Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gone Conferencing, Part II: Play!

Before and in between InterActivity conference sessions, we filled our time with some excellent museum adventures and plenty of other fun!

Art Car Museum

The Art Car Museum is the only museum of its kind in the country, a mix of intricate, wacky art cars and gallery space. The story of how Houston artist Mark David Bradford created the current exhibit of (fully functional) art cars resonated with all of us: he used silverware that was abandoned by the airlines post-9/11. Reclaimed materials become beautiful, provocative art!
Janice: The best thing I saw in Houston – I love quirky museums and this is one of the quirkiest! Very much itself – obviously a meeting ground for art car aficionados. Staff was friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The art cars on exhibit were fantastic (in the true sense of the word), beautifully crafted, and had a great sense of humor. I loved the dragon car with hundreds of thousands of spoons for silvery scales. Biggest regret: Leaving the day before the BIG Houston Art Car Parade!
A distant relative of Nori, our rooftop dragon?

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Robin: I really enjoyed playing in Carlos Cruz-Diez's exhibition “Color in Space and Time.” The works encouraged us to experiment with optics and color by moving our bodies around the pieces – it was a bit science, a bit color theory and lots of fun. I especially liked sharing the exhibit with colleagues and learning favorite tricks from the MFA's docents.

Megan: The exhibit was really a playground of perception, inviting us to investigate how colors change and blend depending on distance and motion.
© 2010 Carlos Cruz-Diez/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

Children’s Museum of Houston

Our visit to the Children's Museum of Houston during a conference evening event revealed an amazing water play area, inspirational studio space, and great activity tables!
Robin, Janice and Carly shoot streams of water into a giant basin.

Carly: I wandered into the art studio, lured by rolls of duct tape in crazy patterns and colors. The volunteers leading a duct tape wallet-making activity were pre-teen sisters who told me about how they also serve on a kids' advisory, offering their suggestions and feedback for the museum in regular meetings. The girls radiated an empowered sense of belonging to the museum, while helping it grow with their own ideas. I love this!

Other fun stuff

We went to the opening night Pecha Kucha event, led by Paul Orselli. Ten inspirational presentations and a perfect way to start the conference.

Yes, it's true that everything's bigger in Texas. But we wished we'd turned that other slogan on its head by wearing “don’t mess with Rhode Island, either” t-shirts.

Some of us enjoyed the aforementioned elevators more than others, zooming past floor after floor from top to bottom of the hotel!

And we might have been spotted with children's museum folks from across the country carousing at a dueling piano bar…

A big thanks to all of our children's museum colleagues for the inspiration, ideas and FUN!

1 comment:

Merideth said...

Patterned and colored duct tape? That sounds dreamy! Sounds like you all had a great time :)