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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 26, 2024 – Friday is reserved for visiting elementary students & school art trip.
Saturday, April 27, 2024, 10am-5pm
Sunday, April 28, 2024, 10am – 4pm

2024 TEACHING ARTISTS & FEATURED WORKSHOPS:

BRITT ALLEN
REPEATING THE PAST: PATTERNS THAT SHAPED A CULTURE
(Fri & SUn)

From every corner of the world repeating shapes join together to form a pattern that defines the narrative of each culture from which it was derived. The inspiration that each culture drew from, ranges as widely as the intricate patterns that each has produced.  Children will be immersed in the rich history of patterns produced by cultures from all around the world. Then they will be asked to create their own imaginary country and construct a pattern that represents that newly founded land’s rich culture.  

LAURA BULLOCK
THE PARADOX OF TRANSFORMATION ABSTRACT COLLAGE: CHARMION VON WIEGAND
(Fri, Sat, Sun)

Charmion von Wiegand was an abstract artist aligned with geometric abstraction and modernism. Her writings gave language to abstract art and popularized it as culturally relevant. Her earlier style, while always abstract, took influence from other modern movements. She eventually settled into her own style inspired by traditional Tibetan art. Her later works focused on hard-edged geometric shapes with soft color that brought a deep spirituality to abstraction. She emphasized the importance of intuition, experimentation, and using color and shape as a language in art. Students will make a collage inspired by Von Wiegand’s later work from hand cut geometric shapes with  semi-structured placements. They will learn about composition, color, and form as well as the symbolism behind the use of shape and color in abstract art.

TYLER CARLISLE 
THE SEASON OF SPRING PRINTS: KASAMATSU SHIRO 
(Fri, Sat)

A young student himself, at the age of 13 Kasamatsu Shiro started his journey to become a master in the craft of printmaking. In later years he adopted the sōsaku-hanga movement with focus on principles of “self-drawn”, “self-carved” and “self-printed” artwork.  Shiro, motivated by a desire for self-expression adopted a more modern style of prints incorporating Western influences. The subjects are landscapes and many kacho-e – prints that show birds and flowers. Students will have the opportunity to create unique prints inspired by one of Kasamatsu Shiro’s later works “Flowers of all Season”. Using the relief printing technique, students will study spring floral still lifes and create print works that reflect the sōsaku-hanga movement.

APRIL CUMBIE
CONTEMPORARY ROCOCO PORTRAITS: KEHINDE WILEY
(Fri, Sat)

Kehinde Wiley made waves with his legendary portrait of President Obama, set against a vibrant green backdrop inspired by nature. Known for his stunning portraits of black icons, Wiley infuses his artwork with a burst of color and energy, creating a visual feast for the eyes. This workshop will carry on the vivid background techniques that Kehinde uses in his mixed media self portraits. Participants will have a variety of materials to create their own portraits, displaying themselves in their own creative way while using vivid background patterns in a complementary way making themselves the grand subject of their own work of art.

DEIDRE DARBY
THE NATURE OF RELIEF PRINTS: RAINBOW FLORA
(Fri, Sun)

Nature printing has its roots dating as far back as the 15th century and older, but its appreciation and preservation of the natural world has developed into a wider expression in modern times.  The artist Arlene Bandes has taken the simple act of making prints from pressed specimens and elevated it to a rainbow of flora using innovative printing techniques all while keeping the purity of the natural subject.  Students will use various natural specimens in their very own printmaking process capturing the beauty of the natural world through a rainbow of flora.

SHARON DEVANEY-LOVINGUTH
CYANOTYPE SUNPRINT: MANDALAS OF MONARCHS, WILDFLOWERS & FOUND OBJECTS
(Fri, Sun)

Contemporary photographic artists J. M. Golding and Leah Sobsey continue to expand the uses of cyanotype photography, exploring the ways in which art and science can speak to and about each other. Golding’s work, Connection in an Unspoken Language, uses plants and found objects, creating cyanotype mandalas that encourage us to imagine an unspoken botanical language and what it might be saying to us. Sobsey’s work, Swarm, calls our attention to her decade-long documentation of the Monarch butterfly’s decline due to changes in our climate. The Monarch, recently added to the endangered species list, has lost a crucial source of food and reproductive habitats due to the declining population of Milkweed plants. In this year’s workshop, students will explore the cyanotype process using a variety of Alabama wildflowers, leaves, and found objects. They’ll be creating circle mandalas and posing questions about the connections between the natural world we share. Also, students can choose to make the shape of the Monarch butterfly in order to raise awareness of the Monarch’s loss of food and habitat. Milkweed seeds provided from the Live Monarch project will be available for students to take home and plant, providing the Monarch butterflies a meal and  place to lay their eggs.

CARSON ELMORE
UNLEASH THE WILD BEAST! EXPLORING FAUVISM AND PAPER CUTOUTS: MATISSE
(Fri, Sat)

During the early 1900s, French artist Henri Matisse (1869-1954) led a small group of painters in abandoning the realistic color and perspective of classical art for a more expressive and abstract style. Dubbed “les Fauves’ ‘ (French for “the wild beasts’), characteristics of the Fauvist movement include the vibrant and expressive use of color, distinctive contrasts, and flat composition of simplified forms. Later in his life, relegated to a wheelchair after developing stomach cancer, he took quickly to the medium of paper cutouts, which he referred to as “painting with scissors”. He again turned to dynamic colorations and abstract, expressive shapes in his work. In this workshop, inspired by Matisse’s quote “I wouldn’t mind turning into a vermilion goldfish,” students will be challenged to consider what wild beast they might choose to be, and then create a personal collage including abstract cutouts of their beast and aspects of its ecosystem. Finally, they will arrange their individual works together with other student pieces to create temporary large-scale murals inspired by Matisse’s works, including Beasts of the Sea, Polynesia, The Sky, and The Sheaf.

ESHÉ IAM
NOIR DADA Avant Garde
(Fri, Sat, Sun) 

Black and white wearable art & movement

BAILEY HITE
FORGOTTEN AND FOUND AGAIN: CREATING NEW MEANING FROM OLD THINGS
(Fri, Sat, Sun)

When thinking about what art objectively is, many may think of elaborate paintings and expertly carved sculptures. What if art could be created from anything, though? In this workshop, participants will create their own small found object sculptures from repurposed and thrifted materials. Ranging from collage materials from magazines to discarded stuffed animals all will be combined to create something new and unique. Along with creating their own sculptures, made up of at least two found components, participants will be tasked with writing down on paper what their piece may symbolize to them. After everyone has completed their sculptures, they will add them and their descriptions to a large collaborative sculpture. The goal of this act is to create a sense of community among each participant, as the main sculpture becomes more elaborate, it shows that art can continue to grow and change with every new idea.

TAYLOR HOLLINGSWORTH
JUNK ART BEINGS: JOE MINTER’S AFRICAN VILLAGE IN AMERICA
(Fri)

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.

CHELSEA JEAN
TEXTURE TREASURES – CREATING COLLAGRAPHS FROM EVERYDAY OBJECTS: GLEN ALPS
(Fri, Sun)

A collagraph print utilizes a substrate such as a board onto which various textured materials are affixed. Glen Alps (1914-1996), an esteemed artist and professor known primarily for his work in printmaking and sculpture, is credited with pioneering the collagraph technique. In 1957, Alps introduced the term “collagraph” when he showcased one of his creations at the Brooklyn Museum, thereby integrating the technique into mainstream printmaking practices. Notably, his contributions were recognized in Fritz Eichenberg’s seminal work, “The Art Of The Print,” where Alps’ work and methods were prominently featured. In this workshop, students will have the opportunity to craft their own collagraphs using everyday objects and upcycled materials, fostering creativity and resourcefulness. Through exploration of shape and texture, participants will design their print, culminating in both a printed artwork and a reusable collagraph printing plate.

RUMI KALLENBACH
LET THE PAINT TALK: JACK WHITTEN
(Fri, Sat, Sun)

Throughout his innovative artistic career, Jack Whitten remained fascinated with the materiality of paint. In pursuing a material language, he developed a body of rich emotional and conceptual work. The goal of this workshop is to encourage participants to explore the use of paint as a physical material, and to discover what potential for expression exists in this method. We will be experimenting with application methods, paint treatment and composition, to instill a sense of freedom and variety of paint as a medium has to offer.

PAIGE MARMALEJO
TELLING STORIES THROUGH MOVEMENT – CONTEMPORARY CIRCUS ART
(Fri)

Contemporary circus also known as new circus began in the 20th century. It differed from traditional circus arts by using circus skills to express a theme, mood, question or tell a story. The most well known group following this style of movement expression is Cirque du Soleil but there have been a variety of individuals as well as groups such as Cirque Plume in France and Circus Smirkus from Vermont. This workshop will explore how to express an idea or object through movement with a prop. Students will do a few movement exercises to get their ideas flowing then move into teams to create their own movement story.

WALTER MOORE
PAINTING ON THE WALL- MEXICAN MURAL ART: JORGE TELLAECHE
(Fri, Sat)

Mexican mural art began as a visual story of a country’s history on display for all to see. Muralists such as Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros used symbolic themes and a larger than life scale to tell the story of heroes and cultural achievements that help to build the society in which they lived. By telling these stories in a visual format it allowed viewers from all backgrounds to understand the deep levels of rich histories and from where they came. This style of mural is something that is still embraced to this day by modern artists such as Jorge Tellaeche, using the same method of storytelling to bring light to modern ideas and current social issues affecting today’s viewer. Children will be asked to look at the current landscapes in which they live and the history of the city of Birmingham. They will then create a group mural for others to experience the story of the community in which they live.

ELANA MORCHOWER
WORDMOBILE POET-TREE HOUSE: FLUXUS & CONCRETE POETRY
(Fri, Sat)

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.

MELISSA NOBLE
THE MADE UP THING-CLAY SCULPTURE: ANNABETH ROSEN
(Fri, Sat)

Annabeth Rosen is a contemporary ceramic sculptor whose body of work demonstrates what it means to test the boundaries of what clay can do and what sculpture can be. Her unconventional work often includes pieces of broken ceramic, clay and glaze that have been fired many times over, and are often held together by elastic bands or steel wire. Her quote from Sculpture magazine “I think a lot about the made-up thing” is the inspiration behind this workshop. Participants will work together to create individual clay elements that will be combined to make their very own “Made-up Thing.”

AMBER ORR
THE SELF PORTRAITS OF THE MYTHICAL ME: SANER
(Fri, Sat)

The world-renowned Mexican street artist, illustrator and graphic designer Edgar Flores, known as Saner is aiming to rediscover respect for the natural world and all living beings.  His work is deeply influenced by Mexican and worldwide folklorist heritage and pop culture, connecting illustration manners, expressionism, naïve art and surrealism. One of his major influences was Frida Khalo the Mexican painter known for her many portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico. Her paintings often had strong autobiographical elements and mixed realism with fantasy. In most of her self-portraits, she depicts her face as mask-like, but surrounded by visual cues which allow the viewer to decipher deeper meanings. In this workshop children will create their own surreal self portrait, filled fanciful legends, aspects of the natural world, and their own self identity.

VICTORIA BELLE PROSSER
THE COLOR WHEEL OF EMOTIONS:ALMA THOMAS
(Fri) 

“Through color, I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on man’s inhumanity to man,” Alma Thomas. Thomas’ style compiled brilliantly colored works formed with rich patterns connecting the viewer to abstract interpretations of the natural world. Thomas used color as a force with which could be manipulated to positively and negatively alter a space and mood. Students will choose a color scheme either complementary, analogous, or monochromatic. Inspired by Thomas’ style and color choices they will divide their art into 2-4 sections, filling each section with a circular color block. The finished result will demonstrate the way colors affect one another and the audience that views it when used simultaneously in artwork.

JAMARI RICE
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT: MATISSE’S MUSHROOMS
(Fri, SUN)

Matisse’s technique of sketching a large subject with his charcoal at the end of a six-foot bamboo stick may definitely raise some questions. His unusual practice stems from the artist’s discovery that squaring up a small sketch, as has been the standard procedure for large paintings and murals, was incompatible with his aesthetic. For him drawing larger pieces while standing at a distance allowed him the ability to have full oversight of the larger scale. For Matisse this also granted him more control as he produced the forms that he planned to create. For someone trying to recreate this technique they could find it very useful or it could produce the exact opposite – loss of control. With this exercise children will sketch larger scale mushrooms from varying lengths. They will get the feel for making marks with varying amounts of control using their drawing implement. Less control will produce exciting, awkward, and abstract details marks that have a unique gestural beauty about them teaching the value of hand control and what characteristics it brings to their final result.

NATASHA ROSE
THE OUTER AND INNER SELF PORTRAIT: JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
(Fri, Sat, Sun)

Jean-Michel Baquiat was a Puertorican/Haitian American artist who rose to fame with neo-expressionism in the 1980s. He was best known for his raw gestural style of painting with graffiti like images and scrawled text. Basquiat used his work and his platform to bring attention to issues that affected the Black community. His artistic themes are focused on a  division and contrast between two things like outer versus inner experiences. This Workshop will allow the students to create a self portrait in the unique style of Basquiat all while reflecting on those same themes of dichotomy.

SARA SCOTT
KOINOBORI: FINDING THE PATH OF THE WIND
(Fri)

Koinobori , meaning ‘carp streamer’ in Japanese, are carp-shaped windsocks traditionally flown for Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi), which is a national holiday in Japan. The modern interpretations of each color of carp flown represent a member of one’s family and the hope for a good future. If we take this tradition to the opposite side of the globe in Guanajuato, Mexico an artist named Atardecer Salvaje is creating mammoth sized windsocks with a similar but different meaning. These giant fish constructed from repurposed plastic bags fused together in a patchwork of multi-colored squares represent the story of the wind that leads us to travel down our path and how we say goodbye with joy to those who are left behind. In this workshop participants will transcribe their own hopes and dreams with an image or phrase onto a small square then by fusing their small contributions together panel by panel a giant form will emerge soaring through the air. 

MALLIE SEDLAK
STRETCHING THE BOUNDARIES OF THE MUNDANE: ANN WEBER
(Fri, Sat)

Ann Weber is known for her monumental sculptures formed out of found cardboard boxes aiming to create something beautiful out of the everyday mundane. The way she weaves each section together on her organic forms, striving to maintain stability and stretch the boundaries of height is a true balancing act that she has mastered. Weber’s sculptures with their double meanings are not quite representational nor abstract but exist in a space between. With this workshop students will learn how to form and sculpt using Weber’s techniques individually. They will then take that knowledge and apply it to a monumental group piece truly stretching the boundaries of the mundane.

SAVANNAH SETZER
THE PIECES OF YOUR CITY: BISA BUTLER
(Fri, Sun)

Bisa Butler has taken the traditional style of quilting and brought it into the modern world. Quilting has long been considered a craft but Butler’s methods have catapulted quilting into the field of fine art by creating quilts that look like actual paintings. She is most known for her quilted portraits celebrating Black life, portraying both everyday people and notable historical figures. With the use of vibrant colors and mixed textures it allows each piece to tell its own story of the selected subject matter. Her works are now among the permanent collections at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Art Institute of Chicago, Pérez Art Museum Miami and about a dozen other art museums nationwide. With this workshop, students will get to appliquè a popular Birmingham landmark such as: Vulcan, Sloss Furnaces, or The Alabama Theatre using Butler’s style as their muse. Students will be encouraged to create a very unique scene as they piece together their city with various vivid colors and textures of fabric.

F f f f KEVIN LOVELL SPENCER
SPECTRUMS & SPIRALOIDS: HUNDERTWASSER
(Fri, Sat)

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.

LAUREN STRAIN
A BROOCH OF UNKNOWN OBJECTS THAT BELONG TOGETHER: JOSEPH CORNELL
(Fri, Sun)

Joseph Cornell made his mark on the art world by incorporating cast-off and discarded artifacts and assembling them into a visual surreal fantasy with a dash of irrational juxtaposition. His fascination with the discarded fragments of the once beautiful and precious objects no longer loved or needed moved him to display them in shadow box assemblages helping to preserve their meaning with a feeling of nostalgia. He would many times focus his series of  art works on what at the time interested him the most. Combining meticulously gathered objects and introducinging them into a scene with a sense that they belong together. Children will engage in the same act as Cornell gathering and assembling precious artifacts that interest them into a small wearable shadow box brooch.

KARA THEART
DANCING ON CANVAS: HEATHER HANSON
(Fri)

Hansen’s performative drawings are stripped down to raw process. Propelled by gesture, body geometry, and leverage, her drawings radiate graphic organic patterns, holding audiences in meditative engagement. Her kinetic drawing series, a hybrid of dance, film and visual art, utilizes the body as a drawing tool to transcribe movement to canvas. Through her background in dance she has a developed awareness of the patterns created in the negative space around the human body in motion. This workshop will allow children to practice these same techniques using their range of motion to create organic forms with repeating patterns resulting in the final work being a true dance on canvas.

41st Annual MCAC

April 26-28, 2024