Ajean Ryan’s residency at the Children’s Museum comes to an end
On January 11, we celebrated the closing of our final artist-in-residence of 2016, Ajean Ryan. Our inaugural class was full of inspiring artists, who leave behind not only a piece made just for the Museum, but their individual legacies.
Jamie Molina, who taught us there are no mistakes in art.
Nicole Banowetz, who introduced us to the unseen world of rotifers.
Wes Sam-Bruce, who showed us the value in posing penetrating, even unanswerable questions.
And finally Ajean, who imparted us with the wisdom that art is transformative. But more than that; art is magic.
With the help of Museum guests, a new world, The Upside Down Garden, came into being; constructed with bits and baubles, Q-tips and pom poms, googly eyes and plastic apples, collected from garage sales over the years with no intended purpose.
At the Closing Reception, Ajean vividly recalled memories from the individual children and adults that helped create the garden. A young girl who visited during her first open studio hours and created a basket of “fresh strawberries” for her; the “perfectly choreographed” way a little boy carefully constructed a creature out of her garage sale “junk”; the enduring patience of an “adult helper” as he painstakingly wrapped coil after coil of pipe cleaner around a Dixie cup to create a new species of plant.
Has a child ever proudly handed you their creation and waited expectantly for your reaction? Too often, we merely mutter, “That’s nice” before moving on to tasks we deem more important, never giving that moment a second thought. Ajean insists we must celebrate these creations, and encourage the children in our lives to explore their imaginations.
Her series of botanical drawings, inspired by The Upside Down Garden, aims to give these pieces a lasting place in the world; “The great thing about this is I was able to capture something that looked like detritus, something that didn’t look valuable, and I feel like that’s really what I love to do. To capture something that these kids made, because for them it is precious, it is a work of art. So to elevate it in the way that I can and give it this representation, it was really important to me.”
Through Ajean’s botanical drawings, these small wonders of a child’s imagination are now a permanent fixture in our Museum, reminding us always that art is magic.
Ajean Ryan’s series of botanical drawings can be viewed outside The Art Studio.