Family Art and Butterfield's Horses at Meijer Gardens

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Feb 13, 2012 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Horses made of bronzed casts of wood, discarded objects? You've just found the art of one of my very favorite sculptors, Deborah Butterfield. And, if you're anywhere NEAR Grand Rapids, Michigan in the next few months, I'd suggest a stop at Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, where Essence: The Horses of Deborah Butterfield is in full swing.

 

Cabin Creek, Deborah Butterfield

Cabin Creek, Deborah Butterfield (taken in the summer)

 

Essence: The horses of Deborah Butterfield

 

 

If you've got kids, head there next weekend for the last Family Art Activities is on (11am-1pm). It's a great collaboration between Meijer Gardens and art students from Grand Valley State University.  We learned about the sculptures of Deborah Butterfield, and could choose to participate in five different art activities (and create projects!).

I spoke with Dr. Katalin Zaszlavik, Associate Professor of Art and Design at GVSU, about her students and their interests. I was fascinated by this glimpse into art education, and how making art accessible to kids changes lives.

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

 

While Lillie and I were creating art, I also spoke with several of the art education students running the Family Art Activities. I was impressed by their love of art, and their commitment to sharing it with students. For each of them, the seeds of art education had been planted by wonderful art teachers in school. They were committed to pursuing art and art education - and for some, pursuing additional degrees to do so.  Each student we worked with was extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and very kid-friendly. Can I say again that I was impressed?

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

 

We sat and created horse sculptures from found objects,  and from clay. Lillie sketched her favorite Butterfield horse. She drew something to place on the collaborative art horse (Mo Willems' pigeon), and tore paper to make something new from old. We carted home 5 horses, in total - two clay sculptures, two found object sculptures, and a beautiful sketch that had been enhanced by all kinds of paper decoration.

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

 

Lillie (9) said, "It was awesome. I loved it! My favorite parts were the found objects, and the clay. I also liked sketching from Butterfield's horse!  It was really fun for all ages, and I loved it."

The classroom was filled with kids of all nationalities, and abilities. Some kids chose to build and play, while others focused intently on their creations. Mostly, I was inspired by the art and the joyfulness of sharing art. Thank you, GVSU and Meijer Gardens, for such an extraordinary outing!

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

Meijer Gardens Family Art Activities

 

 

 

For more information on the Deborah Butterfield Exhibit, the Family Art Activities, and to head to Meijer Gardens yourself, please see:

http://www.meijergardens.org/calendar/event.php?id=1049

 

 

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