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.
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.
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.
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"?)
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.
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.
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.
Tags: programs, family day