I received it with joy because I knew the giver gave of herself, gave of her heart!

I believe the hardest thing to give is the gift of consistent love. My husband models that love and I am grateful for that. God gave us His son. His heart motivation is to connect with us for all eternity–that’s consistency! What’s your definition of giving? Here is my definition for this month:

WIN THIS PRINT BY NAMING THIS PAINTING! 

MissionFinal

I’ve been calling this “Mission Impossible” but it just doesn’t seem right. So I’m giving everyone who reads this a chance to “Name this Painting” and win a beautiful print.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL WIN:  Your 11 x 17 print of the above painting will be number and signed (any way you like) by me, the artist. Printed on 80 lb card stock. The print will be shipped, via first-class mail, in a rigid cardboard envelope

WHEN: Now until February 7th – you’ll have it by Valentine’s Day!

HERE’S HOW TO DO IT:  Subscribe to our blog (if you haven’t already done so) so that we know how to contact you, and then leave your suggestion for the name in the comments. The winner will be contacted via email and we’ll post the name here on our blog.

Don’t be selfish…post this on your Facebook page too! I am so excited to see your entries!

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