Thursday Nights, Visiting Artists, and a Fox Named Jack

Our guest blogger today is Hadly Clark, Center for Creative Connections Coordinator.

A Thursday Night participant shows off his work of art titled, "Cloud Puff"

Each month, the Center for Creative Connections welcomes a different local artist to share their artistic process and celebrate creativity through a variety of drop-in, hands-on, art-making projects every Thursday night at the Museum. Featured visiting artists have included photographers, filmmakers, sound designers, performers, storytellers, mixed media, textile and even visual effects artists. Since the Center first opened two years ago, we have hosted tons of artist-facilitated workshops and programs. Participants have taken photos and filmed their own videos in the galleries, used shadows to tell stories, written poems inspired by works of art, sculpted with wire and puzzle pieces, created puff paint jewelry, made handmade felt, and concrete collages.

Our very own staff member Shelagh proudly wears her work of art created during a Thursday night workshop.

The list of art-making continues to grow every month and so does the amount of fun participants have! Artist-lead Thursday Night programs have quickly become a hit, allowing visitors to the Museum and DMA staff members to have a blast learning new art-making techniques and showing off their work. Participants not only find Thursday Night programs in the Center entertaining, but also an opportunity for artistic development.

So far, my favorite Thursday Night activity has been the Stuffed Creatures Artist Workshop, with visual artist, performer, and installation artist Jill Foley and visual effects artist Mitch Rogers. Jill Foley uses recycled cardboard to create large-scale imaginary-type spaces that contain her drawings, paintings, found objects, sewn characters, and puppet-like figural sculptures. She then hosts participatory happenings and performances in her space. Mitch Rogers on the other hand is a nationally recognized visual effects artist who builds an array of specialized props and life-like dummies for film and TV. He is an expert on creating complex silicone and urethane molds for sculpture. With Jill and Mitch’s combined artistic talent and creativity, participants were encouraged to think outside the box while making their own stuffed creatures using fabric and vintage casted silicone toy baby doll parts.

A Thursday Night "regular" shares his stuffed creature

Fabric and polyfil were strewn about the café tables in the Center as participants created creatures to take home and give to friends and family. Although I was officially working that night, I desperately wanted to be a part of the workshop and make my own creature: a fox named Jack.

Thursday Night programs in the Center are designed as casual drop-in activities. People of all ages and levels of expertise are welcomed. A few participants were expert sewers and had no problem getting started; however, the last time I had picked up a needle and thread was for my second-grade dinosaur pillow project. Jill patiently helped me through it all, and other participants supported me as the evening progressed till my fox was stuffed and sewn together. My fox Jack is still a work-in-progress and has become my pet project for the summer. He may not have eyes, a nose or mouth yet but I’m working on it!

Jack the Fox in progress

I am already looking forward to this month’s upcoming programs!

Don’t forget to drop-in the Center for Creative Connections Thursday Nights for a fun and unique art-making project with a visiting artist. June’s featured artist is Sara Cardona, a visual artist who creates mixed media work influenced by her experience with theater and film. Sara uses a unique mix of common but unexpected materials to create mixed media work and collages. She draws on surfaces such as maps, file folders, and spare paper and uses everyday materials such as ink, ballpoint, correction fluid, markers, and thread.

To see the full schedule of Thursday night programs, click here. Hope to see you soon!

Posted by: Hadly

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