Think PL!NK: Kaleidoscopic artwork at the Crocker

By From page A6 | July 26, 2017

In an immersive experience of dazzling color, light and reflection, children are invited to explore the Crocker Art Museum’s newest Art Spot, PL!NK. Created by UC Davis professors of design, Glenda Drew and Jiayi Young, PL!NK is designed to inspire creativity and wonder, enabling children and their grownups to enjoy a shared experience.

Funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and First 5 Sacramento, the Crocker Art Museum’s experimental Art Spots program features four experiential installations designed for children age 5 and younger and their caregivers. Each Art Spot is created by a different artist or team who spent the last year participating in the Crocker’s ongoing early childhood program to gain a thorough understanding of children’s developmental needs and interests.

The first Art Spot, Gato, appeared in the museum’s historic building in May. Created by artists Michelle Lee and Darin Reyes, this installation allows children to step into the dream world of a giant toy cat that mesmerizes little museum visitors. (Gato is on view through Oct. 29).

Art Spot: PL!NK sprung up in the museum on July 23. Inspired by kaleidoscopic configurations, PL!NK invites children to step into an enchanting work of art that is with more than 100 tetrahedron clusters comprised of mirrors and colorful Plexiglas. An experimentation station allows children to create their own shape-based, interlocking, sculptural forms on the spot as they participate individually or through cooperative play.

“Kids love experimenting with art, and to nurture their creative development as human beings, we’re taking it one step farther,” said PL!NK co-creator Drew. “Our intent is to essentially soak children in a beautiful experience of light and color and shapes and, as they engage, we give them an opportunity to share their experience with others.”

As components of the Crocker Art Museum’s pioneering Early Childhood Initiative, the Art Spots focus on school readiness for young learners. PL!NK features a real-time video playback effect with tiny cameras inserted into the artwork that capture and magnify visitors’ images. PL!NK also engages children in storytelling, a vital aspect of language development. At a storytelling station, children can voice-record stories stimulated by the space. Additionally, the artists have created an opportunity for remote participation in this aspect of the artwork through a website that enables children, caregivers, and teachers to contribute stories that will be played in the museum space.

“We’re taking this experience beyond the Museum walls and redefining the relationship between artwork and community,” said Young. “By involving children from Sacramento and its surrounding communities, through the assistance of their caregivers and teachers, we want to extend the reach of this experience so that it is inclusive of all children, especially those in outlying and underrepresented communities.”

PL!NK will be on view through Oct. 29.

In the fall, the museum will unveil a new Tot Land installation created by Bay Area artist Martin Webb. Inspired by a work in the Crocker Art Museum’s permanent collection, this Art Spot will allow children to climb into a wooden boat as they explore and use their imagination to envision a world of possibilities. The existing Tot Land installation will close briefly at the end of August and re-open with the new Art Spot on Sept. 10.

Rounding out the first season of Art Spots is the festive and immersive 3-D installation, Wingding. Created by local artist Sonja White for young children as well as their grownups, this art experience offers opportunities to interact with, and learn about, the basic elements of art through play, experimentation, and creative collaboration. Wingding will be open for experience Nov. 19 through March 4, 2018.

Crocker Art Museum


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