Monday, March 30, 2015

Spending Time with Artists

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge Art for Families workshop with Ori Alon at the HVCCA - HILLARY HARVEY
  • Hillary Harvey
  • Art for Families workshop with Ori Alon at the HVCCA

Art is kind of like that Paula Poundstone joke: people are always asking children to define it… because they’re looking for ideas. The best way to figure out what art is, though, is to hang out with artists.

New monthly educational programming at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill helps you do just that. The HVCCA is a 12,000-square-foot gallery space on the corner of an urban block, which showcases work from contemporary art giants and local artists. The plan is to do one big exhibition each year, and to connect museum-goers with it through ongoing programming. And that includes a monthly series, Art for Families, on Sundays from March through June.

At March’s Love Notes, participants used a collection of Beacon book and performance artist Ori Alon’s vintage typewriters, including one in Hebrew. They took turns visiting Alon in his “studio” to participate in the performance art piece, Empowering Clerks Network, walking away with a certificate attesting to their own personal strengths. With plenty of time to roam the exhibition, kids enjoyed works like Shirin Neshat’s Pulse, where they crawled inside a fabricated room to watch a seemingly slow motion, black & white art film. (There were some pretty adorable and rather compelling conversations as the kids I saw tried to figure out the movie.) The space is just big enough and kid-friendly enough for exploring with newly acquired friends and just small enough for parents to keep their cool about it.

Next up in the Art for Families series, on April 12th from 2-4p, is Dan Weise’s Club Draw, a monthly drawing club he hosts in Beacon for adults, scaled for kids and families at HVCCA. As half of the street art duo, Thundercut, Weise has a piece on display in the Love exhibition, another favorite conversation starter among the kids I saw. In May, there’s a hands-on museum tour with Justine Rae Spilotros, a local arts educator who ran The Orange Splot Art Spot in Peeksill, which will artfully navigate the exhibition, some of which, due to the love theme, is not appropriate for all audiences. In June, it’s an Ambi Art workshop on “spontaneous symmetry” where kids will learn to draw with both hands at the same time from the museum’s own Education Director and ambi artist, Donna Mikkelsen.

For more info on the Art for Families series, visit HVCCA’s website. Workshops are $10 per family, materials provided, rsvp requested. And check out all of the HVCCA’s programming, like the weekly life drawing class, lectures, and afterschool programs.

Looking for inspiration during spring break? On Friday, April 3rd, The Wagon House Education Center at Olana will run a Paper-Light Sculpture Workshop with award-winning Catskill artist, Draga Susanj, for ages 6-16. The class will explore sculpting with natural materials like willow branches and transparent mulberry paper, and result in a final work to bring home. Students will be introduced to the concepts of land art and site-specific sculpture through sketching, modeling, and a special paper covering technique. Paper-Light Sculpture Workshop, Friday, April 3rd, 9a-3:30p; $45 per person ($40 for members); bring a bagged lunch and patterns or designs for inspiration (other designs and materials will be provided); reservations required.

And don’t miss Dia:Beacon’s next Community Free Day on April 11th with artist-led family workshops at 11:30a and noon. Free for residents of Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester counties; reservations recommended.
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