Everything is Connected

“There is a deep interconnectedness of all life on earth, from the tiniest organisms, to the largest ecosystems, and absolutely between each person.”

-Bryant McGill

That’s exactly what Abby Gregg brings to the (art) table. An interdisciplinary artist, educator and our first Artist-in-Residence since 2020, Abby “joins us brimming with creative energy and expertise,” says Arts Program Coordinator, Salim Khoury.

Abby plays with the idea of lifeforms and how each organism, real or imagined, is intertwined and reliant upon the next. Focusing mainly on painting and ceramic sculpture, she thinks of her works as vessels for the urgent voice of something wild, unknowable and transforming.

Abby brings this concept into The Art Studio, not only through the ecosystems she is creating with the kids, but also through her style of teaching.

“Each creature that is made by a little artist holds a unique voice that brings these ecosystems to life,” says Abby. She encourages every kid to create an organism and make it their own. And she has not been disappointed with the whimsical results.

She explains that the most amazing moments have come from the kiddos who take the prompt and “expand upon it in wild, really unexpected ways.”

Abby says that seeing the variety and uniqueness that comes from each creation has been refreshing. In fact, the kids’ fearless approach to art and color mixing has been inspiring her in her own practice; “I’m jumping in head first and allowing mistakes to stimulate a new set of discoveries.”

During Abby’s studio hours, guests can help create strange and wonderful worlds through large-scale collaborative painting.

Studio hours are most Fridays and Saturdays through June from 11 am – 2 pm. Get the full schedule here.

Colorado art · press · Public Art · Sammy Lee · The Art Studio · Uncategorized

Energy Cloud

The word “Hanji” directly translates to “the paper of Korea.” Sounds simple, right? Paper is paper.

No. Just… no.

Creating Hanji, a paper made from the bark of mulberry trees, is an incredibly arduous process. Though it’s time and energy intensive to make, the end result is worth it.

So durable, the oldest text made of Hanji is well preserved after 800 years.

So resilient, Korean soldiers wore it as armor.

And so beautiful, it is used to create wondrous works of art.

Enter artist-in-residence Sammy Lee, who was born and raised in Korea. During her residency, she brought the art of casting with Hanji to the guests of the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus. This highly energetic process involves tearing, soaking, wringing and beating the Hanji, transforming its fibers into a luminous material that is still tough as leather.

Her leave behind piece, a stunning paper lantern chandelier, utilizes lacquered Hanji and was created with the help of Museum guests.

“The project was possible because of this place and the kids that come here, their hands and energy went in to the process,” said Sammy Lee of the installation, Energy Cloud.

The fixture brings a vibrant, colorful pop of light over the stairwell between ENERGY and WATER. Be sure to check it out on your next visit!

Energy Cloud
by Sammy Lee, fall 2019

NEXT UP: Victor Escobedo, a mixed-media artist who reinterprets the ancient in a modern way. Join him during his open studio hours to learn about Mayan folklore and expression, explore indigenous art forms and make your own hieroglyphics!


Colorado art · Sara Schalliol-Hodge · The Art Studio

Colorado Song Bird

Sara Schalliol-Hodge, our summer artist-in-residence, is many things; industrial designer, merchandiser, print maker, mother, teacher and, perhaps most importantly, a creator.

“I was born with this need to create. I don’t feel like myself if I’m not making things,” said Sara.

Throughout Sara’s residency, she shared her love of print making with Museum members and guests. After hand carving dozens of plants, creatures and shapes in to linoleum blocks, she allowed guests to direct the process.

“Sara really embraced the experimental chaos of the Children’s Museum,” said Salim Khoury, Art Programs Coordinator, “She allowed the kids to create their own narratives, and just be amazed by what they made.”

But the beautiful thing about the Artist-in-Residence Program is that it isn’t a one way street. While Sara shared her process with guests, she learned just as much from them.

“Kids don’t always use materials the way you expect them to, and sometimes, that can open your eyes to a new way of doing things.”

For Sara, this meant switching things up; “This residency gave me a new direction for my art. It has changed my process.”

Her leave behind piece is an embodiment of the growth she experienced at the Children’s Museum. While Sara is accustomed to creating blocks and prints on a small scale, the team here encouraged her to go bigger. Much bigger.

Colorado Song Bird is a stunning, mixed-media, multi-layer collage. Sitting at just over 7 feet wide and 4 feet tall, it brings whimsy, color and a Colorado vibe to the Skyline Gallery, its new home. Be sure to check it out on your next visit to the Museum.

Colorado Song Bird

Up next: Sammy Lee, a mixed-media artist who uses felting and casting techniques. During her open studio hours, guests can knead, pound and layer Hanji, a Mulberry paper from Korea (her birth place!), to transform its fibers into a resilient, yet beautiful material.

Adolfo Romero · Colorado art · Public Art · Uncategorized

The Path of the Buffalo

Through the Artist-in-Residence Program at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, local artists hold open studio hours with Museum guests and use them as an inspiration to create a piece of artwork that is displayed in the Museum. This has taken on many forms, with each artist adding their own twist on what it means.

But never before have we had an artist who incorporated a piece from every child who visited open studio hours – until now.

During his residency, Adolfo Romero created mosaic tiles with Museum guests. And The Path of the Buffalo used every single one of them.

“The buffalo followed the stars, and the people followed the buffalo.”
-Nick Estes

“We don’t make it easy on the artists, and this execution took weeks,” said Director of Exhibits, Chris Van Dyken, “But Adolfo had such a strong vision for the piece, and a passion for what he does. It came through clearly in the artwork.”

A tribute to the wisdom of indigenous people who followed the buffalo during seasonal changes, the piece takes on the form of a hopscotch and evokes the path of the star. For Adolfo, it was important to include a little something from every child; “This is such a powerful piece, and it is full of energy from the children.”

Salim Khoury, Art Programs Coordinator and a fellow clay aficionado, felt a special connection to this residency, “The ceramic process is very humbling and natural. It fit the theme of acknowledging the wisdom and importance of indigenous people.”

The Path of the Buffalo lives in Joy Park, sparking imagination and wonder in all who see it. To learn more about Adolfo and his time at the Museum, check out this article by the Westword.

Colorado art · The Art Studio · Uncategorized

Color Play

On March 22, we said goodbye to artist-in-residence, Julia Rymer. Throughout her residency, Julia encouraged us to not only see colors, but feel them. Her piece, made just for the Museum, is a series of 8 paintings that explores color relationships; Primary, Secondary, Warm, Cool, Monochromatic, Analogous, Earth Tones and Complementary.

Color Play hangs in The Art Studio to remind us all that color is more than what you see. Thank you, Julia, for a beautiful, vibrant and of course, colorful, residency!

Color Play by Julia Rymer


What if?

Art is not meant to be limiting, but sometimes, that’s exactly what it is. A piece didn’t turn out how you planned, so you scrap it. Maybe you start over. Maybe you stop trying.

But what if we gave up our preconceived notion of what art was supposed to be? What if we focused on creating something that represented how we felt in that particular moment, and simply accepted it for what it was?

Enter artist-in-residence Julia Rymer; abstract painter, entrepreneur and mother of two. While studying abroad in the south of France, she decided to cease creating works that mirrored the world around her, and shifted her focus to painting how the landscapes made her feel.

“Each piece is an individual conversation between nature and my emotional experience with it,” explains Julia.

Julia in her studio

As a seasoned art educator, Julia hopes to share not only her knowledge of technique, but create a space where children can discover the connection between color and emotion for themselves through a program she has developed over the years – Color Play.

“Color Play is really about kids exploring materials and noticing how what they are working with – be it a specific paint color or material – makes them feel.”

During her open studio hours, Julia invites conversation with young creators about their artistic choices. “It is a process of discovery,” she explains, “Of colors or of materials they respond to, or forms that express their feelings.”

Open studio hours at the Children’s Museum

Julia is with us through March. Check out her open studio hours here.


Winter Blooms

Artist-in-Residence Tiffany Matheson and Museum guests are taking over The Art Studio with these beautiful blooms!

Join Tiffany during her open studio hours, most Fridays and Saturdays through December, to create your own 3D flower to take home or contribute to the massive flowering tree that is living in the Artist-in-Residence Studio.

Fun fact: When Tiffany went back to school after working in international business for 6 years, she took her first art class instead of a physics lab. And now she is a professional artist!

Want to learn more about Tiffany? Check out her interview with Colorado Parent.

Frankie Toan · Uncategorized

Meet Burt

On September 29, we unveiled the newest addition to The Art Studio, Burt, created by summer artist-in-residence, Frankie Toan.

True to Frankie’s wild and whimsical style, this vibrant piece is designed to be playful and interactive. Using recycled fabrics, Museum guests contributed unique patchworks that were photographed and printed to create Burt’s “skin.” Kiddos and grown-ups can arrange the pieces however they like on the Velcro wall to form a new and fantastic body collage.


Burt, by Frankie Toan


Frankie Toan · The Art Studio

Touch, Don’t Look

In a world where viewing art can often feel pretentious and laden with rules, it’s refreshing to see art that is warm, vibrant and oh-so touchable; begging to be experienced rather than simply seen.

“When I was in second grade, I threw a tantrum because you can’t touch anything in museums,” recalls Frankie Toan, summer artist-in-residence at the Children’s Museum. Perhaps a little foreshadowing of things to come…

Inspiration for his wacky sculptures comes from all kinds of places; science fiction novels, the human body, or even a stroll through Goodwill. This is evident in his abstract, colorful pieces; each one equal parts whimsical and thought-provoking.

Frankie’s art

Art is in Frankie’s blood. Both of Frankie’s parents were artists, and they encouraged exploration and expression early on.

“I often skipped class to hang out in the art room. One time, I even took the rat I was supposed to be training in science to the art room to draw it! When I was looking at colleges, I knew art was something I wanted to explore further.”

College changed everything for Frankie. Mostly a 2-D artist up to that point, the School of the Art Institute in Chicago opened his eyes to other possibilities, and he became passionate about wood, fiber and metal sculpture, with his focus eventually narrowing to fiber, “I have always loved knitting and sewing – I just couldn’t stay away any longer!”

So why the Children’s Museum?

“Play is a huge part of my work, and what better place to play than the Children’s Museum?”

We couldn’t agree more. During Frankie’s studio hours, guests can experiment with sewing, fabrics and fibers. Letting your imagination run wild is highly encouraged.

Studio hours are most Fridays and Saturdays through September from 11 am – 2 pm. Get the full schedule here.

Frankie’s open studio hours


Call for applicants

Now accepting applications for our
2019 Artist-in-Residence Program

Video: Hear what program alums have to say about this one-of-a-kind opportunity

Program Overview

2019 marks the fourth year of the Artist-in-Residence Program at the Children’s Museum. This program provides an opportunity for families to observe and create with professional artists through open studio hours. And, with the help of Museum guests, artists design a custom piece for the Museum. Learn more.

The Artist-in-Residence Program is open to professional artists working in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, installation, photography, clay, textiles, illustration and digital media.

Now accepting applications! Deadline for submission is October 19, 2018. Request for Proposal and application here.


Salim Khoury