Kids create cool art at Crystal Bridges
By Karen Rice • firstname.lastname@example.org
Alek J, likes to imagine things. Recently, he and some other kids had fun making art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.
In a big art studio with lots of tables and supplies, the kids made wooden peg people come to life with markers, yarn, paint, fabric and of course, imagination.
The drop-in art classes happen every weekend and each project is tied to a different artwork in the museum. This one was inspired by a sculpture by Marisol, called “The Bathers.” It’s a scene of people at the beach.
“I’m imagining what my mom would look like when she went to the beach. Terrible hair,” 7-year-old Alek said of the blue yarn hair on his creation. “I just picked a color and went with it. I did the mouth with a paint marker.”
Art instructor Kim Ly loves helping kids learn about art while having fun. For this project she asked kids to start by imagining a favorite vacation.
“It could be at home, anywhere, it could be across the world,” Kim said. “We’re using these wooden pegs for our sculptures. It gives everyone the chance to develop their own character for their dream vacation.”
Josh M. made a peg character of himself, which looked a little like a superhero.
“I’m making my guy go to school,” second-grader Josh said.
While school isn’t everyone’s idea of a dream vacation, Josh admitted he thinks school is fun. He also thinks it would be fun to be an artist. Art making was his favorite part of visiting the museum with his family.
Most of the kids in the class had sisters, moms, grandmas, aunts or cousins with them. None of them could resist the fun of creating the little peg people.
“We usually get 6-12 year olds, but the projects are not limited to that age group,” Kim pointed out. “Adults have fun making these projects too.”
Activity cards outside the studio and at the front desk invite kids to take a closer look at a piece of art in the museum.
“That sometimes leads families down here to the studio to do some art making,” Kim explained. “It’s really a way for us to connect the art to the art making, to have a more dynamic and rounded education.”
“We encourage everyone to take one because on the back there are some try-at-home activities,” Kim continued. “And we also incorporate books that we have in the Experience Art Studios that kids can check out.”
Daenarys W. was turning her peg person into a fairy, with sparkly clothes and pink hair. Daenarys loves doing art and is quite an accomplished artist at just 4 ½ years old. Mom Erica said they come to the art making class almost every weekend, as well as going to other kid and family activities at the museum. They already have a quite a few finished masterpieces at home.
“We take them home, she plays with them,” Erica said. “You couldn’t possibly have all these supplies at home for every project.”
For Alek, gluing the googly eyes on was the biggest challenge. That, and sticky glue fingers.
“I got my hands—I was going to say a little, but—a LOT dirty,” he said on his way to the sink.
In spite of that, Alek made multiple peg people. Each one had a different vacation story.
“I’m making my friend because on her summer vacation she went to Costa Rica,” he explained. “I imagine it was very beautiful.”
Drop-in art making is free and different every weekend at Crystal Bridges from 1-4 pm Saturday and Sunday, all year round. No registration is required. During school breaks, the museum offers a full week of art making. For information on this or other fun things to do at Crystal Bridges, ask your adult to go to their website: crystalbridges.org