Category Archives: Art Education

Local Designer Leads KMAC Fashion Camp

By: Ramona Lindsey, director of education

What’s the best way to spend a week out of school?   Is it sunbathing  on a white sandy beach?  What about watching hours of Neflix?  Maybe it’s hours of tormenting a brother or sister?  Well, KMAC thinks the best way to spend the week is creating wearable art with a locally recognized fashion designer. During the week of April 4th-8th, Frances Lewis, founder and lead designer of Ann De Evelyn, will work with campers (grades 4-8) at KMAC Camp Couture 2016.

KMAC Camp Couture is a weeklong opportunity to learn how to create like a KMAC Couture Designer.   KMAC Couture: Art Walks the Runway is a Louisville favorite event where local artists and designers create wearable art from the most unlikely materials.  Guests of this elaborate and unique fashion show have watched models dressed in high fashions made from dried fruit, broken dishes, birthday cards, and even garbage. Frances Lewis is a three year veteran of KMAC Couture.  Her dress made of hair extensions is featured on the KMAC Couture 2016 poster.

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Camp Couture 2016 will be the first time that a veteran KMAC Couture artist will guide campers through the process of making a wearable piece of art. Campers will work in two-person design teams to make a complete look that will be showcased during KMAC Couture 2016.  Each team will have 5 days to transform a basic mannequin and muslin into something totally outrageous  yet glamorous.  Here’s what will happen each day:

Day 1:  Create A Fashion House with Your Partner.  You will come up with a logo, signature design style, & mood boards.

Day 2:  Learn Stitching Basics by Hand and Machine.   Use your stitches to design a custom bag with hand appliquéd screenprinted motifs.

Day 3: Meet Your Model and Follow a Pattern.  You will create the perfect model using a mannequin that will wear a circle skirt or shorts that you sew.

Day 4: Make It Couture.  KMAC Couture means adding the unthinkable to your skirt and mannequin to make it completely artsy.

Day 5:  Take it Over the Top.   Use the skills you learned to create textile jewelry that will rocket your look to the extreme.

Each camper will go home at the end of the week with items they created as individuals and a team.  In addition, they will have the opportunity to share ideas, stories, and challenges with other young people who are wild about fashion.  KMAC Camp Couture 2016 is sure to be an unforgettable experience where campers enjoy the ultimate combination of fashion and art.  Online registration is open but there is space for only 18 campers.  I hope to meet you at KMAC Camp Couture 2016.

 

For more information, or to register, click here. With questions or concerns, email Assistant Director of Education Sarah McCartt-Jackson at sarah@kmacmuseum.org.

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Light Up the Season with Art

By: Ramona Lindsey, KMAC director of education

In many countries, the winter months celebrate light. Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, celebrates the victory of light over darkness and hope over despair. The candlelight of the Jewish menorah reminds believers during Hanukkah of God’s ability to provide in periods of lack. The ancient Germanic and Nordic people marked the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, with the Yule festival. A Yule log was lit to mark the rebirth of the sun and the life it provided. This practice was adopted by Christians to celebrate the birth of the Jesus. In all of these celebrations, light reflects hope.

Visual art often reflects what is most important to people. At KMAC’s Winter Family Fun Day, we invite families to light up the season with art. The winter holidays are a wonderful time to laugh, create, and share. Family art making is a great way to do all three. But it is also a practical way to practice creative decision-making, problem solving, and cooperation. Designing a pattern, selecting colors, and sharing work are all necessary steps for creating a work of art your family will always remember.

This is also a season of reflection. There are many individuals who spend the holiday season without family. For them, making art is one activity that can bring joy. KMAC wants to provide the joy of art to young people at YMCA SafePlace Services. We are asking every family who attends KMAC Winter Family Fun Day to bring at least one new art supply to be donated to SafePlace. Imagine the sparkles of joy that can be created with new sketch books, drawing pencils, colored pencils, markers, paints, and brushes. We hope you will spend part of this holiday season with KMAC lighting up the season with art.

Winter Family Fun Day will be held on December 5 from 11am-4pm in the KMAC satellite space and  pop-up shop, 611 West Main Street. RSVP on Facebook here!

Thinking About Art & “The Mending Project”

The first in a series of post from the Ramona Lindsey, Director of the KMAC Education Department.

What is art? Is art an object to be seen? Or is it a functional thing created with the finest workmanship? Can it be a combination of beauty and function? Or is it the sharing of ideas? This post does not answer this age old question. Instead it raises more questions.

KMAC recently closed Food Shelter Clothing, curated by Chief Curator and Executive Director Aldy Milliken. His show included Lee Mingwei’s The Mending Project. The installation asked art patrons to bring in items of clothing to be mended or repaired by an artist mender. In 2009, The Mending Project debuted at the Lombard-Freid Projects (New York, NY). The New York installation resulted in long lines and hundreds of mended garments.

While KMAC’s reiteration did not draw hundreds of participants, we did bring in a faithful group of community mending volunteers. Many members of the Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists (LAFTA) volunteered as KMAC artist menders. During their September meeting, Kathleen Loomis, a noted textile artist, led the group in a discussion of The Mending Project experience. Kathy asked me as KMAC’s Director of Education and fellow LAFTA member to share KMAC’s perspective of the project.

Kathy described Lee Mingwei’s installation as relational aesthetics. I prefer the more relatable term participatory art. Both terms refer to the artist’s ability to create an environment where the viewers or visitors become a part of the art through an interaction or performance. Mingwei’s Mending Project created a space where two strangers shared themselves through an action (mending) and conversation (storytelling). In participatory art, the artist does not force a particular outcome but desires spontaneous, organic responses. Kathy shared with LAFTA members her disappointment in the number of garments that were mended. Actually, KMAC hoped for greater community participation. But is quantity an accurate measure of effective art?

Also during the discussion, Kathy shared entries from a communal journal kept by KMAC artist menders in which they wrote their daily thoughts after their volunteer mending shifts. Kathy started by sharing several entries, each mimicking statements similar to “No mending today!” Then she read a question left by one of the menders which read, “There may not be any mending, but what IS happening here?” Finally, Kathy quoted her response: “I think we are building a community— not with people in torn pants, but among ourselves! If you’re not mending, would you add some stitches to my swatch and make collaborative art?”

Proudly, she showed us a beautiful piece of fabric carefully embroidered using the colorful thread Lee Mingwei selected for his installation. K_Loomis_GroupArt

Her readings compelled me to wonder, “What is effective art?” Does effective art challenge people to push beyond constraints? Does it prompt new questions? Does it provoke creativity? If the answer is yes, then I believe The Mending Project is an example of effective contemporary art. It allowed a community of textile artists using traditional hand stitching processes to engage with the community. The menders’ journal and Kathy’s collaborative art are a real life display of KMAC’s slogan, “Art is the big idea, craft is the process!” You can read more about Lee Mingwei’s art at http://www.leemingwei.com/.

Docent. Funny Title for a Fun Job

Docents are one of the best assets to museums. They volunteer their time to learn in-depth about exhibitions and then share their learned knowledge with visitors on guided tours. They field questions and comments about art, the process of art,  and who it is making art in order to aide patrons to a better understanding of something that can be intimidating. It’s a stimulating exchange of ideas and insight between guide and guest.

KMAC recently revived the docent program and we welcome Dana Moore and Gretchen Treitz Brown to the team of dedicated museum volunteers. The current exhibition The New Art of the Loom is their second exhibition giving guided tours. They also guide school field trip tours. Docent tours are available every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month at 3pm. Simply meet at KMAC’s front reception desk. There is no added fee for the guided tour.

We asked Dana and Gretchen to give us a few observations about being a docent and how they came to volunteer at KMAC.

Gretchen Treitz Brown
“As a docent, I provide tours to facilitate a rewarding museum experience.  I love to help the viewer connect with a piece.  I feel privileged to receive the training from KMAC curators and educators. At KMAC, there is a rich and diverse audience; my experience has been with local, national, and international visitors.  My conversations with visitors bring out more and different ways to view things–visitors and docents can interact and learn from each other.  Each time I give a tour, I notice something new.  Something magical happens when a visitor takes the time to contemplate a detail I might point out.  I tend to talk about my favorite pieces, however, it has been so valuable to learn about an unfamiliar artist or process.  Besides the continuous training process, I enjoy the additional reading and studying about each exhibit.  I can answer questions, thus offering a more satisfying experience.  My interactions with a piece are heightened when visitors share their insights, whether students or adults.  Because I have a significant commitment to the visual arts, it has been a joy to attend curator tours, lectures, exhibition openings, orientation, and on-going training.”

Dana Moore
“I first became aware of KMAC when my son was small and he participated in Winter Break workshops and Summer Art Camp.  I have participated in several hands-on workshops and even worked with metal in a session taught by Craig Kaviar.

I’ve always had an interest in art since childhood and love the process that goes into creating an artwork.  My family loves to travel and museums are always on our list of places to visit.

I am a retired Speech Language Pathologist who worked primarily in the public schools.  Volunteering as a Docent will still let me show students the process and creative thought that goes into a work of art.  I like listening to the KMAC staff and always look forward to learning and seeing new exhibits.”

If you’re passionate about art and love to share this excitement with others, consider becoming a KMAC docent. Email Dane at dane@kmacmuseum.org for more details.

Weaving A Community With Our Stories

Scientists have proven the positive health benefits we receive when we journal or create art to express our life experiences, so the museum presents the perfect opportunity for the community to do both. The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, in partnership with The Little Loomhouse, present Weaving A Community With Our Stories, an interactive weaving project designed to initiate the discovery of personal stories that bind us together in hope and healing as a community. This project is in conjunction with the current exhibition The New Art of the Loom: Contemporary International Tapestry and is open to the Louisville community and museum visitors until January 25, 2015.
KMAC contacted local community organizations (Neighborhood House, Cabbage Patch Settlement House, Gilda’s Club, Youth Detention Services, ESL Newcomer’s Academy, The Healing Place, JCTC ESL Students and others) and asked the people they serve to create story cloths to be used as the warp or first layer of the community tapestry. Participants received hand-dyed blank story cloths upon which they wrote their personal stories through prose, poetry or drawings. The warp consists of 100 story cloths that are interwoven on a large standing loom built by YouthBuild Louisville and installed in the second floor gallery of the Museum.

KMAC Educator, Sarah McCartt-Jackson, said, “the Museum has made and enriched connections with many organizations and voices that otherwise might be unheard, marginalized, or misunderstood.” Mrs. McCartt-Jackson helped in facilitating the students from the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program at Jefferson Community & Technical College (JCTC), which provide a great example of these powerful stories:

“Coming to America is a big dream for many people but living is different reality.”

“The languages of the world wake me up every day! I love the sea. I am snow. My name is your name. I believe in music. One world, many voices”

“My name is Mohamed. I was born in Somalia and grown up in Kenya. Came to America in the age of 19 years. My English was very bad. Coming to the United States was very good opportunity for my family and I. The reason I go to school today is to get my social work degree!”

The Weft Phase of the project is crafted by weaving in additional story cloths from Museum visitors, which continues throughout The New Art of the Loom exhibit (January 25). Blank story cloths are available and located in the second floor gallery.

The Little Loomhouse

The mission of the Little Loomhouse is to promote the Lou Tate landmark home and center for textile art and education as a cultural destination through preservation of the three historic cabins and education of textile folk art for all ages. The Little Loomhouse is owned and operated by the Lou Tate Foundation.

KMAC Current Exhibition

The New Art of the Loom: Contemporary International Tapestry and Looming Local: Contemporary Kentucky Tapestry feature artists who explore a broad range of themes from cultural identity and formalism to storytelling and history through the labor-intensive process of weaving.

Art-Ed Goes Hi-Tech

It seems kind of fitting that on Election Day, KMAC’s Education Studio launched the inaugural use of a hi-tech tool that will help in teaching to the masses. Through the generous donations of the KMAC Board of Directors, the Education Department was able to purchase a much-needed document camera and projector. The Elmo TT-12i Interactive Document Camera System allows museum educators to demonstrate more complex art skills from a central demo table without having to spend valuable time demonstrating to each individual table. As we know, field trips are on a very strict schedule and educators must balance the tour, instruction, and make time carefully. Oh, and don’t forget about lunch! The Elmo, with its cute name and conjuring of that well known red Muppet, also has a built-in microphone and recording ability so the Ed team can prepare instruction videos in advance.

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Additionally, the Education Department was able to purchase a IN114a XGA 3000 Lumen DLP Projection System in order to use the document camera and to show videos, Power Point presentations, and interactive websites to enhance the art curriculum.  In ode to our forefathers, here’s to Life , Liberty and the pursuit of Art.

KMAC APPROVES THIS MESSAGE.   

A Special Thank You to Kat Lewis, Daniel Maye, Elizabeth Mays, and Mary Stone for their generous donations.

 

 

A Peaceful Lot

I grew up in West Louisville. I dreamed of raising my family in the beautiful homes surrounding Chickasaw Park and Shawnee Park. I admired the African-American doctors, lawyers, and teachers who were the anchors of our community. I played with the children of my father’s friends, who, like my father, worked in Louisville’s numerous factories. Our parents hadn’t finished college, but the factory jobs they held at General Electric, Phillip Morris, Ford, DuPont, and Brown-Forman paid for the comfortable homes in thriving communities.

My life’s journey took me away from Louisville for almost two decades. Upon my return, the thriving neighborhoods of my youth had transformed into something unfamiliar. Small pockets of prosperity clung to the remnants of a thriving past. Abandoned and vacant properties seemed to be the norm. Entire blocks were marred with the blackened eyes of boarded over homes. They were more than a community eyesore. They negatively impacted the emotional and physical health of a community. The hopelessness associated with boarded up homes can lead to irresponsible choices. The worst of these choices leads to violence. The numerous teddy bear shrines dotting West Louisville serve as proof to this point.

I became concerned about the overabundance of vacant and abandoned properties in West Louisville. I had once lived in Chicago, a city known for its remarkable public art, and there I saw artists transform vacant spaces into inspiring community works of art. I felt public art could be a vehicle for change and growth in West Louisville too.

A friend, who assisted me in transforming a vacant apartment building in Louisville’s Parkland neighborhood into an artistic symbol of hope, heard of Mayor Greg Fischer’s Lots of Possibility Competition. Mayor Fischer was asking residents to submit creative ideas for reusing four lots owned by the city’s Landbank Authority. I founded the West Louisville Women’s Coalition (WLWC) with the help of KMAC board member Chenoweth Allen and local entrepreneur Robin Bray and submitted a proposal. WLWC is a diverse group of nine Louisville women with a mission to create and sustain artistic, peaceful spaces in West Louisville. Our Lots of Possibility proposal would transform a small vacant lot into a Meditation Labyrinth formed from hundreds of bricks painted with inspirational messages from the residents and community supporters of West Louisville. The Meditation Labyrinth was selected as one of the four winners in the competition. Shortly after the announcement, I started my new position at KMAC as an Art Educator and after hearing about the project, KMAC became a Peaceful Partner and provided an artist to assist with the project. After hundreds of volunteer hours, the Meditation Labyrinth, which will be named the Peace Labyrinth, is finally complete.

The Peace Labyrinth will be dedicated, Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 7:00 pm. The lot is located at 3831 Hale Ave, Louisville, KY 40216. The dedication will include a performance by the River City Drum Corps, a message from Mayor Greg Fischer, and a candlelit inaugural peace walk through the labyrinth. This is a free event and open to the public. This dedication ceremony marks the completion of the first step in transforming a vacant lot into an intergenerational community space for peace. It will host monthly peace walks, quarterly visual art activities, and other community programming.

Written by Ramona Lindsey, KMAC Art Educator