Museum visitors are used to rules. No flash photography. Use inside voices. Look, don’t touch. But at Kentucky Musem of Art and Craft’s new MakerSpace, touching is encouraged. The interactive stations are designed to connect patrons with the museum’s exhibits through a series of hands-on art experiences.
“It’s supposed to enhance the exploratory art experience for all of our visitors by having them use their different senses,” says coordinator of educational programming and public outreach Sarah McCartt-Jackson.
KMAC staff originally planned for MakerSpace to be a children’s activity area, but the popularity of public installations like Candy Chang’s “Before I Die” chalk walls (seen locally on the exterior of Speed Art Museum’s Local Speed satellite space on East Market Street ) shows that teens and adults are drawn to hands-on experiences, too.
“It has been eye-opening to see that adults are using the space as well,” says McCartt-Jackson. “They find the interactive portions just as exciting as the kids did, so that was a happy surprise.”
The stations are designed to relate directly to museum exhibits and will change as exhibits rotate in and out. One interactive element focuses on specialized tools – a natural fit for KMAC, where artists’ craft is front and center in the art.
“Right now we have architect tools because it corresponds to the Eero Saarinen exhibit,” says McCartt-Jackson. “So everybody can look at the different types of tools artists use and get a better idea of how you can make art beyond a paintbrush.”
(“Eero Saarinen: A Reputation for Innovation” is open through January 19.)
The tactile WonderWall allow visitors to create and display a 3-D collage on a vertical carpeted surface, while a chalk wall offers the space and tools for expressive drawing. Visitors can take art projects home or display them on the Masterpieces wall. A community craft corner offers a collaborative project – right now, it’s a yarn bomb chair – that once finished will be displayed in museum exhibit space.
MakerSpace is open to museum visitors now, though it’s still in its testing, or Beta, phase. Museum education staff will be on hand Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (715 W. Main St., KMAC is closed on New Year’s Day) to hear feedback on the interactive elements. New activities are still being installed, and the grand opening of the interactive area is scheduled for February 7.