'Changemaker' art installation at Cap Times Idea Fest

I was honored to be selected as Cap Times Idea Fest this year. They wanted a more interactive art piece that their guests could participate in. Their theme was 'Reach for a Better State.'


Chris Murphy, managing editor of Cap Times, shares: "A number of big-name political figures are in the lineup of speakers this year, including Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro and his twin brother, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas; U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh; Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez; and former U.S. Rep. Scott Klug, R-Madison."


"Other well-known panelists and speakers include New York Times best-selling fiction author Chloe Benjamin, columnist and podcast host Ana Marie Cox, Epic CEO Judy Faulkner, Washington Post associate editor David Maraniss and other reporters from both The New York Times and The Washington Post."


This is Cap Times third year hosting this event. The weekend included 90 speakers and moderators in nearly 40 panel discussions, one-on-one interviews and other sessions on UW-Madison’s campus.


Considering the theme of 'Reach a Better State,' I created 'Changemaker.' Below is the statement that I wrote for the piece.


“We all have the power to change. Change ourselves. Change the world around us. Everywhere you look there are opportunities to make change by engaging with your community Get in touch with what you and your community care about, collaborate with others, ask big questions, and explore ideas. We are all tied together, and we can be change makers.”


Considering the idea of people as change makers, this project invites participants to write their for change, or a wish for a better state, on one side of a wood circle (reminiscent of change coins). The other side will be spray painted the branding colors of the festival. After writing, they will be invited to place the ideas on a Plexiglass sheet.


Over time, as the piece builds, one side will display all of these various ideas, and the other will create a mosaic of colors, as the circles come together. Both sides will be beautiful in their own regard."


Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the event opening due to a surgery, but Art Lit Lab colleague and friend Genia Daniels stepped in to facilitate the project. I am so thankful for her!



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Prolific first day at Watercolor Foundations!

What a wonderful summer at Arts and Literature Laboratory!


I feel so fortunate for this opportunity. It's just that - not a job, an opportunity. To be with kids, to teach them and guide them, to learn from them. Together we played games, met new friends, and built not only incredible art projects, we built incredible memories. (I wish I had this when I was a kid!)


There are too many moments to share, but here are some of my favorites -


A literal "AHHH!" when we learned about color theory, using colored cellophane on lanterns in a gallery room where we had turned out the lights. The blue on top of the red, the red on top of the yellow - we learned that colors are MAGIC. (Then, of course, ending the week by mixing colors to frost our own cupcakes.)


A seven year old exclaiming "LOOK AT THE DOTS!" when we looked at the work of Georges Seurat's 'A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.'


Our teen leader taking the reins to teach composition and perspective to the class.


The ideas brought forth in costumes/masks/fashion design class - the kids designed the class and we executed ALL of their ideas: sewing capes, making vests and skirts, making pillows, learning cross-stitch to add detail, tie dye, mask making, and an all out fashion show to boot!


Comic book class, where we had challenges to make as many different eyes, mouths, and noses as possible. We talked about how different feelings make different expressions. What do we look like when we're surprised, happy, sad, or scared? Do we ever feel that way ourselves?


Creative Gamers class, when we learned and played Spoons, Go Fish, Chess, Sorry, Clue, and more. Kids designed their own games with boards, clay pieces for markers, clay dice, and cards, and then we played those!



Making paper in Paper Art and Sculptures

What I don't share with the kids is that, among all the fun, we are learning -a lot-. With each class, we learn and practice new mediums, we understand artists and connect them to our lives, and the kids learn the language of art and design. At the end of each week, we have a group share, where we talk about our work. The kids compliment and honor each other's work. And it will never get old to hear a child about another child share how movement leads to the center of interest.


This is what we do in our classes. This is a gift every time.





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© 2013-2020 by Mallory Shotwell  

Interdisciplinary artist, art teacher, and curator    Grand Rapids, Michigan

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