Art appreciation for all ages

Creative inspiration Children work with many creative media in the ArtLab in the basement of Garvey. The ArtLab is a themed “exhibit” that helps involve children’s activities with the art displays in the Mulvane. The ArtLab recently hired a new personnel member whose job will be to supervise the activities and tours of the lab.

Ben Fitch / Washburn Review

Aleita Graham brought her three children, Aiden, 3; Riley, 5 and Shyanna, 7 to the ArtLab in the Mulvane Art Museum to give the kids something to do.

“It’s pretty cool,” she said. “The kids really enjoy it.”

The ArtLab was installed in the basement of the Mulvane on Sept. 15, 2006. Since then, several interactive stations have been introduced including a contour wall, an instillation sculpture, a magnet mosaic and a cave wall that can be colored with chalk.

Most of the time, the ArtLab is themed to mimic the exhibitions upstairs, either in technique or idea. Recently, Joseph Holton’s exhibit, “Color in Freedom: Journey Along the Underground Railroad,” was featured at the Mulvane. His work featured the use of lines and watercolor. The ArtLab set up a station where visitors could use watercolor resist techniques, or the coloring of paper with crayon so the watercolor doesn’t stick.

Josh Davis, art lab supervisor, was recently hired in the ArtLab to give tours and generally organize the lab area. Davis graduated from the art department at Washburn with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2007.

“I’m excited about being here,” he said, “It’s kind of go go go.”

In fact, the ArtLab is booked next week for four to five days. Elementary and junior-high schools frequent the ArtLab.

“Spring break was busy,” said Davis, “We had about 152 kids one day. It’s exploring art. It’s a way for kids to not only hear about art but experience it.”

Kandis Barker, curator of education at the Mulvane, said she wants to see the ArtLab continue to grow.

“And it will continue to grow,” she said, “because it’s free and open to the public. We just want to keep people coming back.”

Barker said the ArtLab is in the process of being revamped—specifically some of the stations, which will be open  May 7, during this First Fridays Artwalk.

“All of the stations are designed so that people of all ages can learn art at the level they are comfortable with,” said Barker.

Some of the new stations will include print making, a texture area and a miniature replica of the president’s house, complete with working electricity.

Barker said she encouraged Washhburn students to come see the exhibits at the Mulvane and try out the ArtLab. She said students and faculty should know that the ArtLab was not just for kids.