Akron Art Museum opens space where guests can create


Craig Webb - Akron Beacon Journal (TNS)



The Akron Art Museum is getting messy.

And if you need any evidence just take a look at the green hands of museum education coordinator Amanda Crowe.

Guests can now create their own gallery-worthy artworks at the new Live Creative Studio that is open Tuesday through Fridays and dabble in a variety of mediums and techniques like the chalk dust that covered Crowe’s hands on Friday.

“This is all based on the theory, mess is the mother of all invention,” Crowe said referring to the similar familiar quote.

The studio is located in the museum’s Rory and Dedee O’Neil Lobby and an hand’s on exhibit is in the adjoining Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation Gallery.

The lobby space is a spot where guests can chat and interact with studio instructors while the gallery space, which is open during museum hours, is home to a collection of works by Ohio artists and tables that have related creative play activities.

One area is home to a comfy chair and artsy pillows and a fun stuffed-animal mobile hanging from the ceiling created by Cleveland-based artists Jordan Perme and Christopher Lees. The couple even designed the colorful wallpaper.

Another work and adjoining table that explores shape in art is that of Akron artist Alexis Couch.

Crowe is quick to point out that the artist was born in 1998.

She said it is important the museum’s young visitors see that artists come from a variety of backgrounds and can be young, too.

“You don’t have to come from Los Angeles or New York City to be an artist,” Crowe said. “You can be an artist in your own kitchen.”

The museum first dabbled in a creative space for visitors last summer and worked through the winter to finalize plans for a permanent space particularly for young visitors or groups.

This is all part of an effort to make the museum more inclusive and open and inviting to the entire community and a reason it offers free admission on Thursdays.

“The Live Creative Studio is the realization of the first part of a promise we made when we announced our $25 million centennial campaign last month: to create a permanent home for the museum’s education and public programs,” said John S. Knight Director and CEO Mark Masuoka. “The newly-redesigned space is going to delight visitors.”

A contingent of future artists from a Salvation Army summer camp tried out the space on Friday morning.

Maddie Brown, a 9-year-old from Cuyahoga Falls, mused about her theories of art while creating one of her own on a board where she had to use a magnet to move metal beads.

“Bright colors are OK,” she said. “But pastels are more my color.”

The artful discussion brought a smile to Sydnie Barnett, a University of Akron student studying art education, who helps visitors craft art in the lobby studio.

After touring the galleries and taking in all of the museum’s collection, Barnett said, kids now have their own space.

“It’s so great that the kids can get inspired and then release that creative energy,” she said.

Crowe said she believes everyone has an inner artist inside.

“We are just trying to get kids and adults to think outside of the box,” she said.

While designed with kids in mind, Crowe said, the gallery and workspace, which is included with museum admission, is for everyone.

“We have already seen some people come in for a date night,” she said.

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Craig Webb

Akron Beacon Journal (TNS)

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