Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Columbus Museum of Art

The Columbus Museum of Art is the perfect destination for an artsy day trip to Columbus! Located in the Discovery District, the CMA is near the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Topiary Park, Thurber House, Kelton House, Franklin University, Columbus College of Art and Design, Capital University Law School and Columbus State Community College... hence the name the Discovery District!  

The CMA is currently undergoing a renovation with a new addition being added on the east side of the building (for those of you familiar with the CMA, the entrance to the museum has been relocated to the West Garden off of Ninth Street, visitor parking is still available off of East Gay Street). 

Kenneth and I visited the Columbus Art Museum and the Topiary Park on a Sunday afternoon in September earlier this year. The CMA has free admission on Sundays, thanks to a grant from PNC Arts Alive. Visitors are encouraged to share their CMA Free Sunday story on Twitter or Instagram. I am sharing my story here, and will post a link to it on Twitter. The CMA is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 5:30pm, and is open late on Thursdays until 8:30m. The museum is closed on Mondays.

The first thing we checked out at our last visit were the plans and model for the new addition.  I'm a little familiar with scale models like these because my sister, Brittney, is a graduate architecture student at the University of Cincinnati and I've seen some of her projects. I sent her the pictures I took of the model and images and she explained that the scale model is actually a site model because it includes trees and topography. The images we saw are renderings. 

A rendering is "a digital model which is rendered through a program and then normally Photoshopped with people and accessories to make it feel real and less cold. Computer renderings can be kind of creepy when it's just the building. In school, we call the "extra stuff" that is Photoshopped entourage." My sister told me that she and a friend in the program like to put famous people like Michelle Obama and JK Rowling or characters from movies like Forrest Gump in their renderings. Unfortunately, I didn't recognize any famous faces in the CMA renderings, but the expansion looks amazing anyway!

My favorite thing about the Columbus Museum of Art is that conversation and play is strongly encouraged in the museum. By play I don't mean that CMA staff are encouraging children to run through the hallways or color on the walls - it's constructive (and nondestructive) play and directed conversation. For a really cute explanation of the museum rules and expectations, check out this video from the museum: 

Conversation is encouraged via post-it notes! Artwork is highlighted on boards on the walls in or near galleries with questions about the piece. Visitors are encouraged to write their thoughts on a post-it note and add it to the board. My favorite comment from the photos below was that the beaded artwork "looks like [a] Tim Burton Christmas Tree?!" - I have to agree!

In the Big Idea Gallery we explored color. The gallery is filled with interactive games like spinning tops to create new colors and a color shuffleboard. After visiting the color immersion room (pictured below) we shared how we felt being surrounded by purple and yellow. Normally I'd say yellow makes me feel "cheerful" and purple makes me feel "relaxed" or "calm," but in the color immersion room I felt "curious" immersed in yellow and "overwhelmed" immersed in purple (it's a lot of dark purple)! Before leaving the Big Idea Gallery we played with colorful art blocks, made Op Art with colorful tape and made cool Lego creations.

On the second floor of the museum, we explored galleries full of paintings and sculptures. Some of my favorite paintings are pictured in the slideshow below. A few of my favorites include Varvara Ivanovna Ladomirsky by Elisabeth Louise Vigée Lebrun, Boatyard at Saint-Mammès by Alfred Sisley, Lilacs with Cups of Milk by Kees Van Dongen and Hare on Ball and Claw by Barry Flanagan.

Currently, the Columbus Museum of Art has an exhibition of artwork by Columbus native, George Bellows. The exhibition, which is titled George Bellows and the American Experience, will be on view from August 23, 2013 through January 4, 2014. Photographs are not allowed of artwork not owned by the CMA, so I have no photos of the exhibit - you'll have to see it in person! The exhibit does a great job of showing Bellows' past and how it affected his artwork. My favorite paintings of his were landscapes and ones of his family. Over thirty-five paintings are included in the exhibit, which recently traveled from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Royal Academy in London, England!

Check out the Columbus Art Museum soon - join the conversation about an interesting art piece, create your own work of art or find a new favorite artist!