Kids with their protest signs

Family Day 2017: Top 10 Highlights

In these turbulent times, the best medicine is witnessing young people in moments of creative freedom. I and my colleagues in the Academic Programs department experienced this for a blissful afternoon at the Hammer’s annual Family Day on August 19. Thanks to the ten brilliant artist-led workshops that explored topics including environmental sustainability, empathy, peaceful protesting, and the decolonization of museums, over 1,000 people across generations had the opportunity to explore what it means to be active and conscious citizens—and to learn the powerful role that art can play in civic engagement. These timely topics celebrated this year’s Family Day theme, "Art for Good." 

We hope you enjoy reading our list of top 10 workshop highlights as much as we enjoyed compiling it.

1. Tanya Aguiñiga: Display Your Manifesto

We discovered that one of our Art Without Walls regulars is also a member of Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), the organization that received every project made in Tanya’s Family Day workshop. Now hundreds of tea towels painted with humanitarian manifestos will deck the halls of HOLA.

Tanya Aguiñiga
Tanya Aguiñiga

2. Sarita Dougherty: Living Sculptures

The task of collecting hundreds of empty water bottles and THEN cutting holes in them was nearly Herculean—but we did it, and it was worth it. In the end, nearly 300 bottles were saved from going to landfills and were converted into little rosemary planters.

Girl with her living sculpture
Girl with her living sculpture

3. Jade Gordon: Sculpting People, Solving Problems

In this combination movement-and-theater workshop, a little girl circulated from stranger to stranger, arranging them into sculptural poses that represented her solution to police brutality. (Well, police brutality was my interpretation. Such was the beauty of this workshop—any interpretation was valid!).

4. Get Lit: Words Ignite – Poetry Power

We listened to brave, young people give voice to the voiceless through their poems.

5. Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle: Museum of Reimagining

Families made objects with the power to solve problems, from a device that sings to plants to help them grow to a magical tool that eliminates drought. 

Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle leading her workshop
Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle leading her workshop

6. Emily Mast: Common Ground, Collective Sounds

There was nothing better than seeing a kid chant "LOVE EACH OTHER" through a megaphone as he led a peaceful protest through the museum. (Or was it the girl with the sign that said, "Love me please"?)

Kids with their protest signs
Kids with their protest signs

7. Jennifer Moon: Empathy Superheroes

We passed by grown-ups and their kids wearing the superhero costumes they made for each other—the conclusion to a moving one-on-one discussion about empathy. 

Jennifer Moon working with kids
Jennifer Moon working with kids

8. Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs: Vocalizing is an act of protest!

Family Day attendees stopped in their tracks to listen to the collective harmonies being sung by Carolyn’s freedom chorus.

9. Devon Tsuno: Guardians of the River

A boy straight up climbed onto a table to complete the task of folding his GIANT, 3' x 3' origami fish. 

Devon Tsuno's workshop
Devon Tsuno's workshop

10. MuseumProv

MuseumProv, an improv group that led interactive performances in the galleries, couldn’t involve every eager volunteer. One girl was so disappointed that they staged an additional skit just for her. 

In addition to artist workshops, we offered spaces for families to unwind. Bugaboo transformed our Billy Wilder Theater lobby into a play space for toddlers that included a BALL PIT. Crayon Collection, an organization that donates gently used crayons to schools in need, offered a quiet space for families to write notes to future recipients of free crayon packs. 

If you ever need a good dose of hope, you can enjoy photos from the event below, scroll through our Family Day Storify, or check out the hundreds of family portraits taken at MVS Studio’s photo booth. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a new go-to tonic.

Bugaboo play space
Bugaboo play space
MVS Studio photo booth
MVS Studio photo booth
Love Swirls cotton candy
Love Swirls cotton candy

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Tags: programs, family day