January 30, 2008

Museum plans free Saturday programs for kids

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — One of the neat things about Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Completely Free Saturday programs at the University Museum is just that – it's neat.

Any mess from glue, ink or paper scraps stays at the museum. Just the child and the project come home. What a great, no-mess-at-my-house way to introduce a child to art!

Robert DeHoet, education director for the museum, has five Saturday programs lined up for the spring 2008 semester to coincide with the museum exhibits. The program is as much art education as art project.

"When a program links to ideas and objects in the museum, program participants get a chance to experience the University Museum in different ways, viewing and discussing unique objects in the exhibits in order to create something special of their own," he said.

DeHoet explained that each program focuses on a different idea in the museum. For instance, he said, the "Printmaking and Japanese Lanterns" program takes its inspiration from a Japanese woodblock print exhibit. A glass exhibit by Rick Beck inspired "Robot Shoes," he said.

The programs are free, but participants must pre-register. Call the University Museum at 618/453-5388 to register. Carbondale Girl Scouts are the lead group for several programs. Programs are best suited for children ages 7 to 14. They begin at 1:30 p.m. and end at 3:30 p.m.

Here are the programs:

Feb. 16 – Printmaking and Japanese Lanterns

The program starts with the Japanese woodcut print exhibit, then proceeds to a two-part art project. Participants make their own prints, then use the prints to make Japanese lanterns.

March 8 – Found Art: Robot Shoes

What does a robot wear for shoes? Whatever the "museum kids" find for it to wear. This program begins with Rick Beck's glass exhibit, focusing on his "found object" art. Participants will make robot shoes using a combination of painting and attaching objects to the "shoes" they make. When they are finished, they create a story in which they tell about their "robot" and give it a purpose.

March 29 – Dinosaur World: Wire Sculpture 1

Fred Myers didn't have much to go on when he sculpted his dinosaurs and prehistoric animals for the University Museum in the late 1930s and early 1940s. His creations are the taking-off point for this program. Participants make dinosaurs with wire, limited by their imaginations rather than by science.

April 26 – Fantastic Theater: Wire Sculpture 2

To hat or not to hat? In this program, young artists twist and turn wire into people for an imaginary theater scene. The wire people can be happy or sad, fat or thin, hatted or bareheaded – it's all up to the artist.

May 10 – Wish Boxes

This program coincides with the whimsical "Hold Everything" exhibit at the University Museum. After checking out the containers undergraduate museology students found in the museum archives, participants make boxes of their own. The boxes can hold a wish, a reminder of a happy memory, a hope for the future. Participants may bring small objects to decorate the boxes or to put inside them.