What if?

Art is not meant to be limiting, but oftentimes, 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 encourage children to discover the connection between color and emotion for themselves.

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




Go big or go home

Thank you, Jessica Forrestal, for a beautiful residency. This video says it all…

Jessica’s final piece, a 77 ft. tall outdoor mural on our yellow HVAC System, was inspired by her time at the Museum.

Crawling up the building like a creeping vine, this dream-like piece is filled with the unexpected. Drawings contributed by Museum guests are peppered throughout to add a spark of imagination and whimsy. This mural is meant to be experienced, so take a long look… what do you see?

Jessica's Final Piece-11
I See You,
Do You See Me?
by Jessica Forrestal


Jessica Forrestal · Uncategorized

What if it isn’t junk?

Pipes, screws and wheels. Nuts, bolts and wires. To some people, these are meaningless, transient debris from a busy world. But what if they aren’t? What if these often discarded scraps have a life of their own, or a life after they have been tossed aside?

Enter Jessica Forrestal. While living in New York, she noticed city streets piled high with detritus and thought, What if it isn’t junk? What if this could be made into something new?

So she started creating sculptures from items she rescued. When she became frustrated that gravity wouldn’t allow her to build structures as she imagined them, she turned to pen and paper. And after deciding small scale drawings didn’t have the presence she desired, she went bigger. Much bigger.

artwork sample

Installation at ReCreative Denver

But her drive to mural goes even deeper – in a world where humans are ever-focused on acquiring, Jessica sought to make art that could not be owned.

“We are always collecting things that are going to improve us, that will give us value. Even art has become a commodity to show our worth. I wanted to take that away,” explains Jessica, “By putting it on a wall, people are forced to come experience art, rather than own it.”

A bold approach, no doubt, and one she brings to the Children’s Museum as our spring artist-in-residence. During her open studio hours, she strives to encourage kids to appreciate items for what they could be, rather than what they are. Like re-imagining a screw as a snail or transforming a nozzle into a beautiful flower.

Jessica’s open studio hours

Stop by to create with Jessica most Fridays and Saturdays through June, and maybe you too will learn that things aren’t always what they seem – they are what you make of them.