As one walks around the Washburn campus, there are many spectacles of art that the college has put out for the students to see. If one would walk by the Mulvane Art Museum, they would see a large, woven structure named Topiary with a Twist by Patrick Dougherty.
This sculpture inspired the most recent multi-tiered art education program, combining art making with nature and science. This program soon acquired the name Twist and Turn.
Twist and Turn is an exhibition of bird paintings, sounds, drawings, and mobiles. These birds come in a variety of ways, either realistic or imaginary. However, the museum does an excellent job of incorporating sounds of various birds and the movement of the mobiles to create an atmosphere of realism when touring.
“We came up with the name quite simply,” said Kandis Barker, Curator of Education. “Birds twist and turn through the air and with the topiary, the sticks all twist and turn within each other.”
Between Barker, and her Assistant Curator of Education, Jane Hanni, they have been working with several groups since 2010 to put together the exhibit.
These groups include: fourth graders from USD #501 and the afterschool program, the Intergenerational Art Classes, St. Francis Art and Wellness Classes, and several other workshops the museum offers.
“We like to keep the art so the artists can come back and show their family and friends their works of art,” said Barker. “However, we let the patients from St. Francis keep their work as a reminder of what they’ve done.”
Their works of art can still be seen, though. The museum has kept a scrapbook of each work of art by the patients that they have open to view.
This variety of skill levels gives the museum a sense of diversity from most museums. The education program teaches the new artists how to detect color and pattern in what they see in nature. They also show the differences between painting realism pieces and imaginary pieces, but don’t give preference as to which should be painted.
“We have over 1500 works of art, all of which are completely different from any other,” said Barker.
The Twist and Turn Art exhibit opened their doors on February 4, but is only staying up until April 15. It is available to the public any time the museum is open. The employees of the museum strongly suggest visiting their website for not only museum hours, but more information on different pieces.
The Mulvane Art Museum’s website is http://www.washburn.edu/main/mulvane/index.html.
“We could not have been any more thankful for the support we’ve been shown when doing this,” said Barker. “The Twist and Turn project was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Art’s Art Education Invitation Grants Initiative and the Friends of the Mulvane Art Museum.”