It was a busy weekend — Saturday was MASS MoCA’s FREE DAY, which was a great success even in spite of some blustery weather. And Sunday was the Lunar New Year, so we’ve been offering some community and art-making projects to welcome in the Year of the Water Snake. First, we saluted the thousands of hands that contributed to Xu Bing‘s huge phoenixes by asking visitors to add to a community mural. Everyone wrote thoughts and messages on Post-It Notes, and stuck them to a huge outline of a phoenix affixed to the wall. Having so many colored bits of paper made the phoenix’s “feathers” especially beautiful.
Right nearby, folks were observing the tradition of passing on a little luck for the new year — but this project had a twist! Traditionally, parents slip money into red envelopes to give to their children on Lunar New Year. But we asked visitors to create their own symbols or messages of good luck, put them in a red envelope (along with a penny), and give them to someone they had never met before. It was another way to bring this wonderful community together.
Meanwhile, up in Kidspace, families were making dragon puppets out of cups. We also suggested using red tissue paper to represent fire, so when you blew into the cup, your dragon would breathe bright flames!
Our most recent celebration for the New Year was with our outstanding new group of after-school students. Their whole after-school program will be focusing on traditions and artwork found in Chinese culture, so they’ll be able to delve deep into some of the mythology and practices surrounding Lunar New Year. On their first meeting, they chatted about (and sampled!) tea and longevity noodles — a traditional dish eaten on this holiday. They learned that long noodles signify a long and prosperous life. They also made adorable paper lanterns to illuminate these winter nights.
All of us at Kidspace wish everyone a very Happy New Year!