Making Kaleidescopes in Fuller Park
Last Thursday I was finally able to make one of the Play Space workshops at Fuller Park, hosted by RedLine Denver Art Gallery! Through the help of a generous grant from The Colorado Health Foundation, RedLine Art Gallery continues to pioneer art and community engagement programming. We have attended some of their children's art courses in the past, like this photography course, and this literacy course, so I heard about their summer art Play Space series in the park from their e-newsletter. I know that art and creativity, expressing ideas in some individualistic way, is one thing I want to encourage and nurture with my girls. Remy requests painting, coloring or crafting, almost daily. I want to foster that as far as they will let me, and push myself to relax on controlling the messes to enable them to express themselves whenever they feel compelled. One goal for this year was to bring out the paint supplies at least once a week, and to put the markers, gulp, and the colored pencils out within reach and visibility for them. Luckily, pre-K will help cultivate these creative sparks in Remy this year, but seeking out free programs like this pop-up Play Space in my inbox did get me excited, especially coming from one of Denver's top art galleries.
Last Thursday, an artist guided the children in decorating homemade kaleidoscopes made from paper towel tubes. She had the body of the kaleidoscopes prepped and the decorations and art supplies available at a picnic table ready and accessible to anyone who wanted to join in! The Play Space is held at Fuller Park in the Whittier neighborhood of Denver, which has a dog park attached, and butts up to Manual High School, one of the oldest schools in Denver! Founded in 1894, Manual High School, along with East, South, West and North high schools were the original schools for secondary education in the Denver metro area. In fact, my Great Aunt graduated from Manual and was part of an alumni group, an extremely active participant in it as well, up until the last few years of her passing. Side bar, I actually attended Manual High School my freshman year because I attended Denver School of the Arts and back then, they did not yet have their own building! So being in this space, that park, staring at the back of that school brought back so many childhood memories of walking through that park and having lunch there. I looked up at those windows and remember my biology class and that corner part was where I had History of Colorado! I could visualize myself walking up and down those staircases and through those halls. It was a pretty memorable and special time of my youth, and I was happy to point that school out to the girls and share with them.
The girls were extremely interested in the playground, I have to say! Arlo was very fidgety and did not sit once at the picnic table. She is two, after all. There was never a need to apologize for the girls' wandering and drifting in and out of the art project, even though I did several times. Remy would dabble with the glue and sprinkle the beads into the end of her scope piece, then play on the park equipment, come back for a snack and then I'd find her drifting back to the merry-go-round with the other kids. Then, she would pop back over, finding a single yellow feather to adorn her scope. The artist, her assistants and volunteers from RedLine, were incredibly patient, understanding, and well versed on the attention span of toddlers! It was very open and free-form and truly just served as an exploration into art and craft, in an urban park environment.
While we drove in from Aurora to attend, the Play Space series in the Fuller and Argo parks, within the Five Points area of Denver, is geared towards engaging the community within that area. While we were never felt unwelcome or uninvited, we loved being able to participate in this free, all-inclusive art immersion experience of art, community and open space parks. Here is their mission statement of the project from the RedLine Denver site:
"Recognizing the importance of creative childhood play, a dearth of safe public spaces for some Five Points Neighborhood children, and a need for community activation of Denver Parks, RedLine’s Play Space project seeks to engage children and families through creative play. Through this project, RedLine aims to activate parks and playgrounds with community-driven, artist-led projects."
There are still a couple weeks left of the program if you are interested in popping over!
Thursdays at Fuller Park: 10:30AM-12PM, June 1st - September 7th AND Saturdays at Argo Park: 12:00PM-1:30PM, June 3rd - September 9th
After the girls had painted, glued and spruced up their kaleidoscopes, we were able to jostle them and hold them up to see all the gorgeous color and spontaneity happening in their handheld wonder tubes! Arlo's had more opaque pieces inside the plastic end piece, or something about the inner piece not being that reflective, so hers gives more of a focused, singular point of interest whereas Remy's was giving off a major show. I was having so much fun with it! I took some photos of her kaleidoscope innards, see below!
A very BIG, and gracious THANK YOU to RedLine Denver for this memorable morning! Oh, and thanks for letting us eat all your Goldfish, GoGurt and granola snacks! We had such a special family day with art being at the center of it. The park and the picnic we shared afterwards was icing on the cake!
Curious about how any of you share art with your kiddos, or is there something else of more importance that you make it a point to do with them... leave a comment!