Late Night Materials Bar Showdown!

Hadly Clark is our guest blogger today! She is the coordinator for the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA and enjoys interacting with families and children when they come to visit.

How creative are you when the clock is ticking? Can you create a self portrait out of scraps of cardboard, pipecleaners, raffia, and tape? Are you ready to belly-up to the Materials Bar and Showdown? If you are up for the challenge to create under pressure using everyday materials come to Friday’s Late Nights at the Dallas Museum of Art and take a seat. Every other Late Night in the Center for Creative Connections, our resident sherrif, Rob McCullom spins the Inspiration Wheel, starts the clock, and the Materials Bar Showdown begins. Visitors of all ages are welcome to participate and enjoy the thrill of making something each five minute round.

With a little help from the Inspiration Wheel, participants are given a hint of what to make. When the five minutes are up, the sherrif walks around the Bar while participants show their creations and asks questions like, “What were you thinking about when you made this?” or “What is your creation called?” Although winners are chosen each round for their use of materials, creativity, effort, or craftsmanship and are awarded a small prize, each participant has the option of taking their creation home as a momento or leaving it on our shelf to display in the Museum.

The Materials Bar Showdown has quickly become a highlight for all ages and levels of creativity. Although the Showdown is a race against time, many participants think of it as an exciting personal test. If the Inspiration Wheel lands on ‘Fashion a wearable decoration’ you will see participants all over the Museum wearing their finished hats, jewelry, and glasses. Participants who leave their creations often inspire future creations by other visitors after Late Night.

Several families have made the Materials Bar Showdown and Late Nights a monthly outing with friends. One mother said to me, “We come every Late Night with the kids and the Showdown is their favorite because they can create something of their own and show their friends. We’ve even started doing our own Showdowns at home with recycled materials I find around the house.”

Many people who observe art-making at the Materials Bar notice something exceptional happening. One father said, “My daughter doesn’t even know that little girl sitting next to her but they are creating something together. And my wife is making a boat! I didn’t even know she could do that.”

Although the Materials Bar is always open during regular Museum hours, the Showdown is a fun challenge for kids and encourages out-of-the-ordinary art-making. Come join us in the Center for Creative Connections at the Materials Bar this Friday at 9:00 and 11:00 p.m. and see how you create against the clock!



Filed under Art Projects, Center for Creative Connections, Children’s art, DMA Programs, Games, In the galleries, Materials Bar, Overheard, Parents

2 responses to “Late Night Materials Bar Showdown!

  1. Nathaniel

    The Showdown is a one of the highlights of Late Nights, but no matter when I’m visiting the museum, the first place I always go is Materials Bar. Its the only place in the museum where you can experience a gallery of artwork, and get to contribute some of your own.

  2. A museum that makes people into artists … awesome. I was reading this and thinking to myself, “I hope ‘all age groups’ means MY age group because this sounds fun!” One person said they had made a Materials Bar in their house — why not in schools, churches, the DMV? Especially during an economic crisis, it’s important for people to remember than the most beautiful, fun and memorable things come from their mind. Art has its day.

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