Getting Cray at the Crayola Experience

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My  sister Par and I

Last week, my sorority hosted its annual sisterhood retreat at the Crayola Experience in Easton – and things got pretty cray.

And by cray, I mean we all turned into five-year olds. When we walked in, we probably got some judgmental looks from parents and their kids. However, we were too distracted by the amazing aesthetics to notice or care.

The walls were adorned with so much color it felt like we were inside of a crayon box. It also smelled heavily like ice cream and candy. It was as if we were trapped inside a toddler’s favorite dream.

We were all given two tokens, which I used to make my own crayons. All I had to do was pick a color, and name it. Most people named their crayons after themselves, so I decided to do the same. A tear slid down my cheek as the machine told me, “Sorry, the word ‘Fanny’ is inappropriate. Please try again.” Kidding about the crying. But yes, this really happened!

Luckily, I thought of an alternative and named the crayon “Fannypack” instead. I asked the employees what I should name my second crayon, and they told me that most kids name their crayons after something they really love. So that’s what I did:

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Make-your-own-crayon station!

After that, I explored the entire building with my friends. There was so much to do on each floor: painting, puzzle-making, molding, and of course, coloring. There was even a room called “Doodle in the Dark”, where you could draw in a pitch-black room with glow-in-the-dark markers. I was the oldest person in the room, but the least creative. I saw kids turn abstract scribbles into complex shapes and characters. A child’s imagination really is something special and untouchable.

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Seen in the “Doodle in the Dark” room

The most amazing thing about the experience was that it was simple, but fun. All I needed to have a good time were crayons, my sisters, and some paper. When I look at children of the new generation, I always see them on a tablet or a phone. Their need to constantly be entertained by technology is sad and – honestly, a bit scary.

Fortunately, I saw children at the Crayola Experience play, interact, and color with each other. It put me at ease. It’s a relief that a pastime like coloring remains timeless.

By the end of the trip, my friends and I were feeling a bit nostalgic. The Crayola Experience reminded me of how much I love art. I remember going to the MoMa (Museum of Modern Art in New York City) every time they offered a student discount, and attending painting classes in Williamsburg with my sister.

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Just in case you’re curious, here’s a painting of mine.

 

After putting things in perspective, I made a wild discovery. My love for art all started when I picked up my first crayon and made my first ridiculous piece of “art”. I imagine that a lot of other people develop a fondness of things they are passionate about when they are very young too, which is why I would recommend parents bring their children to the Crayola Experience.

Coloring can also be therapeutic, so it is a great place to go if you need some easy relaxation. Between four o’clocks and papers, everyone deserves a break once in a while. It is definitely a lot cheaper and closer than Disney World, so I would recommend it to my fellow broke college students. It only cost fifteen dollars and a fifteen-minute drive. A small price to pay for a trip down memory lane and a colorful adventure, if you ask me. If you’re interested in visiting, you can learn more here.

If you know of any other fun places for someone like me who’s a kid at heart, please let me know in the comments!

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A Mid-March Visit to the Art Galleries by a Senior

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of finally stepping foot into Lehigh University Art Galleries. And after visiting, I have to say—as a second-semester senior, I only wish that I did it sooner.

I knew Zoellner Arts Center was the center of music, rehearsals, and official Lehigh-sponsored events, such as the 2012 Gala with Kristin Chenoweth, stunning Japanese dance and drums performance by TAO, and renowned poets like the Poet Laureate Billy Collins, yet every time I stepped foot into this architectural masterpiece, I forgot about the other dynamic artists hosted within. Paintings, photography, drawings, and sculptures tucked away yet ever present, still hallmarks of the Lehigh curatorial genius and culture on campus. While not “dynamic” in the common sense—not being outside or popularly conceptualized as so—these artworks are no less so than the dancing across the Mustard and Cheese stage. Those rooms hold a quiet vigor of their own, as two students and I discovered.

There has never been a time where I haven’t seen mentions of the Art Galleries in the University Announcements, a daily email upon whose arrival announced to students that they were up too late. In spite of its written prevalence and new series and events added each month, there seems to be an unfortunately low number of visitors. Finally, to complement my consumption of arts events produced by students, I convinced two others to explore what Lehigh’s staff had created in the Arts Galleries.

The walk was five minutes from my previous class, easily accessible, yet seemingly so far out of reach for most students, aside from rehearsals and the occasional Zoellner event. It turns out that the walk and self-guided tour itself were easy to do between classes, aka a perfect to-do for those awkward “forty-five minutes between class” moments. After signing in and paying nothing—it’s for free! Lehigh really does want you to experience the arts—we entered a comfortably lit room together. Rather than planning which pieces to view, we simply engaged in the spontaneous with the walls. Our steps were random, yet methodical. If a painting or photograph caught our eye, we simply walked towards it and studied it together, not particularly concerned with the artist’s name—there were too many after all—but more entranced by the details, strokes, and textures involved. At the more striking ones, we all tilted our heads, trying to make sense of them and observing, studying to see how we could replicate those motifs in our own non-art major work. While we did watch the movement of the works together, we each split off to explore on our own, occasionally catching up to each other wordlessly to admire what we saw in union and unison. Oil red flowers’ shading made real by slight shifts in pressure of the brush, the intricate cutting of colored outlines by a modernist, a traditional Japanese ink painting and a more modern one, made apparent by the roughness of the strokes. And many more, all breathtaking and ponderous, from a painting in the likeness of the Hudson River School and Picasso’s self-portrait to black and white photography interspersed amongst the colored glory.

None of us were art majors, yet we could all find some solace in the spacious rooms and frames along the wall. One friend had arrived late, his hair in tufts and circles etched visibly under his eyes. His posture read the Galleries as skeptical, yet by the end, he had entered his own world. We all had, and we were all less stressed, our shoulders lank and footsteps languid and unhurried, a stark contrast to our arrivals. We didn’t have much to say to each other after that as we had lingered in the Galleries for too long and a few minutes late to class, but it was clear that all of us had enjoyed the brief respite amongst the squares and rectangles along the wall, almost tripping over the sculptures on the ground in our daze to float to the next one. While we did not have the literature or vocabulary to conduct a full vocal investigation of the litany of tropes and themes present, we could mumble a “look at the positioning in this one,” “imagine the wrist of the artist creating this gesture drawing,” “these colors are so bold,” and “I didn’t know we had a Picasso! Was this painted in his transition between a child prodigy and burgeoning abstract artist?”

We admired the varied collection held by Lehigh, for we truly did not comprehend its diversity and scale, how a beautifully-curated gallery with inspirations across the globe was right here at school, with no need to visit Philadelphia or New York for its art museums there. Because we couldn’t chance the “…Of The Americas: Contemporary Latin American Art” and “Revisiting South Bethlehem: 150 Years of Photographygalleries, also mentioned in the announcements, due to class, we vowed to return again. In the meantime, we wondered about ways to increase the collections’ visibility to the student body—modern and Millennial-created flyers around Maginnes, Williams Hall, UC, and other hotspots in the university, mentioning the (im)possibility of a Picasso in our very midst—the differences between the experience with and without music, infusing our work with these inspirations, the current and potential value they have and could have for the South Side community, and when, exactly, we could return, not in between classes, to truly experience all that the Lehigh Art Galleries had to offer.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the Galleries, but inspired by the diverse art forms and strokes in the Art Galleries, I took the time to explore the significance of line, angle, texture, and pressure of pencil together in my own time. Every stroke is significant. Every stroke contributes. Every stroke is a foundational matter (and matters). (Instagram)

—Sunny Huang, Class of 2016

Linda Ganus Albulescu – Art Show in Easton

Most of us in the Music Department know Linda as the superhero of ensembles. In her utility belt, she deftly serves as ensemble program coordinator, designs graphics for concert promotions, coordinates instrumental scholarships, assists the orchestra, and plays flute. In her spare time (yes, she finds it), she’s a visual artist. Her work is exhibiting now in Easton, PA at the Nurture Nature Center; 519 Northampton Street. The center is open to the public on Saturdays and Wednesdays from 10:00am-1:00pm, and Thursdays from 6:00pm-9:00pm.

Don’t miss this chance to see Linda’s work.

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Horger Scholarship Awards announcement

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The faculty of the Department of Art, Architecture and Design recently awarded four Horger* Scholarships for outstanding performance in AAD.  AAD faculty established the following criteria for the Horger award in Art, Architecture and Design.

  • Awarded for dedication and excellence in studio art, architecture, design and art history
  • Recipients are faculty-nominated and faculty-awarded
  • Overall GPA was taken into consideration but was not a final determining factor

Heartiest Congratulations To:

Jaclyn Sands – Studio Art
Evan Orf – Architecture
Liz Phillips – Design
Lindsay Alexander – Art History

*  Theodore U. Horger (known as Ted) was truly a renaissance man. His grounding was in the sciences, having received his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering mechanics from Lehigh in 1961, a Masters in the same major from New York University in 1963, and after working at Bell Labs, the research arm of AT&T, followed by a two year stint in the Peace Corps in Chile, he had a life-long career with AT&T utilizing his engineering education and skills.  Notwithstanding his educational and work background in engineering, he was devoted to the arts in all of its forms—music, theatre, dance and visual arts.

Throughout his lifetime, Ted pursued his interests in performing and visual arts endeavors. Despite living in central NJ, Ted traveled regularly & was a “frequent flier” at Zoellner Arts Center since 1997, attending theatre and music productions as well as guest artists events, exhibition openings and gallery lectures.   During his retirement, he enrolled in classes at MoMA and NYU, further advancing his knowledge & passion for the arts.

The establishment of two permanent endowment funds from his estate: the Theodore U. Horger ’61 Visual & Performing Arts Scholarship Fund and the Theodore U. Horger ’61 Artist-in-Residence Fund in the Performing & Visual Arts is a most fitting and perpetual memorial of Ted’s love for Lehigh and the visual and performing arts.

Prints of Darkness: shadow cast impressions

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Artist’s Statement

The practice of engaging the shadow as the progenitor of form has directed my architectural scholarship and artistic investigations for over twenty years. The shadow is born of one thing yet reveals another as its transparent and immaterial essence animates the surface upon which it falls. It is this phenomenological quality of the shadow, once severed from the object that ignites my imagination and informs my creative process.

The work of this exhibition, “Prints of Darkness,” derives from a recent series of drawings, Tracing Time to Measure Space, in which I record the passage of time at three intervals—morning, noon and night—by sequentially tracing the shadow of an architectural object as it is constructed in one day’s time.   The object is then dismantled, releasing the shadow to exist as a singular composite drawing of individual moments frozen into a single image, a “shadow map,” from which new iterations of the shadow may be formed.  In this process, I use pencil on Mylar and purposely allow my hand to smear the graphite. Sections of the drawing are then erased to articulate highlights against the complex pencil wireframe. The resulting palimpsest retains the evidence of the process while revealing something new.

When anticipating my 2013-14 artist’s residency at the Experimental Printmaking Institute (EPI), I was concerned about how I might express the ephemeral effect of the graphite “smear” via the techniques of printmaking. With great insight, Professor Curlee Holton suggested that my focus should be with finding the “smear” that is inherent to the printmaking process, rather than seeking to replicate the effect of the smear. And so, in collaboration with Jase Clark, EPI Master Printer in Training, I began to conceive the potential of the printmaking process as a means of reflecting or re-casting my shadow drawings.

In this exhibition, the latent image of the shadow revealed in my drawings assumes new substance and form, translated through a variety of printmaking methods, including calligraphy, etching, silkscreen, viscosity, embossing, and laser cutting. Whereas my shadow drawings are projections of their objects, my prints became their inverse or reflection, shadow cast impressions—Prints of Darkness.

~ Anthony Viscardi

Art Professor Lucy Gans – Exhibit

lucy front 1Lucy Gans’ work explores the notion of self through repetition. All of her works are done as a series, many contain text but it is the relationship of one image to another along with a continuing narrative that primarily interests the artist. She uses her own face and body as a stand-in for all women, so they are not really “self” portraits. The subject of her work for the past seven years has been violence and injustices committed against women and girls. “I use drawing and printmaking as a way to negotiate my way through some of the irreconcilable differences I encounter in human behavior.”

Gans teaches visual art at Lehigh University were she currently holds the Weinstock Chair in Art and Architecture, and is also an affiliated faculty member in the Women Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. She earned her MFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY and her BFA from Lake Erie College, Painesville, OH. She studied at the Art Students League, New York, NY.

Lucy exhibit info

The exhibit in the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts rum August 30th through October 26, 2014. There will be an opening reception on Friday, September 12th from 5:30-7:30pm.