The University Record, May 21, 1996

Museum of Art invites youth to 'mimic the masters

Evan Loomis tries his hand at duplicating the colors used by the masters.

Photo by Bob Kalmbach

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

There aren't many art museums that will turn kids loose in their galleries with a bag of crayons. But the Museum of Art gives young visitors an opportunity to mimic the masters or create their own color schemes with crayons and specially prepared coloring sheets.

Museum staff member Thom Walsh has developed coloring sheets with outlines of works by Picasso, Tiffany, and Pissarro, among others. The sheets, a drawing board and a bag of crayons can be obtained at no cost at the Museum's information desk. Then the adventure begins.

You want to duplicate Picasso's 1934 oil on canvas "Two Girls Reading." Find it in the 20th Century Gallery on the Museum's second floor where you can also find a Japanese Theatrical Robe of silk embroidery and appliqué on cotton cloth or Milton Avery's 1951 oil on canvas "Hammock Reader." On the Museum's first floor you can find Dubois-Pillet's "Under the Lamp," Tiffany's "Peacock Mosaic" of iridescent glass and plaster, and Pissarro's 1876 oil on canvas "Young Girl Knitting."

Now, sit on one of the benches provided, or the floor, open the bag of crayons and get to work duplicating the colors used by the artists. Or, maybe you would rather fill the angular forms of Picasso's work with colors of your own choosing. Go ahead.

Walsh chose works from the Museum's permanent collection that he thought would be the most fun for kids and then reduced the original works to simplified line drawings ready for coloring.

"If they do want to copy the original work color for color," Walsh says, "they will learn something about color. And if they want to use their own choice of colors, they will still learn something about form and line."

There is no upper or lower age limit to who might ask for a board, coloring page and bag of crayons. The end result? Refrigerator masterpieces.

The Museum of Art is open 10 a.m.­5 p.m. Tuesday­Saturday, 10 a.m.­9 p.m. Thursday and 12­5 p.m. Sunday. From Memorial Day to Labor Day the Museum will open at 11 a.m. Tuesday­Saturday. It will maintain its usual Sun day and closing hours, but will be closed July 4. Admission to the Museum and its galleries is free.