Tag Archives: Art museums

Power Builders 04.10.15

This is Week #10 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

Few things are more inspiring than seeing the creativity of others. Today’s post will highlight a few museums to inspire you. 

1) From Craftsy, a list of quilt museums across the U.S. I’ve had the privilege of visiting a few, including the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, NE. “The center houses the world’s largest publicly held quilt collection. The more than 4,500 quilts and related ephemera date from the early 1700s to the present and represent more than 25 countries.” Kalona, IA’s Quilt & Textile Museum is a stone’s throw away from me. And I recently enjoyed a visit to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY. From the site, “The Museum’s vibrant and breathtaking exhibits are rotated 8-10 times per year. The primary gallery, with over 7,000 square feet of exhibit space, features quilts from the Museum’s collection which includes over 320 works of art. The Museum’s additional galleries feature touring and thematic exhibits of unique and diverse works of art.”

The Craftsy post includes links for museum and exhibits in other parts of the country, as well.

2) We’re all familiar with names of huge museums in big cities. Have you ever wondered about smaller gems? Your local university may have one. collegerank.net lists the “50 most amazing college museums.” The University of Iowa is on that list, partly for the world-class African art collection. (Unfortunately, we still don’t have our art housed in town, because the 2008 flood destroyed the museum. All the art escaped safely.) Other worthy museums include those highlighting arts of various periods and origins, geology and natural history, design, archealogy and anthropology, among other subjects. Check the list, check your local colleges and universities. You may be surprised at the wonders you’ll find!

200px-Giant_ground_sloth_Iowa

Rusty, the giant sloth in the University of Iowa’s Natural History Museum.

3) From Icarus to Space X, we continue to be fascinated by flight. The age of air and space travel has spawned an enormous amount of art of all kinds. See what some of the fuss is about at museums devoted to the history of flight. The big one, of course, is the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. But don’t limit yourself to it. Across the country you can find other venues, including the Tillamook Air Museum in Oregon, the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, NE, and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, in Dover, OH.

4) Quilting is often considered a folk art, but there are other arts in that category. Woodworking, ceramics, metals, textiles, all display the ingenuity of humans to design and create the useful arts. Wikipedia provides a list of 31 folk art museums, including some near you. All entries on the wiki page link to other wiki pages. Dig a little deeper (google them yourself) to find out more.

What has inspired you this week? Let us know in comments.

Power Builders 03.27.15

This is Week #8 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

Today’s focus is on inspiration and also on how we share that. 

1) Do you remember Bobby McFerrin? Most people will associate him with the ubiquitous song of 1988, Don’t Worry, Be Happy. What they may not realize is that breakthrough song was only part of a long career, both before and since. With ten Grammy awards, he’s as well known now for his improvisational chops, shifting effortlessly in wordless song. He carries his audience along with joy. The reason I’m including him as a power builder is that his goal in performing is to provide listeners with unparalleled joy, a new perspective on creativity, rejection of the predictable, and a sudden, irreversible urge to lead a more spontaneous existence.” We can all use more of that!

Here are two links to let you explore more. First is an interview with the site On Being with Krista Triplett.  To listen, hit the PLAY EPISODE link on the upper right of the page. While the site has a spiritual focus, and indeed the interview includes discussion of his spirituality, the real emphasis of the interview is McFerrin’s artistic inspiration. The second link is a wildly popular demonstration of the musical pentatonic scale. He leads his audience in singing with his movements. While leading the audience, he sings as well, a different set of notes. You must see and hear it to believe it.

2)  Bill Watterson, the creator of the much-beloved Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, is a completely different kind of artist from Bobby McFerrin, but he also led us in rejecting the predictable, and in a new view of creativity. In this Washington Post interview, he discusses his inspirations, as well as the development of his art over many years.

3) While on the topic of inspirations, here is a short overview called “Inspiration: Where Do Artists Get Their Ideas?  Not surprisingly, one of the prime sources through time is religion and ritual. But we also use art to record history, tell stories, teach lessons, preserve images, and experiment with media.

4) Inspiration is a key to making art, but art is limited in value if not shared. Here is an interesting article on the value of art museum field trips, especially for children whose world may be narrower due to economic or other family circumstances. The lesson for those of us with the privilege of art may be simply to share it more generously.

So what good does a field trip to an art museum do? Researchers catalogued a range of benefits for those who went, ranging from critical thinking skills to measures of tolerance and “historical empathy,” but perhaps the most striking finding is how magnified those benefits were across the board for children from schools in rural areas and serving low-income populations, with effect sizes double or triple those of other students. In fact, most of the positive impact from these field trips accrued to students who had never been to Crystal Bridges before, whereas “much smaller or null effects” were observed in relatively more privileged students who presumably have easier access to enriching experiences like this one.

5) From openculture.com, a post on street art. Google is providing location information for more than 10,000 items of street art, freely shared for all to see.

6) Finally, a fabulous source of vintage artwork from books at reusableart.com. This is all in the public domain due to age. Take a look at the categories on the left margin. They range from animals and alphabets to transportation and trees.

Artist unknown, from the book The Old Oak Tree by Miss Moncrieff, 1881.

 

What has inspired you this week? Let us know in comments.