Center for Creative Energy


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Museum Exhibitions category.

Aqua Squad Dives into Exhibit Design

This week Aqua Squad is working on their photography exhibition! Painting, mounting labels and organizing their photographs takes a lot of effort–but it’s fun! Hopefully this exhibit will bring the community together to talk about the important issue of water.

Join us October 18th at 6 PM for refreshments, great photography and a chance to find out what you can do to help our River. Check out what we’re up to below.

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Art Science Fusion: Get Creative with Art and Science

We just wrapped our second week of Art/Science Fusion for 2nd graders here at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts and the Upper Colorado River Authority. We hope your students have enjoyed their time here with us so far! For those teachers who are looking to continue writing nature inspired poetry with their classes, here’s a link to the poem form: HaikuPoem

 

Also, here are some of the artworks we looked at for inspiration.

 

And finally, we have a poll for your students! Check it out below.

 

Also, please feel free to share thoughts, ideas or activities your students are doing in the classroom that connect to Where in the World is Nature!

 


ZOO in One!

That means 2 in one at the San Diego Zoo because saving species also means saving their habitats. WATER is in every habitat.

This is John, Henry, and Andreas and were going to let you know what we experienced at the San Diego Zoo.

After leaving the Museum of Photographic Arts we headed to the  San Diego Zoo where we met Judi who told us a little about the Zoo and took us to our private tour with Wendy. Wendy took us to look at all the animals and even let us feed the camels.  One big highlight of the day was meeting Doug Myers, Director of the San Diego Zoo. We were struck by how much he cared about not just the zoo but also the environment. It was cool to find out how much we had in common.

We saw pandas! Zoo staff think that Yanzi may be pregnant!

This is a picture of an awesome a polar bear that we saw on our private tour. This photo was taken by Andreas.

We had a great time, learned a lot, and even got to share our water conservation ideas with a goofy zebra named Robert. Check it out!


On the Hunt for Great Photographs

Hi there! This is Kirstin and Ashley here to tell you about our visit to the Museum of Photographic Arts. While there we got lots of ideas about how to use photography to communicate our message about water conservation.

We took a photographic scavenger hunt around Balboa Park to practice techniques to improve our photographs. Below are some of the best photos from our hunt.

A Worm’s Eye View

Taking a photo from a worm’s eye view gives the audience the feeling that something is bigger and more important than the viewer.

A Bird’s Eye View

A bird’s eye view makes people feel as if they are larger and more important than what the photograph portrays.

The Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is when you move the camera so the subject is off center by either 1 or 2 thirds. This helps the audience focus on one subject while also showing how the background ties to the main subject of the photo.

Line & Shape

This photo uses line and shape to help lead your eye around the composition.

Each of these techniques enhances our ability to communicate successfully through photography. This is definitely going to help us make Crisis in the Cocho (our photography exhibit opening in October) a great show!

Our new friend James showing us how to print our photos in MOPA’s amazing library.

So if you are ever in San Diego we would definitely recommend going to the Museum of Photographic Arts. And thank you to James for being a wonderful tour guide!

 


Saving the Sailing Seas with Exhibit Design

Think these are real surgeons? Nope! They are just wax figures showing what life was like on the USS Midway.

Welcome aboard the USS Midway Museum! This is Gillian and Joe here to tell you about some of the cool things we saw there.

The above picture taken by Gillian is one of the many good examples of how this museum showed what life was like on the USS Midway.There was also an audio tour which gave facts and details about rooms and areas in the carrier. It was like listening to a book about the ship. Each number on the tour was another chapter in the story.We found out the aircraft carrier didn’t just float on water, but it had to use water to run. Here is a good site to see pictures of the USS Midway’s boiler room. http://www.midwaysailor.com/frankday/engineroom.html

The museum also had hands-on activities. We really liked the station where you had to figure out how to use the ship’s energy in the best way. This taught us that not everything is important and you must have your priorities straight to complete your mission. As members of Aqua Squad our mission is to educate the public about water issues–especially how to conserve and save it. And we will not stop fighting until we complete our mission! Hopefully our photo exhibit will be as organized as the exhibits at the USS Midway…


Haiku from San Angelo

Last week during our Where in the World is Nature tour, San Angelo 2nd graders discussed how artists use nature. After viewing some great artworks, we worked together to write haiku poems  Here are a few of them along with photos of some of the art we talked about:

Trees

by Ms. Bennett’s 2nd grade class at San Jacinto Elementary

The floor is mesquite

The sculpture is crepe myrtle

Trees are nature made

 

 

 

 

Untitled (About Sudden Insight)

by Ms. Nixon’s 2nd grade class at Belaire Elementary

Wood-wax-metal-sticks

Hard bumpy sculpture, black

Hangs from the ceiling

Stone

by Ms. Garcia’s 2nd grade class at Belaire Elementary

Stones are hard, smooth, flat

Colorful, bumpy, rocky

Stones make solid walls

 

 

 

 

 

Rainstorms

by Ms. Oakley’s 2nd grade class at Belaire Elementary

Rainstorms, hail, water

Tornado–destruction, car!

Loud scary thunder

 

 

 

Clay

by Ms. Jackson’s 2nd grade class at San Jacinto Elementary

Clay is very wet

Clay is shaped and used by artists

It is dried and baked


Gallons and gallons of trees?

With the holidays approaching, the Center for Creative Energy is getting into the spirit. It’s a festive time of year, and the UCRA Water Education Center in San Angelo, Texas is buzzing with cheer. Here’s why:

1. Art/Science Fusion final show on December 15th! We just got some great press in the San Angelo Standard Times, so we know we’re going to see a crowd. Check it out! Below are some photos from the fall programs.

Students talking about lithographs from SAMFA's Early Texas Art collection.

Christy shows some desert survivors during her session about adaptation.

Students learn to create linoleum prints with Bekah in the Education Studio.

2. Aqua Squad’s exhibit ideas are coming together in physical form! After cleaning out over 100 gallon jugs from the local recycling center (Dr. Christy Youker gets an enormous HIGH FIVE for that heroic feat–some of those jugs were pretty rancid), Bekah and Megan built two gallon trees (with the help of Emily) to represent how much water most households use per day. Aqua Squad came up with this idea and now it’s real–just in time for the holiday season. Click here to see how Aqua Squad came up with this great idea. The official “tree lighting” will be during the Art/Science Fusion final show. Come back after Thursday to see a video of the tree lighting.

A work in progress. Soon it will have lights and ornaments with important water usage factoids.

What are they building in there? Something pretty AWESOME!


Aqua Squad: ENGAGE!

Wow! It has been one amazing summer–I can’t believe it’s the middle of September already!

Aqua Squad has been out and about the community pitching their exhibition and education kit design ideas, and engaging the public with local water issues. So far they’ve presented to the San Angelo City Council and the board and director of the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts (SAMFA), and they made a special appearance at the Girl Scout’s Race on the River just today. Below is a video of Emily and Anyssa demonstrating how non-point source pollution affects our water supply during the river race:

Check back to see Aqua Squad racing canoes. It was pretty epic!

Aqua Squad will also present to the boards of the Upper Colorado River Authority and San Angelo Independent School District in the upcoming weeks. They will also head up an awesome hands-on station and art installation at the Eco Fair Family Day on October 8 at SAMFA.  (Bring a plastic gallon jug to the event if you want to be part of the action)!
Curious about their exhibition ideas and loan kits? So far, all I will say is that they involve pirate games, toilets, and lots of creativity and water facts! Below are the inspiration boards Aqua Squad created to share their ideas.

Good Design! Emily and Anyssa created a board about the elements and principles of design using recycled materials. They also changed the old fashioned color wheel into a color wave!

Inspiration from Chicago! Anne Marie, Ruby, and Will designed a board to highlight the most inspirational museums in Chicago. The font in all three inspiration boards came from their experience marking storm drains this summer with the UCRA. See the gallery below for pictures of that.

Jugs and jugs and jugs! Addison and Ethan designed this board to show how much water we use, but also how much waste we throw into our rivers. Later this board will be revamped into an awesome exhibition component and educational loan kit for schools! Note Will being held hostage by a pirate with a microphone in the upper corner. Awesome!

Okay, okay–I’ll give you  more details about their exhibition and educational resource ideas! The educational loan kit is a pirate themed board game about watersheds that will be take middle school students on a hunt for clean water. The jugs and toilets are part of an exhibit showing how much water we use daily (about 80 gallons!) and what we can do to use less. Both are going to be AWESOME!

The final products will be developed within the next few months, so be sure to check back on their progress. All of the projects were inspired by their experiences in Chicago, their love of water, and their dedication to the future of the San Angelo community. Drought may be lingering, but with these creative kids on the task of educating the public about water conservation and quality, I’m hopeful that this community will continue to grow and thrive as it invents new solutions to solve the water crisis.

To sum up the Summer, here’s a gallery of the Chicago trip and all of the awesome things Aqua Squad did do far! Enjoy!

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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”!


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!


Connecting Art and Science for the 21st Century

Lillian and I just returned from the National Art Education Association national convention in Seattle, Washington. While there we shared Art/Science Fusion with museum and school educators from around the nation, and came home feeling confident that this program is aligning positively with the national conversation about education. There were lots of discussions about collaboration, making interdisciplinary connections in our curriculum, and about what skills young learners will need as they progress into the 21st century. What was most apparent to me is that educators have to keep pushing at boundaries and barriers in order to make real progress in education. Below are some inspiring highlights from our trip.

Artists as Thinkers and Collaborators: Mark Dion’s Neukon Vivarium

Neukon Vivarium, an installation located in the middle of Seattle,  is a dead Hemlock tree sustaining an entire ecosystem as if  it had been left in the forest to decay. The work is stunning in the middle of the city, as is the immense effort it takes fo r humans to recreate the conditions necessary for this natural process to happen in an urban area. The ecosystem in this artificial space thrives because it is constantly cared for by a staff in totally stable conditions within a custom built greenhouse.  Think of how the earth could continue to thrive if we cared for it as carefully as this work (which happens to be part of the collection at the Seattle Art Museum)!  Think of how the earth might thrive if we simply left it alone.

Are either of these options a possibility? What role do humans play in sustaining and destroying the environment? What is our place in nature? These questions are important points of departure for our programs at the Center for Creative Energy.

Education in the next century: 21st Century Skills

With technology, digital media, and science changing rapidly it becomes more pressing everyday to ensure that students are coming away from their school years as adaptable, creative, and critical thinking citizens. A vast number of educators have expressed their concerns with No Child Left Behind and the emphasis that legislation places upon standardized testing at the expense of meaningful learning. As that legislation comes up for re-authorization educators must be prepared to articulate what we envision education to be, and what policies will best help us to make those visions a reality.

An interesting advocacy initiative called 21st Century Skills re-imagines what knowledge and abilities are necessary to live successfully in the 21st century. 21st Century Skills places equal emphasis on building factual knowledge and on developing creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills. This approach is exciting because it prompts us to think about education from a fresh perspective. Think about this: 

How could we help children develop creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills through our curriculum?

How would doing so change the way we approach curriculum design?

These are just some of the questions that were floating around in my mind as I wandered Puget Sound. Now that I am back in San Angelo, it’s time put these questions to work by developing quality programs for our students.

In the next few weeks we’ll be focusing more on education policy, as well as keeping you updated with what’s happening with Art/Science Fusion! As always, comments, new ideas, and suggestions are welcome.


First Week Highlights

Well, the first week of Art/Science Fusion has come to an end,  and the All About Texas Road Trip Tour was lots of fun.  Below is a PDF of the tour outline, a PowerPoint presentation of the featured artworks, and some photos of our “trip” so you can get a feel for the week.

We would love for educators to use this tour in their own classrooms, especially if your students are learning about Texas, different art mediums, or plant life and animal habitats.

Also, it’s a great exhibition, so if you can’t make it out to San Angelo to see it, you can save some gas and view it in the download (although art in real life is ALWAYS better…)

All_About_Texas_Road Trip Tour Guide

All About Texas Tour Ppt.

If you do use these resources, we would love to hear your feedback and any creative uses or new ideas you may have added.  Feel free to post below, or email me at megan@samfa.org.

chatting about Mary Baxter's work

sketching a view of the Concho River


Art/Science Fusion Kick-Off

The first group of Art/Science second graders just got on the bus to return to Santa Rita Elementary School. I expected to feel exhausted, but I actually feel energized! Who knew that 3,000 + mile trip around Texas with 20 second graders could be so awesome?

We took a “road trip” tour across the state of Texas in the All About Texas exhibition (don’t worry, we wore seat belts). To keep ourselves occupied on journey, we chatted about artist materials, scale, and what the weather might feel like if we able to step into one of Mary Baxter‘s beautiful oil paintings, or perhaps join Josephine Oliver on one of her fantastic summer art making trips.

At the end of the tour, we did a little sketching of our own. Below are some wonderful drawings the students created. Later this month they will be adding color and detail using watercolor.

view of the pedestrian bridge across the Concho River to downtown San Angelo

In the top image, you can see SAMFA's director, Howard Taylor, showing some fellow museum folks around the grounds.

 

view of the Cactus Hotel and the Oakes St. Bridge from the Museum balcony

Stay tuned for updates about on student progress. Next week the students will visit Ms. Christy at the Water Education Center to learn about the science that makes the Texas landscape unique!



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