On Wednesday, April 4, we said goodbye to our winter artist-in-residence, Jennifer Ghormley. Throughout her residency, guests were delighted to learn the art of printmaking, and kept coming back for more.
“Only three weeks into my residency, I began noticing familiar faces during my open studio hours. I did not expect that!”
Printmaking during open studio hours
Her interactions with Museum guests helped conceptualize her final piece, a hanging installation that incorporates star and moon prints folded into bird-like shapes.
“The printed imagery on the shapes is inspired by the idea that children of all ages should dream big and reach far,” said Jennifer.
More than 200 pieces are suspended from the ceiling in our foyer, designed to gently sway with the air currents, and greet those arriving with a burst of imagination.
Jennifer’s final piece, Reach for the Moon, the Stars and Beyond
Photos just don’t do this piece justice. Check out the video to see how it flutters in the wind.
Jennifer Ghormley is a mixed media artist who works in printmaking and hanging installations, inspired by nature. But it almost didn’t turn out that way.
Jennifer studied commercial photography straight out of high school and spent four years behind the lens of a camera before searching for a new experience. She enrolled in Metropolitan State College right here in Denver and, when all the photography classes were full, she signed up for printmaking.
“As soon as I walked into the printshop, I felt at home,” Jennifer reminisced, “It reminded me of my dad’s garage, filled with all the smells and tools of the trade.”
This happy accident turned into a new path, and ultimately led her to the Children’s Museum’s Artist-in-Residence Program. Excited at the prospect of educating an entirely new audience about printmaking, she applied for residency.
Since January, Jennifer’s open studio hours have been filled with kiddos (and their jubilant grown-ups!) who have discovered the joys of printmaking through scratch-foam relief. Not sure what that means? Check out this demo.
Jennifer has open studio hours on Fridays and Saturdays throughout March. Join her to make your own prints! Get the full list here.
Museum’s own all-star team acts as permanent artists-in-residence
The Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus’ in-house Exhibits Design Team combines technical ingenuity with mind blowing creativity. The result? Exhibits that are dynamic, educational and truly one-of-a-kind.
For nearly a decade, we have been dreaming, designing, building and testing out exhibit ideas that are state-of-the-art, original and fresh, leading our field with progressive experiences for young children and families.
Chris Van Dyken, Director of Exhibits, started at the Museum 7 years ago as an intern. His first project was tackling the science of air play in an early rendition of rockets. Not surprisingly, his favorite exhibit is: Energy, home of rockets; “I love working on different iterations of exhibits with the goal of making them better every time.”
The Museum’s process of prototyping exhibits makes Chris’ dream come true. We have a great idea, but we need to make sure it works. So, we give it a whirl. . . and then another and another. Exhibits that have gone through extensive prototyping include Water, Bubbles, Energy and Altitude, just to name a few. In short, our design team needs to not only be innovative, but flexible and tenacious.
“There’s a nice balance between different forms of design that allows us to bring our own talents and skills to the table,” said Lisa Bult, Exhibit Designer.
Nick Ferro, Exhibit Design and Operations Manager, agrees, “We all have different strengths, and we get to work together to tackle problems creatively. I’m always confident that when I stand with the team, the answer is there.”
In addition to designing, evaluating and updating exhibits to make sure our guests have a top of the line experience, our team works to create beauty and provocation with art, lacing it into everything we do. Check out these photos to see what we mean.
Designed by Marc Hudson, this second rendition of the wind turbine in Energy showcases how air can move matter, and allows guests create vibrant, color-changing art with air.
Artist-in-residence George Perez imparts his unique world view on Museum guests
On Wednesday, January 10, we said goodbye to artist-in-residence George Perez, an artist who challenges us all to explore the feelings of home and nostalgia in our lives.
As a photographer, George has always been interested in taking ordinary household items and making them extraordinary. So throughout his residency, George encouraged Museum guests to look at the things around them in a different way. Sometimes, this meant picking a piece of furniture that reminded them of home and drawing it…blindfolded.
In another case, it meant asking guests to peer through an obscura, a light box that simulates how a camera works, to see their world flipped upside down and backwards.
“George is all about perception, and he inspired a new curiosity in children out of something so simple,” said Salim Khoury, Art Programs Coordinator.
And it’s these “simple” abstract drawings and experiences that served as inspiration for Ripe Lemons, a modular sculpture of a couch that George designed just for the Museum.
But, as always, we are reminded that this artist-in-residence program is a two-way street. George shared, “My biggest take away from my residency is that you can really do anything and it can be a piece of artwork. Working at the Museum, you learn nothing is right or wrong. And that’s the key.”
On July 19, we said goodbye to our spring/summer artist-in-residence, Armando Silva. Beloved for his musical action painting performances, Armando had a knack for reaching even the quietest child and encouraging all to look at art, and themselves, in a whole new way.
And while our guests learned so much from Armando, it appears he gained just as much from his time with them. At his closing reception, Armando read a poem inspired by his residency at the Children’s Museum, all about discovering his inner child.
I contain the mastery of my inner child en mi corazón.
Each day, I am more and more my mother’s treasure and my dad’s pride.
I have siblings I play with and a bike I love to ride.
I’ve worn my favorite shirt four days in a row,
and picked the scab on my knee twice this week.
I see the world but don’t acknowledge it.
I mean, that tree grows so that I can climb it right?
I climb to climb and don’t worry about coming down.
I’m here to play, I’m here to draw and I’m here to paint.
OH! OH! OH!
And that hill over there, I’m going to roll down it as fast as I can!
I’ll turn that towel into a cape and save the dog from being inside all day!
I’m now 30 years of age and I am excited to say…
I contain the mastery of my inner child and that child wants to play.
Kia Neill is a multidisciplinary artist working in mixed media drawing, painting, photography and sculpture. A Chicago native, Neill received her MFA from The University of California, San Diego. She relocated to Denver, CO in 2014 after repeated visits as a Guest Artist in the Breckenridge Arts District (now BreckCreate) to explore her deep attraction to the mountain landscape, which heavily influences her work.
Armando Silva was born in Sombrerete, Zacatecas, Mexico. His family moved to the Northern Colorado area in search of the American Dream when he was just five. Armando quickly became familiar with pop culture in America; everything from Michael Jackson to current cartoons. In 2010 he received his BA in Fine Arts from The University of Northern Colorado. Since graduating, Armando has used his artistic platform to pursue his passion and purpose. He believes he has a responsibility within the community to lead, educate and give back. Armando paints portraits to help tell stories, sometimes in his studio or on stages in front of thousands. As a creative, Armando looks for opportunities to paint a bigger picture. His intuition is to find the greens in a red rose and the blues in an orange.
Betony Coons was unschooled in rural Kansas on an apple orchard. Her parents highly valued abundant play and gave all five children the time to explore and follow their curiosity. Those same values have stayed with Betony through adulthood. As a mother of three, Betony is constantly moved by the beauty and wonder of childhood. This is reflected in her wild and whimsical paintings and murals. Betony’s paintings are large, iconic images holding frenetic energy and bold color within the collage elements and acrylic paint. Her pieces explore home, struggle and love.
George Perez is an artist that creates photographic works through impractical techniques such as long exposure, digital screen shot appropriation, and/or scanography. He received a BFA (Cum Laude) in 2014 from the University of Colorado, Boulder and has also served as artist-in-residence at Redline in Denver. Perez’s work is based on the banal or mundane environments he interacts with on a day-to-day basis and his interpretation of present day society, either in real life or the digital realm. Images are documented and manipulated to alter the meaning into another perception of a particular common narrative.