I’m so disappointed that I won’t be able to attend Shine A Light! The Portland Art Museum is hosting this amazing event on Friday, and designed it to encourage museum visitors to “rethink what can happen in a museum.” As the director of education puts it,

The Museum itself and its long-held conventions—its galleries, ball rooms, coat closets, tours, exhibitions, and publications—all are rethought, remixed and offered up for our examination, participation, and pleasure. Shine on.

They’re not kidding! The event was planned in collaboration with Portland State University’s awesome graduate program in Art and Social Practice, and includes such activities as:

  • Get a haircut inspired by a work of art
  • Hear a series of short poems read in overlooked spaces (coat closets, storage spaces)
  • Play Petanque in the sculpture court (a game similar to bocce)
  • Dance (either square- or break-)
  • Try beers from local breweries and art-inspired recipes by local chefs
  • Get a free tattoo inspired by a work of art (not necessarily temporary!)

I love the tattoo designs that were created based on visits to the museum. Here are the options, along with the works that inspired them (image source and more info: Art Is Forever)

Portland Art Museum

Check out the Shine A Light 2011 brochure for more information! See you next year?


Measuring for the installation of a new work.

Create your own
Banksy-style street art on the Tate Kids website!

Yesterday over on Design*Sponge Grace shared an amazing installation at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Two brothers created a “field” of fabric-covered foam, set it up on the floor of the Raphael Cartoons Gallery, and encouraged visitors to walk, sit, or lounge on it as they wished.

(Images via Design*Sponge)

You can read more about the installation process and the designers’ hopes for the piece on its website, but like all art, it’s meant to prompt individual reactions and responses. Personally, I’m immediately drawn to the color palette, which seems both calming and energizing, and curious about the experience of using it.

The idea of using this as an item of furniture inside the museum is odd, of course, but I love the way it raises the question of what the “right” way to experience artwork is. Why not lounge on the floor to view art? Would sitting on a comfortable surface encourage a visitor to stay longer, concentrate better, look more closely?

I wish that I could try this out in person… but it’s in London, and only up for a week. If you check it out please share! What do you think?

This summer, the high school interns at the Met worked with textile artist Faith Ringgold on a Peace Quilt. As part of this project, they studied textiles across the museum’s collection. Some of the students’ works are on display, and this one in particular catches my eye every time I walk past:

I’ve been reading Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Danny Danziger over the past few weeks. It’s the perfect book to read on the subway, because it’s broken into short essays (interviews with the questions removed) by employees across the Met. Though I am disappointed to see Education underrepresented, it’s fascinating to hear from donors, the florist, the head of security, curators, and custodians about what they do, how they came to work at the Met, and what their life is like outside of it.

Image source and more information: Amazon


I recently learned of a new-to-me type of program in museum education: the Rubin Museum of Art offers parent involvement workshops. Schools and communities can request that the museum staff travel to their location and introduce activities that will foster conversation about art, learning, goals, and achievement.

It’s developed specifically to create habits of dialogue between the child and parent, and is designed to be used with any type of artwork, not just items in the Rubin. According to my conversation with David Bowles, the Manager of School Programs at the Rubin, the goal  was to help children and their parents develop new ways of communicating about learning.

I think this is a fantastic idea. The child’s experiences with art are supported from multiple areas of his or her life, parents learn new ways to engage with their child, and the benefits extend into other areas of their relationship. Has anyone participated in or developed a program like this? I’ll do some research and follow up here with any similar programs or information that I find!