Sunday, June 30, 2013

Addie the Artist

The St. Louis Art Museum was busy making preparations for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting to welcome visitors to the new East Building. June 29, 2013 was a beautiful, sunny day in Forest Park. The East parking lot in front of the museum was turned into a fair and exhibit space with exhibitors from cultural institutions, live music and food trucks.
Laumeier Sculpture Park was among the exhibitors offering visitors, and their kids, activities and information. Clara Coleman, the Laumeier’s Curator of Interpretation was on the spot early to set up a space that would prove popular with kids (and adults too). “Create your own sculpture,” came the challenge. Soon the booth was staffed with enthusiastic docent volunteers. Dana Turkovic, Curator of Exhibitions was on hand as traffic to the booth began to build and shared details of the PATCH curatorial program that is engaging poets, artist and fans.
The Laumeier space offered a limited array of materials for aspiring artists to take on the sculpture challenge: cardboard pieces, popsicle sticks, colored paper, clothing pattern paper, paper straws, and glue paste. Tools were limited to scissors, string and hole punches. The activity allowed for self taught lessons with enthusiastic support from staffers showing a natural affinity for any form of artistic expression.
Creations were left to dry as Clara carefully applied masking tape to avoid calamity with each gusty breeze. Kids and their parents could be overheard. Parents and guardians are testing the limits of coaching creativity as kids balance independence with occasional sense of helplessness. It is a journey of discovery. What makes an artist anyway? The question doesn’t have a short answer but may be exemplified in one young aspiring artist.

“My name. Its Addie,” offers one young artist as she comes back to the Laumeier booth to collect her masterpiece.

“You are a natural talent Addie,” offers a docent volunteer.

 “Well thanks. I write too. My mom says if I keep going, one day I could be published.”

“That is great Addie. Stay with it. You have the heart of an artist. I hope one day you might be a famous artist or writer and I will read about you.”

“That’s Addie. A-D-D-I-E. Addie McDowell.”

Addie McDowell cradled her sculpture, smiled and followed her mother into the crowd. 

Note: Photos above of Addie's contemporaries who visited the Laumeier Sculpture Park exhibit space that sunny Saturday to celebrate the opening of the St. Louis Art Museum East Building.


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