We’ve been all about adapting and expanding some of our existing programs with Studio Rhode Westerly, and that includes our Pop-Up Museums. All of our Pop-Ups have been documented using iPads, but for our September Museum, we went way farther: the iPads were a dynamic, hands-on, every-changing part of the exhibit!
Pop-Up Museums have put us in touch with very talented artists and craftspeople already, so it seemed like a natural fit to bring WAM’s new focus into it. WAM! is now about making mini-profiles of local artists and sharing them using the hashtag #artistsofwesterly, so creating a mini-museum and asking artists to join in fits well. Through this, we were able to meet artists and ask if they would be interested in being profiled. Stay tuned for the upcoming profiles!
Since “Art” is such a broad term, we didn’t want anyone to feel intimidated to display something. From there, I got the idea to let attendees create art on the spot if they didn’t bring anything to display. This started as making bookmarks with our Studio Rhode Westerly blog printed on one side, blank on the other, so that attendees could design a bookmark using colored pencils. That wasn’t so popular, no one tried it. The idea also morphed into allowing attendees to create art on the iPads. That was a big success, nearly every attendee tried it (I even had to run and grab more iPads from the charging cart.) We all used Tayasui Sketches and the Apple Pencil, plus some attendees also tried out the camera and a text app.
In all, we had 2 patron exhibitors, 2 staff exhibitors, and an item from the library’s collection. We had 10 attendees who came to look around and create art. It may not sound like a lot, but attendance at our Pop-Ups has been hit-or-miss, so this was a lot closer to a hit.
This event has inspired new program ideas. Since the iPads were so popular, we may consider hosting more programs where patrons can just play around and create art; no pressure, no formal lesson plan, just creativity. One of our attendees is a very talented digital artist who creates all of his art on an iPhone, and he was full of great app suggestions and program ideas. He may be willing to help us run programs, which would be hugely beneficial to our artisitic patrons!