CHILDREN ARE NATURAL ARTISTS.
Total art immersion awaits students, children, and their families at Imagination Festival, where interactive workshops and projects will unlock the creativity of every child.
Friday, April 28, 2023 – Friday is reserved for visiting elementary students & school art trip.
Saturday, April 29, 2023, 10am-5pm
Sunday, April 30, 2023, 10am – 4pm
2023 TEACHING ARTISTS & FEATURED WORKSHOPS:
URBAN BOXCAPADES: ALFREDO & ISABEL AQUILIZAN
Inspired by the “In-Habit: Project Another Country” installation by Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan, the participants in this workshop will build a large-scale, assemblage boxcapade with free reign to add decorative color and architectural features like secret tunnels, arches, or anything they are inspired to build. A highly imaginative, stimulating, eco-friendly project will form and morph throughout the Festival using recycled boxes.
SOAK STAIN COLOR FIELD PAINTING: HELEN FRANKENTHALLER
Helen Frankenthaler is one of America’s greatest abstract expressionists, active as a painter from the early 1950’s until her death in 2011. She was experimental and spontaneous with her techniques, eventually developing a method she called “soak stain” to produce her large scale, color field paintings of the 1960’s. She denied rules and embraced accidents as avenues to adventure and breakthroughs in her work. Working with various viscosities and colors of paint, participants will pour, paint, splash and squirt paint onto fabric to create collaborative large scale Soak Stain Color Field Paintings.
WIRE PORTRAITS: HAYWARD OUBRE
Hayward Oubre is a world renowned multimedia artist and educator. His work scaled from drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed media and beyond. Some of his most famous sculptures were created with the use of hundreds of ordinary wire clothes hangers. In this workshop students will focus on creating three dimensional wire self portraits with binding techniques similar to Oubre’s.
MIXED MEDIA SELF PORTRAITS: ERIN LEANN MITCHELLE
Erin Mitchelle is a mixed media artist and muralist from Birmingham, Alabama. Her work propels Black people into a space and time that enables folks to live authentically free. As an artist, she dares to bring forth the beautiful, the bright, and the boldness of blackness. Her work has been featured at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Fox TV show Empire, FLXTS Contemporary in Chicago, and more. Students in this workshop will analyze their features with a handheld mirror and with a variety of media create self-portraits that accentuate their most notable features.
ABSTRACTING A LANDSCAPE: RICHARD DIEBENKORN
Students will create an abstract composition based on our surroundings in Sloss Furnaces using oil pastels and baby oil on paper. Referring to the abstract expressionist style of Diebenkorn and other West Coast painters of the 1960s, the instructor will demonstrate how to simplify the industrial landscape around us into shapes and impressions. Both a lesson in plein-air/ open air observational drawing and abstraction, this workshop will encourage interpretation. The artist will provide drawings of each step of landscape composition to aid students’ ideas visually. The workshop will begin with a quick demonstration of composing the scene in oil pastels and blending colors with baby oil and a brush.
JUNK ART BEINGS: JOE MINTER’S AFRICAN VILLAGE IN AMERICA
Junk Art is primarily sculpture made from discarded materials and found objects. The process of assembling found objects into a work of art was coined “assemblage” by Jean Dubuffet in the early 1950s and challenged the ideas of what had traditionally been defined as art. Channeling Alabama visionary artist Joe Minter, children will make junk art assemblage sculptures by disassembling discarded electronics and toys, then reassembling parts and pieces into exciting, stagnant, or kinetic junk art creatures.
I AM A MUSE OF THE GARDEN: WEARABLE ART
Art is in who we are, how we walk in this world, and how we see it. My ‘Muse’ Workshop will allow student artists to explore who they are with recycled fabrics, pre-loved clothing items, and found embellishments. Together we will look into the mirror, create our art with the beauty we see, and share it with the world. So tell me, who are you? In this workshop, artists will create their own wearable art and then rock the runway.
SPECTRUMS & SPIRALOIDS: HUNDERTWASSER
From his chosen name, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, meaning “Peace-Realm Hundred Water”, to his opposition to “straight lines”, Hundertwasser was an entirely unique, energetic and prolific international artist, designer and architect of the 20th century. His use of vibrant colors, organic forms and imaginative environments were perpetuated by his unconventional philosophies and concepts concerning the relationship between humans and nature. “I paint flat horizontally without an easel; this is a vegetal, earthbound discipline. My colored lines are like the sap rings on trees, like sediments of nature, like organic growth.” From there came multitudes of symbolic spiral pieces he often called “spiraloids”. They were unmistakable, appearing time and again throughout all aspects of his work. With Hundertwasser’s gouache “spiraloids” as inspiration, participants in this workshop will learn basic color theory as they draw and watercolor the color spectrum and “spirlaoids” of their own.
BREAK AND MAKE: HOWARDENA PINDELL
Howardena Pindell is an American artist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was born in 1943 and studied painting at Boston University and Yale. She has enjoyed a very long career as a mixed media artist, painter and professor. Much of her work explores themes of racism, feminism, and slavery. For this project we will be focusing primarily on the collages she made in the 70’s and 80’s. These collages were created using a deconstruction/reconstruction process, meaning she would paint and color on sheets of paper or canvas, cut them up into circles or strips, and arrange them in a new and interesting way. Participants in this project will employ the same process. They will begin by coloring on sheets of construction paper with pastels and crayons, cut their masterpieces into circles, and place them on a big sheet of butcher paper. As the day goes on this collaborative piece will only grow larger and more colorful.
NATURE AS SIMILE FOR SELF-LOVE: FURIOUS FLOWERS
In 1994 Dr. Joanne Gabbin started a conference called Furious Flowers that invited world-renowned poets to James Madison University. Since the original gathering, the organization has implemented programs that have reached thousands of poets, educators, students, and poetry lovers alike with its groundbreaking media and anthologies, children’s creativity camp and summer seminars, and online literary journals. In this workshop, the children will write individual poems on paper plates that have been turned into flowers.
WORDMOBILE POET-TREE HOUSE: FLUXUS & CONCRETE POETRY
Referencing the installations and happenings of the Fluxus movement of the 1960s and post-war concrete poetry, this workshop celebrates these text-based art movements. Participants will create a collaborative word-art installation in a stand of shade trees, including their own word mobiles of cut-up words and phrases collaged into poems, images, and sayings with varying text pieces and paper shapes. The Word mobile Poet-Tree House installation becomes visual and interactive as breezes dance the word-art, sending the text images into twists and turns.
ARCS & BANDS IN COLORS SHAKERS: SOL LEWITT
Sol LeWitt is an American artist well known for the large bodies of conceptual and minimalist art he created between the late 1960s and his death in 2007. The powerfully colorful Arcs & Bands in Colors pieces created throughout his career are hard to miss. An impressive example can be seen at the Birmingham Museum of Art on the North exterior wall overlooking the Sculpture Garden – “Bands of Color in Various Directions,” from the Wall Drawings series, 2001. It measures over 13 feet high and over 83 feet long! With a musical twist and this exciting work in mind, students in this workshop will create miniature versions of LeWitt’s most colorful work as shakers; covered in colorful tape bands and shapes, mimicking the straight, waving, and swirling patterns in the Arcs & Bands in Color and Wall Drawings series.
METAL EMBOSSING: POINTILLISM
Participants in this workshop will receive a crash course on texture, pattern, and the modern art of pointillism. Each student will create embossed patterns on metal sheets with various applications and combine them into a collaborative metal mural that will continue to expand throughout the Festival.
CLAY CREATURE PINCH POTS: FRANK FLEMING
Frank Fleming is an Alabama-based artist known for his whimsical and highly detailed sculptures, often of animals. Using various clay sculpture techniques, participants of this workshop will draw inspiration from his art in making their own clay animal creations. In addition, children will learn how to make perfect pinch pots, use additive and reductive methods, and manipulate the clay surface with carving and impressions.
PLASTIC BIT MANDALAS: PAULA BRETT
Paula Brett is a Southern artist who has used a wide variety of everyday items, from candy to shopping carts, to create mandalas of all shapes and sizes. Mandalas are an excellent example of humans symbolically creating order and beauty from chaos. They originated from Buddhism in the 4th century B.C.E. as a spiritual practice and carry extraordinary spiritual meaning as both a circular design of the cosmos and an expression of one’s interior self. Like Paula Brett’s work, this workshop addresses issues of consumerism and waste as the participants create personal mandalas from discarded everyday materials that can only be downcycled into non recyclable materials and items like carpet and clothing; transforming waste into symbols of individually personal and universally cosmic beauty and balance.
KNOWLEDGE, RHYTHM & UNDERSTANDING: HIPHOP MOVEMENT
Knowledge, Rhythm, and Understanding (KRU) is an educational initiative that empowers young people by teaching them the four core elements of Hip Hop through peace, love, and having fun. The process helps them positively express themselves and encourages mental, physical, emotional, and financial development. KRU programs are also designed to bring awareness to the historical aspects of hip-hop culture.
WHAT A FACE! DADA MASKS
Between 1915 and 1920, Dada peaked as a fringe but influential art movement. With chance and spontaneity as key concepts the Dadaists created multimedia performances, visual art, graphic design, and literature. It was a direct response to the absurdity of war during WWI with a central theme to “never follow any known rules,” and influenced a long line of art movements that followed. Built with various recycled materials, the students in this workshop will create large-scale wearable art, masks inspired by those created for Dada multimedia performances by co-founders Tristan Tzsara and Marcel Janco.
WATERCOLOR COLLAGE: JAPANESE HANGING SCROLLS
Kakejiku (“hung scroll”), is a Japanese hanging scroll of painted paper or silk. They can be a under a meter to many meters long with subject matter ranging from pictorial landscapes to animals and people; as well as a special genre specifically for narrative scrolls called emakimono (emaki). In this workshop students will step into the shoes of a Japanese scribe by creating their own watercolor scrolls that they can hang and be proud of.
THE BALANCING ACT: ALEXANDER CALDER
Alexander Calder is known for inventing wire sculptures and the mobile, a type of kinetic art that relied on careful weighting to achieve balance and suspension in the air. Initially, Calder used motors to make his works move, but he soon abandoned this method and began using air currents alone. In this workshop, students will learn how to transform static sculpture into motion.