Center for Creative Energy


From cago to angelo – messages from the Museum of Contemporary Art

Hi… this is Sully and Anne Marie!  Today’s adventure began at the Museum of Contemporary Art with Alex, our tour guide. Contemporary art, we learned, is art created by artists that are still living (well, usually). We were especially excited by the works of Mark Bradford. The most interesting part was the way the art was arranged. The walls were bright white which made the color pop! The lighting was perfectly pointed to the works which made it even more intriguing. The artist took everyday items and also things off the street and made them his own in a way that conveyed a strong message. And the thing about contemporary art is that it can often be perceived in different ways by different people!  One piece in particular was a GIANT boat that the community in New Orleans built after the devastating hurricane Katrina practically destroyed their homes and took many loved ones. The boat represented the personal struggles people went through to get through these hard times the flood had caused.

As Aqua Squad, we were inspired by the use of soundless video (like Mark Bradford used) to create a strong visual message.  And using everyday materials was also something we could take back with us to inspire others to take better care of our environment.  We began to think more abstractly and creatively – which was a big message from the Museum of Contemporary Art!

Here’s a video from the tour. Addison, Ann-Marie and Will are “owning it”!

Advertisements

A Tale of Two Rivers

You know, it’s not everyday, you get to wake up in a city where there are so many amazing things to do! Chicago isn’t just a place where millions of people live, it also attracts many tourists for the beauty and architecture. I think it’s really cool to see the diversity of people in downtown, shopping and walking around. One of the things we were privileged to do, was visit the Chicago River Bridgehouse Museum. Chicago has the most bridges along the river, which means they also have the most bridgehouses of any city in the United States. We learned from Ozana King, Museum Director, that Chicago reversed the flow of the river to improve water quality. Did you know, back in the 1800’s, the Chicago River used to be so dirty, that it would catch on fire? It was also so smelly, nobody wanted to even get close to it, but now some of the most expensive property is right next to the river. This is largely because of the Friends of the Chicago River. They have river clean ups and water monitoring volunteer programs going on throughout the year. In San Angelo, we are also working to reclaim our river so that it is healthier again.  People don’t want to even swim in the Concho River. We have already made big improvements though, but Aqua Squad cannot do this alone. It’s going to take everyone working together. The Bridgehouse Museum inspired us to do just that.

Ruby Shell


Catching a Bone about Exhibit Design with Aqua Squad

Anyssa Catches a Bone about Exhibit Design at the Field Museum

Hey everybody! Have you been to the Field Museum in Chicago? If you’re an educational designer like us in Aqua Squad, you should go because it’s a great place to get new ideas for designing exhibits and giving information in a different way.

It showed us different ways to light exhibits (dimming the lights made the exhibits stick out, and if the lights were bright the artifacts might fade or lose their color), we saw how to arrange artifacts, where to put text panels, and unique ways to give information about the artifacts, (for example there were sculptures and paintings of dinosaurs to show what they looked like when they were alive). Here are some examples of some interesting things I saw:

a way to show how tough it is to get out of tar if you're a mammal

a quote from Darwin about biodiversity and lots of pictures to illustrate it

an example of good lighting

a nice text panel about the man who painted the murals that showed extinct animals and their habitats

a ticker showing how many animals go extinct per day...it said 30 just a few seconds before this photo was taken

Paula and Lillian

Our tour guide, Paula, was also a source of information because she has worked at the the Field Museum for a long time, she was really into the artifacts, and she was really happy to see other people enjoying the museum as much as she does. Paula really loves what she does! Taking the tour with Paula made the experience really special.

I loved visiting the Field Museum. You’ll never know what ideas you will get until you try something new!


Gaining Perspective, Touching on Innovation with Ethan and Emily

Today Ethan and Emily (who are writing this blog) and the other Aqua Squad members went to the Art Institute of Chicago. We each gained our own new perspective and experienced innovation through art.

Looking at Sky Above Clouds by Georgia O’ Keefe at the Art Institute

Georgia O’ Keefe’s last completed painting helped us to realize that things are not always as they seem. When asked what we saw in Sky Above Clouds, all of our answers were different. Not knowing what the title was, we all gave our answers: glaciers, clouds, white marble with blue grout (like flooring), a path, the sky, and even Chicago. It turns out it was painting of clouds from an airplane view. It looked familiar to us because it was very cloudy from our windows on the plane to Chicago. Georgia O’ Keefe was inspired by her first plane ride at age 62. For some of us in Aqua Squad, it was our first flight, too!

We learned that each person has their own perspective on art, and each piece gives out its own message to every person.

Learning about innovative art techniques

We also learned that we all have a unique sense of creativity, and used innovative artistic techniques to express our personal views of Chicago’s beautiful skyline and parks. Below are a few images of our experiments and works in progress.

Emily's brush experiments. Stay tuned for finished products! (The Art Institute will mail them to us once dry).

So how does all this relate to what we’re doing with water in San Angelo? Well, it helps us to become educational designers by challenging and inspiring us to create innovative ideas for helping our water systems! Today was an unbelievable experience that we will never forget!

To end, here are some of the most innovative things we’ve seen in Chicago so far!

Gears to the Michigan Avenue Bridge

The Shedd Aquarium ceiling

The Sky Deck at the Sears Tower

Pointillism!

And Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate at Millennium Park!


SHEDDing Light on Water Conservation

Addison and Will of Aqua Squad SHEDD Some Light on Water Conservation.

Aqua Squad walking to the Shedd Aquarium

San Angelo has some problems with our water. We’re in the middle of a huge drought, the Concho River was designated an impaired body of water by the EPA, and three of our four lakes are drying up.

A view of Lake Michigan from the Tall Ship Windy

Chicago has a plentiful source of water, but struggles with issues of quality and others trying to take water from Lake Michigan and other Great Lakes by building pipelines away from the city. Water is a precious resource everywhere!

Today we explored how the Shedd Aquarium tries to conserve water. We went behind the scenes to explore how water goes from Chicago’s municipal water supply and through the water carbon filter system, and then treated to replicate the types of water the animals live in.

Aqua Squad with the Shedd's Allen La Pointe, Director of Environtmental Quality and Melissa Williams, Director of Education

Allen La Pointe, the Shedd’s “Water Go to Guy” (a.k.a. Director of Environmental Quality), led us through all these amazing processes.  We also discussed ways that the Shedd helps conserve water. A lot of them really surprised us. For example:

Tyler the Sea Lion was splashing 2,000 gallons of water out of his tank…per day (to Allen’s dismay). Tyler is the star of the sea lion dolphin show, so selling or giving Tyler away probably wasn’t an option. Instead, they put in a drain to collect the water and pump it back into Tyler’s tank. Tyler now splashes happily ever after with no water wasted. Below is a video of Tyler performing some amazing tricks. He was awesome!

We were also surprised to know that only 54% of the water is for animals. The other 46% is for people! The picture below shows  just one way the Shedd helps conserve water for human use.

Once all this water is used, the Shedd partially cleans it to prevent the waste water treatment plant from being strained and to help keep the water from becoming contaminated by algae and bacteria from exotic species .

We concluded that that all the water at the Shedd is for people. We’re the ones that built the aquarium in 1930. We’re the ones that want to spend hours and hours looking at animals. 2.1 million people per year visit the Shedd Aquarium. This is for us!  So we’re happy to know the Shedd is working so hard to conserve water and keep it clean.

Conserving water is all of our responsibility, and you don’t have to be an awesome expert like Allen to save water.

Here are some tips how you can be a water hero:

Find out about your local water laws. Could you use rainwater or grey water to to water your lawn?

Water early morning or early evening.

Take 5 minute showers.

Look into low flow toilets, shower heads, and washing machines.

P.S. The Shedd doesn’t use pesticides. They pick their weeds because they don’t want to pollute Lake Michigan. After all, the staff, visitors and animals use that water to live!


What Can We Learn about Water, Art and Science by a Great Lake?

This Sunday (at 6 AM) Aqua Squad, Megan, Lillian and Christy will be flying off to Chicago for an intense week of brainstorming, creativity, exploration, research, art and the big city life! When we return, we will use what we learned to develop fantastic exhibits, resources, and artworks that will help the public consider and understand one of the most critical environmental issues facing San Angelo, Texas and the world: water quality and scarcity!

Aqua Squad will be making posts throughout the week, but for now, here’s a quick look at the itinerary.

Shedd Aquarium

Aqua Squad will spend a whole day working with Director Ted Beattie brainstorming ideas for exhibition design. We’ll also be learning how to take complicated scientific concepts and present them to the public in a way that is engaging, emotional, and easy to understand. AND they have penguins, so we’ll probably learn a lot from those guys, too.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Contemporary artists often have a knack for using unexpected materials, arresting imagery, and interactive spaces to get the public thinking and talking about important issues facing our world (including pressing environmental issues). Exploring the MCA collection will no doubt inspire us to create some truly innovative projects to get the public thinking about water. The Art Nerds in the group are also very excited about this exhibition: Pandora’s Box: Joseph Cornell Unlocks the MCA Collection.

 

 

Willis Tower (Sears Tower)

Okay, so Sears  isn’t actually headquartered there  and technically it’s not the Sears Tower anymore, but that doesn’t change the fact that this skyscraper offers a great view of Lake Michigan.  The Great Lakes hold 21% of the world’s fresh surface water, and we’re excited to see and study one of them. Gaining new perspectives and reaching new heights? We’ll definitely be checking that off our lists!


Aqua Squad: Making a Splash for Change in West Texas

Meet Aqua Squad! We are 7th and 8th grade students from the San Angelo Independent School District. We are water ambassadors!

What do we do?

We speak for water!

canoeing the Concho River and hearing what it has to say

We educate the public!

Learning about water quality with Chuck Brown from the UCRA

We explore!

Exploring waterless O.C. Fischer Lake in San Angelo

We design!

our ideas for exhibitions and programs to educate the public about water

We need YOUR help!

Fish can't live without water. Neither can we!

West Texas water is in trouble.

We need to work together to conserve our water for us,

our families,

and our future!

Come along with us to explore ways to save our water.



%d bloggers like this: