The Cleveland Museum of Art’s centennial birthday celebration officially begins with a community birthday party next Tuesday, June 7, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. CMA director William Griswold will deliver remarks at 2 p.m.
“Our actual birthday is on June the 6th, that’s a Monday when we’re usually closed to the public,” Griswold explained during a press conference in the museum’s gorgeous atrium last month. “We’re going to use it to host special behind the scenes tours and programs just for our members. Our public celebration will kick off on the next day, Tuesday, June the 7th with a birthday party celebration, with of course, ice cream and cake for the entire community. There will be activities for the whole family together with music, a pop-up restaurant here in our Ames Family Atrium, studio programs, Centennial chats in front of masterpieces from our collection, and special behind the scenes tours. In addition, our ticketed exhibition, Pharaoh: King of Ancient Egypt, will be open free to the public that day.”
Of course, vanilla just won’t do for such a special occasion, so Cleveland’s own Pierre’s Ice Cream will provide its new CMA centennial-inspired flavor, Sundae at the Museum, and local bakers have created special cakes inspired by works in the CMA’s collection – including Dali’s "The Dream" and Cleveland native Viktor Schreckengost’s "The New Yorker (Jazz) Bowl."
The day also includes the grand unveiling of the CMA’s Studio Play 2.0 inside its state of the art Gallery One.
“Studio Play will use innovative approaches to enrich the experience of families, helping them to hone three important skills: observation, creativity and play,” Griswold revealed. “The Studio Play team went back to the essential questions of art and learning. What are ways to help families connect to the collection? How do people learn? How do you build authentic connections to art?”
“Parents often feel like they need to have certain knowledge to explore the galleries with their children,” says Seema Rao, director of Intergenerational Learning. “Studio Play’s discovery sensibility dispels the idea that you have to possess prior knowledge—or that you need to ‘get it’—to enjoy art or a museum visit. In Studio Play, kids are in the driver’s seat—showing their parents how it’s done.”
Studio Play 2.0 replaces the more traditional hands-on activities of the original with equally interactive, high tech activities designed for all ages. Parents who may have been concerned with the abrupt closure of the original Studio Play should be relieved to see the changes. Studio Play 2.0 includes Create Studio, Reveal and Zoom, Line and Shape, Matching Game and Memory Game. Each element is designed to use visitors own creativity to help build a deeper understanding of the CMA’s collection. The project was a partnership with Design I/O, an award-winning creative studio based in Cambridge, Mass.
"For Studio Play, the Cleveland Museum of Art wanted to showcase completely new ways for children to interact with its collection and create art inspired from the masterworks on view in the galleries,” says Theo Watson, Partner, Design I/O. “At Design I/O because we love to explore new and intuitive ways to use the body and gestures to interact with an installation; the collaboration was truly inspiring and resulted in some completely radical ways to explore art.”
Create Studio simulates art-making in four different ways. Its Portrait Maker allows visitors to transform their own likeness in the style of the portraits lining the surrounding galleries, both realistically and abstractly, resembling oil, watercolor and charcoal. The Pottery Wheel uses depth-tracking cameras to recreate the experience of “throwing” ceramics on a pottery wheel. The Collage Maker enables visitors to “cut-and-paste” various elements from works in the museum’s collection into original compositions. Paint Play utilizes motion-tracking technology to use visitors’ hand and arm movements like a paintbrush. Visitors can save their creations by sharing them on the museum’s Tumblr site, clevelandart.org/studioplay, or on social media using #StudioPlay.
A complete schedule of events is available on the CMA’s website.
(Cleveland Museum of Art) 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7340, clevelandart.org