Teens + Toys = Design Contest Fun!

JC Bigornia is our guest blogger today! He is the Coordinator of Family Programs at the DMA and enjoys creating works of art in the C3 Studio with children and teaching families and teens in the galleries.


 November’s Late Night marked the second of what I hope will become a continuing program for teens linking the Art Studio and experiences with works of art in the galleries.  In years past, I’ve been approached by many parents eager to find something for their teenage son or daughter to participate in.  Recently, a conscious effort has been made to offer more for this under-served demographic.  From film camps, tech-based programs, Creativity Challenges and more, teens can experience a wide range of activities that cater to their interests.  We hope to expand on these terrific programs by adding unique and relatable workshops in the studio.

 In July, we created a graffiti-style mural inspired by artist Mark Bradford; this time, we took a peek at the world of high-end toys by holding a design contest using works of art in the All the World’s a Stage exhibition as our inspiration.  Participants were given time to explore and sketch in the show then returned to the Art Studio to make their designs.  The top five eligible entries were posted on the Museum’s Facebook page, where an online vote determined our first, second, and third-place winners.  The grand prize is a 7-inch Munny D.I.Y. toy that the winner can customize however he or she wants!

Photos of all the submissions can be seen on our Flickr page.

Toys and art, you say?  Before raising an eyebrow in skepticism, it should be said that the two actually have very much to do with each another.  For those unfamiliar with so-called “designer toys,” they have grown quite a following in the past decade and represent a very real link between pop culture and the art world. 

What separates them from your average Transformer or My Little Pony is the fact that they are designed in collaboration with artists of all types, from street artists, graphic designers, and illustrators to fine artists. Contemporary artists like Takashi Murakami have started to bring designer toys into the mainstream (he has exhibited at MOCA and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, among others).  And with the advent of do-it-yourself designer toys, you can create your own custom work of toy art!


I think the real value of the Late Night activity was not only offering something that was fun, but that it allowed everyone to respond to what they saw in the exhibition in their own way.  I was blown away by the creativity of all of the designs, and excited to see the works of art people chose as their inspiration, and how they integrated them into their drawings.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves, and I was impressed not only at how involved the adults became in their own designs, but the dialogue and interaction that took place between parents and teens in the galleries.

If you have a teen at home who’s looking for something different to do, have them check out the DMA—I think they’ll definitely find something to pique their curiosity!   We plan to offer more teen programs at future Late Nights; more information will be available on our website. 

For more information on Munny D.I.Y. toys, go to the Munny Facebook page and Kidrobot website!

 Munny and Dunny artwork copyright © Kidrobot, all rights reserved, all wrongs righted.  Munny & Dunny & Kidrobot are trademarked.

Posted by: JC 



Filed under Art Projects, Late Night, Teens

2 responses to “Teens + Toys = Design Contest Fun!

  1. A thoughtful insight and ideas I will use on my blog. You’ve obviously spent some time on this. Well done!

  2. i like to buy children toys that are educational too, in this way, your kids can learn by playing ,:;

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