Sometimes the process of sharing creative ideas comes full circle: an artist inspires a group of kids, who create something incredible, in turn inspiring someone else, which ties right back into the theme of that first piece of artwork. It’s a beautiful thing, how different concepts can weave together in unexpected ways.
That’s what happened to an Odyssey of the Mind team from Voorheesville, New York, two years ago. (For folks who don’t know, Odyssey of the Mind is an extracurricular education program in which young people are given imaginative or intellectual challenges, and many compete at the national or international level.) Team Leader Jean Mackay recalled when she brought her 8th grade team to MASS MoCA to expose them to how artists use materials creatively to solve a variety of technical and artistic challenges. They saw breathtaking exhibitions, like Material World and Color Forms II at Kidspace. The kids came away empowered, she told us.
And they went on to create something pretty extraordinary themselves. The group decided to invent a performance about bookworms who traveled through books to show how reading opens up a whole new world. The scenery for their show was a six-foot tall pop-up book, with each page a different location in the world. They sent us images of the Papua New Guinea and New York City pages. It took weeks to create, but their hard work was rewarded; the team took first place at the Finals Competition that year.
Jean Mackay and some of her Odyssey of the Mind Team members from that year came back to revisit MASS MoCA recently, and noticed Sadie and Ephraim Hatfield’s pop-up book we have on display in Kidspace now. The wonderful coincidence was compelling enough that they shared their story with our staff, and we in turn wanted to pass it along. It’s a very moving thing to watch artistry being nurtured, and we’re very proud to have been a small part of that process.
If you have any accounts of artistic inspiration, please share them in the comments below, or email us at Kidspace@massmoca.org. It would absolutely make our day.