Alyssa Dumire, Director of Children’s Education
FWMoA’s Early Learning Center is a welcoming space for families to “let loose” a little more than the rest of the museum, and, hopefully, to spend some time either preparing to explore the museum or digesting what they’ve already seen. Among other activities, we provide coloring pages, blank paper, and a giant framed dry-erase board along with drawing supplies, with which guests are free to do as they please. Visitors are welcome, of course, to take their creations home with them, but many choose to leave their work on display. We’re rarely in the Learning Center when the public are, so the drawings they leave behind are a way for us to try to learn a bit more about our guests. FWMoA invites written feedback via guest books in the Learning Center and Galleries, which are certainly insightful, but I’m a big believer in the old adage about pictures and their worth (you know the one).
As an educator, we often view the images and objects in the museum as learning tools, lenses through which we can gain a deeper understanding of complicated ideas or eras gone by. I often wonder, then, what will the historians and anthropologists of the future infer about us by looking at our art? In my casual interpretations of our visitor art so far, the findings are diverse: people of all ages are drawing, often together, and they have a lot on their minds. Some, like those below, share responses to their visit to the museum, while others share a message or draw from other experiences. All are valued contributions to our Learning Center “gallery”!
Museums have always served as sources of inspiration for artists so today, we’re highlighting visitor artwork that appears to be directly inspired by something they saw or experienced at FWMoA. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, and maybe they’ll inspire your own creations!
A recent addition to our Learning Center book collection is Her Right Foot written by Dave Eggers with great collaged illustrations by Shawn Harris, which no doubt inspired the lovely Lady Liberty above. I’m always happy to see that our books are being read and appreciated, and this one was a donation from my mother who was particularly proud to have made an impact.
Below is my personal favorite drawing. The divided composition, simple shapes, and texture were clearly inspired by a recent David Shapiro exhibition, and Saidie “got” it! The two sides of this work appear at-odds, chaos versus order, but also co-exist as a unified whole.
What does this excited pink pig have to do with anything at FWMoA?
Well, we sometimes hear that the shape of Peter Bremers’ pink glass Icebergs and Paraphernalia reminds young field-trippers of a pig nose at first glance.
And finally, a work inspired by the experience of getting here—I love this narrative drawing of a family’s summer road trip from Toronto to Fort Wayne. We’re glad to have been a stop on your vacation!
Stay tuned for more art by FWMoA guests, and if you pay us a visit, be sure to stop by the Early Learning Center to leave your own drawing—maybe you’ll see it here on our fridge!