A trip to the Peabody Essex Museum's Maker's Lounge

October 21, 2014 by Miranda

This past Friday, The Umbrella staff took a break from our desks and ventured up to Salem.  We drove through the brilliant fall foliage on what may have been the last warm day of the year, eager to explore the Peabody Essex Museum.

We started off looking through their Art and Nature Center which was particularly inspiring for Nancy Lippe, the coordinator of The Umbrella's Art and Environment program: Musketaquid.  In the exhibit we saw what thousands of acorns strung together looked like, watched a video of a tree drawing, and got to play a wooden xylophone.  Needless to say, we walked away with plenty of ideas for our own Mustketaquid events.

Next, and perhaps most importantly for the staff of a community art center, we made our way towards the Maker Lounge.  This new space is "dedicated to creativity and innovation through hands-on exploration with technology, materials and ideas" and is part of a current wave in museums to become more hands-on and interactive.  For a good hour, the entire staff sat down to dig out materials figure out what they could be turned into using nothing but tape.  From monsters to trees to slingshots, we managed to create some interesting pieces. It felt like all of us got to spend the day in Grandfather's Workshop, making things that we never even knew we knew how to do!

Once we had made art for ourselves, we took a stroll through the beautiful Alexander Calder exhibit which traces his evolution as an artist from the beginnings of his abstract work through his iconic outdoor pieces.  For people who work in the arts, this was an important reminder to take time to absorb art instead of just creating it.  

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