SLC Young Ambassador Blog: Week 4

26 07 2013

Hello, my name is Alana Zamora from San Marcos, Texas. This year, I was selected as a 2013 Smithsonian Latino Center Young Ambassador; Up to twenty-four graduating high school seniors are selected each year and are given the amazing opportunity to intern in a museum/cultural institution in their local community for four weeks. Currently, I am interning here at the Austin Children’s Museum. This week is the last week of my internship, and in this blog post, I describe my experience here at the ACM, as well as, insights into the different summer camps that we offer here at the Museum.

This week’s full day camp at the Austin Children’s Museum for ages 7-10 was titled ‘Get a Clue’, and the half day camp for ages 4-6 was ‘Passport Adventures’. Each day, I photographed the camp’s field trips and activities, and filtered, edited and uploaded the photos that I took onto the Museum’s Flickr account.

On Monday, July 22nd, we walked a few blocks with the full day campers to The Driskill hotel. There, we were given a tour and were told of it’s history; We learned that for well over a century, historical benchmarks have been crafted at The Driskill, such as, when Former President Lyndon B. Johnson awaited news of his successful 1948 Senate run and his 1960 election to the office of Vice President, and 1964 election as President. We also learned of the ghosts that have reportedly been seen at the hotel! Colonel Driskill himself is said to wander through the original side of the hotel and the spirit of Samantha Houston, a senator’s young daughter who was chasing a ball when she fell to her death on the grand staircase, has been seen bouncing a ball along the corridors in the hotel.Image

On Tuesday, July 23rd, the full day campers took a tour of the Texas State Cemetary. The Cemetary is the burial place for soldiers and founders of the Republic and State of Texas, elected state officials, jurists and other prominent men and women. Culturally, the Cemetary is unique because it represents every aspect of Texas history from European Colonization to modern day Texas politics. The Texas State Cemetary is the burial site of Stephen F. Austin, Ed Burleson, Bob Bullock and many more historical and cultural icons.Image

On Wednesday, July 24th, I photographed the half day camp, ‘Passport Adventures’. The continents of topic that day were Asia and Australia. The children participated in various activities, learning about kangaroos, origami, bamboo, and the Sydney Opera House. One specific activity of the day that I thought was pretty neat was where the children could create their own Moai statues out of clay, and decorate it with beads and feathers.Image

On Thursday, July 25th, I had my community outreach portion of my internship; Each Young Ambassador must hold a children’s story-time at a local library in their area. I traveled to the Little Walnut Creek Branch Library here in Austin to read Abuela’s Weave by Omar S. Castaneda. Abuela’s Weave is the story of Esperanza, a young Guatemalan girl, and her grandmother who grow closer as they weave some special creations and then make a trip to the market in hopes of selling them. This story shows the importance of family pride and personal endurance, and introduces children to the culture of Guatemala through the eyes of little Esperanza.Image

In the latter half of the day, I traveled back to the Austin Children’s Museum to be the photographer for the Museum Career Ladder & Volunteer Appreciation party. MCL participants and volunteers brought their friends and families to show them what they do at the museum and to have some fun! MCL is a volunteer and employment readiness program that offers opportunities to Austin area teens (12-17 year olds) to engage in fun and meaningful work at the Austin Children’s Museum. This year, there were over 1,100 active volunteers at the Museum. The youngest volunteer is four and the oldest is sixty-six.Image

On Friday, July 26th, the full day campers took a trip to the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin. There, they toured the ceramics and painting studios, and learned about kilns and easels. They also visited visited the art galleries in the building.Image

Sadly, this is my last week at the Austin Children’s Museum. This four-week internship has truly been a great experience! Never having a job before, I was skeptical that I would not successfully fulfill what was expected of me…but at the conclusion of this month, I feel that I have done everything I’ve been asked to to my fullest potential. Throughout my internship, I have learned various skills, such as, time management, patience and team work. In a museum, there’s so much team work that goes into running a successful learning institution and I really do appreciate what every employee/volunteer at any museum does. Along with the Museum, I do believe that the most important skill we can give children is the ability to learn, and that the diversity and interactions among people from different backrounds enrich and strengthen our community. I am eternally grateful to have been selected as a Smithsonian Latino Center 2013 Young Ambassador, to have met many amazing individuals along the way, and to have been blessed with this amazing opportunity to work with the Austin Children’s Museum.Image

If you haven’t had the chance, check out my blog posts from the previous weeks of my internship!

1. http://blog.austinkids.org/2013/07/22/slc-young-ambassador-blog-week-1/

2. http://blog.austinkids.org/2013/07/22/slc-young-ambassador-blog-week-2/

3. http://blog.austinkids.org/2013/07/22/slc-young-ambassador-blog-week-3/

Advertisements




How to make your own glow-in-the-dark deep sea fish

24 07 2013

Background information: Ocean creatures that live in the deep ocean where there is no light often carry a light source of their own. Sometimes, they have special cells that can make light the way fireflies do. Just as often, the light comes from bacteria that live in and on the sea creatures. For example, the flashlight fish has light spots beneath its eyes. These spots are home to millions of luminescent bacteria. The bacteria get nourishment from the fish and the fish gets to have light. Light is important for catching food. Also, light can aid in confusing larger predators.

For this art project, you will need:

-Black paper

-Scissors

-Glow in the Dark paint

-Hole puncher

-String

Directions:

  1. Cut out a shape of a fish from the black piece of paperImage
  2. Decorate the fish with the glow-in-the-dark paintIMG_0436
  3. Wait for the paint to dry
  4. Hole punch a hole on the top of the fish & tie a string in itImage
  5. Hold your fish up to the light to charge it upImage
  6. Hang your fish, turn the lights off and watch it swim & flow!Image




SLC Young Ambassador Blog: Week 3

22 07 2013

Hello, my name is Alana Zamora from San Marcos, Texas. This year, I was selected as a 2013 Smithsonian Latino Center Young Ambassador; Up to twenty-four graduating high school seniors are selected each year and are given the amazing opportunity to intern in a museum/cultural institution in their local community for four weeks. Currently, I am interning here at the Austin Children’s Museum. I will be posting weekly blog posts to describe my experience here at ACM, as well as, insights into the different summer camps that we offer at the Museum.

This week, I worked directly with children, ages 7-10, that were enrolled in the ‘smART’ full day summer camp program here at the Museum. For every full day camp, we go on daily field trips, experience innovative hands-on activities, and play in the Museum. This week, I photographed the camp’s field trips and activities, and in the latter half of each day, I worked upstairs in the office, filtering, editing and uploading photos that I had taken from the camps onto the Museum’s Flickr account.

On Monday, July 15th, we walked with the children to the Staar Building so they could view the mobile that is displayed upstairs. After that, we went back to the Children’s Museum and had the children create their own mobile out of a hanger, string and random recyclable items.Image

On Tuesday, July 16th, we took a field trip to MAKEatx, a membership-based workshop where individuals can pursue their diverse interests and activities independently and creatively. The workshop currently houses a powerful laser cutter capable of cutting, etching, and engraving a wide variety of materials, brand new computers with the latest design software, and ample work space. The campers had the opportunity to create their own design for a key-chain or magnet, and were able to watch the laser cutter create it right before their very own eyes!Image

On Wednesday, July 17th, we had an amazing tour at Blue Genie Art Industries. BGAI is a nationally recognized creative firm specializing in large scale commercial fabrication of three dimensional objects, monuments, exhibits, themed environments, and artist services. Some of their recent clients include Dell, PEZ Candy, Schlotsky’s, Whole Foods Market, Make a Wish Foundation and the Austin Children’s Museum!Image

On Wednesday, I also had the opportunity to photograph the Technology Camp for incoming 4th, 5th and 6th graders at the Museum’s off-site locations at Silicon Labs. The children were able to design games and create their own animations using Scratch, a computer programming language made for kids. The campers also created game controllers, and program sensors and motors to construct a Rube Goldberg Device.Image

On Thursday, July 18th, our daily field trip was to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. The garden is a natural oasis in South Austin dedicated to the work of 20th Century American sculptor Charles Umlauf. Umlauf’s sculptures range from detailed realism to lyrical abstractions. His materials are equally diverse, from the exotic woods and terra cotta or cast stone of his earlier pieces, to the rich bronzes and alabasters or luminous marbles of his prime. With equal facility, Umlauf sculpted family groups (particularly mothers and children), delightful animals, and religious and mythological figures.Image

On Friday, July 19th, we visited the AMOA-Arthouse. The museum provides rich environments for a wide range of audiences to investigate and experience excellence in contemporary art. The museum accomplishes this through innovative exhibitions, education, interpretative programs and direct access to the creative process. The current exhibit that we had a tour of was ‘Advanced Young Artists’. The displayed artworks were developed by artist-mentors and teens in partnership, resulting in either one unified piece of two individual works related through process and/or concept. One project from the exhibit was titled “The Identity Project”; This project consisted of wearable masks that the artist and their mentor created. Viewers were encouraged to choose a mask, step into the photo booth, and express themselves through physical gestures/poses. In interacting with the masks and producing an image, the viewer becomes a participant and a piece of live sculpture.Image

This week, I was very privileged to experience my first art camp! Although I was not a camper, I had fun being a Camp teacher and photographer. I love that the children are being exposed to all types of art mediums and that they are able to express themselves through various art forms. This week has been a very neat experience and it is something that I will never forget.

If you haven’t had the chance, check out my blog posts from the previous weeks of my internship!

  1. http://blog.austinkids.org/2013/07/22/slc-young-ambassador-blog-week-1/
  2. http://blog.austinkids.org/2013/07/22/slc-young-ambassador-blog-week-2/




Awesome Works of Art Influenced by Children’s Toys!

15 04 2012

The imaginations of today’s contemporary artists seem to have no limits. Artists are able explore the wonderful world of children’s toys by creating gigantic masterpieces that are very fun to look at! Some incorporate discarded toys, and others create large-scale balloon dogs or Lego’s. Here are some of our favorite artworks that share a wonderful child-like imagination:



1. Jeff Koons, “Balloon Dog” and “Puppy” (1994-2000): Created out of stainless steel with a mirror finish, Koon’s balloon animals range from 43 feet to 10 feet tall. In 1992, he was commissioned to create “Puppy”, a sculpture of a white terrier puppy covered in a variety of flowers.

2. Peng Hung Chih, “Little Danny” (2001): Little Danny was created with 660 wind-up dogs that start yapping and moving when you enter the room. Chih was interested in presenting the world from a dog’s perspective to visitors that enter.

3. Hans Hemmert, “German Panther” (2007): Standing at an amazing 31 feet tall, “German Panther” was created entirely out of balloons. At the end of the exhibition, the balloons were popped!

4. Florentijn Hofman, 42-foot tall toy rabbit (2011): This giant yellow bunny was created using local materials and craftsmen in Sweden. Located near St. Nicolai Church in the city center, people can walk up to the sculpture and admire its enormous size.

5. Robert Bardford, “Fairy Too”: The sculpture is created using his own children’s old toys, all coming together to make a masterpiece of unique materials.

6. Joe Black, “Made in China” (2011): Created from more than 5,500 toy
soldiers, Black’s portrait is of a Chinese soldier (taken from a photograph by
Robert Capa). All of the toy soldiers were created in China, hence the title.
When the viewer stands back, they see just a portrait. However, if you move
closer, you can see the incredible detail of different color toy soldiers!

7. Ego Leonard’s “Lego’s” (2007-2011): This wonderful, weird mystery Lego seemed to appear out of no where on a Florida beach one day. Standing at 8 feet tall, weighing 100 pounds, the Lego adds a playful and magical moment to a beach visit.


Do you have a favorite work of art? Leave us a comment and share your pick!





ACM visits Architects of Air

17 01 2012

On Saturday, we took a field trip across Lady Bird Lake to visit the temporary art installation, Architects of Air. It was a unique and beautiful experience that we truly recommend. Architects of Air is made up of “luminaria” (but not those brown paper bags with a candle in them) – in this case, luminaria refers to giant inflatable sculptures that you can enter and explore. Inside the puffed up landscape, light and color bounce off the curved and domed walls.

Architects of Air from the outside.

The interactive sculpture has been to over 35 countries and 2 million visitors have passed through the colored walls. The space inside Architects of Air is inflated with surprisingly quite fans. The beautiful and immersive colors are created by sunlight passing through colored panes of plastic (much like the light passing through colored panes of stained glass in a cathedral).

Sunlight passes through the colored strips in the ceiling of Architects of Air, making the whole sculpture light up in many colors.

Architects of Air is set up in the field near the Long Center through January 20th. Admission costs $8, kids 2 and under are free. We recommend getting their early (they open at 10am daily) – and bringing something to entertain your group in line.

Visitors explore the passages and chambers inside Architects of Air.





Holiday Light-bulb Ornaments!

8 12 2011

Aren’t these homemade ornaments charming? If you want your holidays to be filled with creativity, you can dazzle your family with your very own ornaments too!

They are pretty simple to make, you need an old light-bulb (we found a nice round one to mimic the shape of store-bought ornaments) paint, paintbrushes, a pipe-cleaner/string/or ribbon, liquid glue, shaving cream, and optional glitter.

First, clean off your light-bulb so that the paint sticks.

Then, plan out what you want to paint onto your ornament, we chose our name, a candy-cane, and a snowman. But if your hand isn’t as steady as ours, you can just do fun designs, like red and white stripes, snowflakes or just random!

It was kind of difficult to paint the light-bulb while holding it, since you want every part of it to have color. So we suggest you take an old egg carton, or a small cup to prop the light-bulb on while you decorate it.

We created a snow effect on the bottom and on the snowman by combining equal parts liquid glue and shaving cream. It should dry puffy and it’s a lot of fun to paint and play with!

We added glitter to the top part of the ornament, but you can go crazy and do a whole glitter ornament if you want, who’s stopping you?

Finally, we used a pipe cleaner wrapped around the top of the light-bulb. Make sure to twist it in a way that lets you hang it on your tree. If you don’t have pipe cleaners, you can try using ribbon, yarn, or string tied at the top for hanging.

So from now on, don’t throw out broken light-bulbs, make ornaments instead!





Practice Pointillism

2 11 2011

So many dots!

Pointillism is a neat way of painting. The word itself: Point (dots) and ism (stlye) is exactly what it means, the style of dots. French artist George Seurat invented this time-consuming painting technique. Look at Seurat’s painting above from far away, it looks like a normal landscape painting doesn’t it? But once you get close to it you can see that the image is actually made out of lots and lots of tiny dots. Can you imagine how long that took?

When you view from a distance your eye blends the dots together, this is called optical blending. You can see this in Seurat’s painting The Eiffel Tower (pictured on the right). When you look at it, it looks orange, but really he only used tiny dots of red and yellow which your eyes blend to make the color orange. Instead of mixing the paint himself, he is making your eye do all the work!

This technique of optical blending, dividing the colors instead of blending them, was also called divisionism. Divisionism included pointillism, but an artist could create this optical illusion with more than the use of dots. For example, Vincent van Gogh used divisionism in his famous painting The Starry Night, instead of using dots he used lines. If you look closely you can see the lines from his brush everywhere, it makes it seem like the sky is moving.

If you want to practice pointillism and divisionism yourself, just print this coloring activity and use markers for the dots and lines: Artist Activity

Look how ours turned out:

Hang them up when you’re done and marvel at your masterpieces!