Kids “Toy” with Mixed Media on WACky Family Fun Day
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Westport News)
Westport, CT – The scene at Westport Arts Center Sunday afternoon was certainly wacky as dozens of kids put their imaginations to work creating toy-themed artwork.
The Center’s WACky Family Fun Day, held four times a year, offered four craft activities that aligned with the site’s current “Toy Stories” exhibit, which runs through March 18. The series is sponsored by local retailer Melissa & Doug, which offered a Play Zone for tots.
A highlight of the day’s program was the recognition of the six winners of a call for toy designs. In all, 166 designs were submitted by local children, and judged by Melissa and Doug Bernstein. There were first, second and third place awards in each of two categories: ages 6 to 9, and ages 10 to 14.
“The winning entries will be replicated as plush toys,” explained Danielle Ogden, Director of Education. “The winners also get a one-hour tour and meet with the toy designers at Melissa & Doug headquarters.”
With regard to craft activities, one offering, “Funky Faced Robots”, was led by Teaching Artist Evan Neidich. “Kids use found objects to make their robots, repurposing materials that would otherwise be thrown away,” she said.
A table over, Artist and Art Teacher Martha Bloom guided kids on “Calder Inspired” creations. “Alexander Calder was famous for his “Circus” of simple found wire and cork characters,” she said. “In the Circus spirit, kids are creating their own animals and performers from pipe cleaners, corks, wire and scraps.”
Further down the line, Teaching Artist Nell Bernegger showed children how to make mosaics, using small boards as a base, on which geometric shapes and designs were drawn and colorful foam cubes affixed.
A particularly silly activity was “Animation Puppets”, wherein Teaching Artist Angela Stempel guided kids on piecing together limbs, faces and objects from magazines and assembling them into figures with pushpins and wires.