Pop-Up Museum: Art

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!

 

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Pop-In to Our Pop-Up

“Art” can be so intimidating. It sounds like something formal, something that has already been appreciated and given value by those in the right circles. That’s not the art we’re looking for at our Pop-Up Museum, nor is it the art we’re looking for, creating, and sharing with Studio Rhode Westerly. We’re looking at art in the broadest sense, we want to see what you think represents art! It might be a piece from an established artist, it might be something unexpected from someone completely unknown. It might even be a tool used to create art! We want you to bring it all to our Pop-Up Museum on Wednesday, September 27th.

Speaking of tools used to create art, we’ll have iPads on hand so you can try out some neat art apps. Our latest favorite is Tayasui Sketches, where you can play around with different brushes and pens to create something amazing. If you don’t have any art to bring in, you can make some here! You can also try out the camera to help us document the Museum for our other blog, Westerly Pop-Up Museum!

So come to the Auditorium this Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 pm to share your art or just see what others have brought in! We will also be collecting mini-profiles for our Artists of Westerly series, so you can get interviewed! We’re looking for all levels of artistry, even those who don’t think they’re an artist.

Our First of Many #artistsofwesterly

There’s always a thousand reasons to wait to start something, but sometimes you need to jump in! Our WAM! idea has evolved and became a project to document our local artists, both known and unknown, professional and hobbyist, advanced and beginner. Some entries into this collection will be photos with captions taken from brief interviews with the subject; others will be 5-minute interviews recorded in iMovie for more established artists to talk about their craft. While this seems simple (and puts a lot less pressure on our artists,) it is actually slightly more work for us in the background. I stalled right from the get-go, worrying about developing a list of questions to ask our artists while I was bogged down with other projects. I didn’t want to get out there unprepared;  I felt I needed that list of questions and sample posts as a security blanket before getting out there and asking people to get involved.

I was inspired during the opening reception for our library’s current gallery exhibit, Treasure through Time, which features unique items from the library’s Special Collections. I was talking to one of our dedicated volunteers, who used his artistic eye to help hang and display the pieces in the exhibit, but also brought in a stunning floral arrangement from his day job as a florist. I had to talk to him about the flowers, as they were arranged in such a unique and stunning way – I can’t say I’ve ever imagined that thistles, orchids, and carnations would look so great together. Our volunteer, Michael Barber, explained that he has a background in Fine Arts, and has been a florist for many years (on top of using his creative talents in many other venues.) This was it! This artist (Mr. Barber) and this work of art (the floral arrangement) would be our very first #artistsofwesterly post!

 

I now feel emboldened to collect more photos and interviews and document our artists! I think that the list of questions and example posts can come together after a few practice runs (maybe on my creative coworkers, who are #artistsofwesterly as well.) I will definitely try to feature Mr. Barber again as he has worked with so many mediums in so many different ways that he is a creative treasure trove!

The lesson here is that if you wait too long to be ready, you’ll never start. This applies not only to the #artistsofwesterly project, but also to that creative project you’ve been thinking of taking up. Jump into it – and then tell me about it so I can document it!

Be an Artist at Our Pop-Up Museum

We’ve been saying this a lot, but it bears repeating: everyone is an artist. Because of this, we want to give anyone and everyone a chance to exhibit at our next Pop-Up Museum: Art Edition on September 27th.

Pop-Up Museum came from an idea by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. Each one is a temporary exhibit made up by anyone who wants to participate. Each Pop-Up has a theme, so participants are asked to bring something that fits the theme. Our Pop-Ups are two hours long, so you can bring an item, make a label for it, mingle and look at the exhibited items, then take your item home with you when you leave.

We have invited members of WRAP (Westerly Regional Arts Partnership) to show off pieces, but we also welcome members of the community to bring in art that they have created, things they use to create art, a favorite piece of art – the possibilities are endless! Anything that represents art or fits the theme of art is welcome! We hope to display many different mediums and skill levels. It will also give all of the artists in attendance (both professional and casual) and visitors a chance to discuss their art and their involvement in the arts.

As with all of our Pop-Up Museums, we will document the items brought in on our Pop-Up Museum blog. We also hope to document the artists and visitors who come in as part of our #artistsofwesterly series. We will take photos and brief interviews during the event (Humans of New York-style) and see if anyone would be interested in our 5-minute interview series (a variant of original WAM! Talks idea.)

We’re currently brainstorming for some art-on-the-spot challenges that may happen during the Pop-Up, so even if you don’t have anything to bring in, you can create something to display while visiting the Pop-Up.

For more information on this or any other Pop-Up Museum at Westerly Library, contact Colleen at cwalsh@westerlylibrary.org

What is WAM?!

WAM stands for Westerly Arts and Media, which we hope to bring a focus to by featuring different artists or art forms. While it was originally planned to be a series of artist talks, it has been adapted into a series of 5-minute interviews and “Artists of Westerly” photo series (much like Humans of New York, but with an artistic twist.)

We will feature known local artists, up-and-comers, and average patrons who may have a secret creative side. Stay tuned for upcoming photos and videos, or keep your eyes peeled for WAM! representatives at Westerly Library and Wilcox Park events.

If you are interested in participating as a subject of a photo or video interviewing, or if you are interested in helping to collect or conduct these interviews, please contact Colleen at cwalsh@westerlylibrary.org