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Creativity links subjects

Magic City Discovery Center’s Keller explains importance of art

At an inventor's camp, a young inventor uses paper towel tubes, cardboard and painter's tape to make her own device.

The Magic City Discovery Center has big plans for bringing even more art to its new building.

Wendy Keller, the interim executive director, said that they started with the acronym STEAM, meaning Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. “Research says that the arts are so important in connecting math, connecting to science,” she explained. “Math has patterns, science has patterns. Art is patterns.”

One of their early childhood experts, who is also a design team member, described to Keller how children see rainbows as art before they see any of the mathematic or scientific aspects of it. The angle of the arc, how it relates to geometry and the prismatic colors aren’t recognized until they begin picking it apart by individual disciplines of math and science later on in their education. Kids don’t automatically know that rainbows are formed by light passing through droplets of water after it rains.

Pattern Place is one of the new sections, where kids can experiment with patterns and colors. The Community Quilt area is a large digital screen with several squares that show “selfies” the children took. The images switch to give the young artists a chance to see their own faces on the screen. A Digital Playground will include using light and digital tools to create their own masterpieces.

Keller said she may plan some watercolor camps to give kids a chance to paint along with the member running it. Another art camp idea she mentioned was bringing in an artist and having the kids pick apart a piece made by the guest artist. Two of the main factors they would look for are what the artist is about and how the piece was created.

Learning about some of the classics can help some children build a foundation and help them understand the aspects of art. Oil paintings made by Vincent van Gogh were made mainly from his emotions and what he was feeling while working on them. One of his most famous oil paintings is “Starry Night,” which was painted from memory and he made the swirling clouds in the sky to give insight on his emotional state of mind.

Pablo Picasso, who created Cubism alongside Georges Braque and took part in many other art movements, is one of the most influential artists. There’s no doubt that he’s an important figure, especially because he could pick out the essential building blocks of something and turn it into a colorful abstract piece.

Despite the importance of the classics and what they teach, some children and teens may not be able to relate to it or have any interest in, therefore possibly losing interest in art altogether. Keller said she could explore some other options, like having the kids who attend the watercolor camps paint a cartoon character. For some of the older children, she may have them experiment with the graffiti or street art style.

Bringing modern or contemporary artists, characters and aspects into art can help capture young artists’ interest and inspire them to continue creating. Some children may like drawing in a cartoon, comic or anime style. Some may enjoy the realistic drawings.

As things change and new generations enter the amazing world of art, things in the education of art may need to change to give the students something they can relate and connect to. Without something to truly connect to, they may not continue as an artist.

Their new 20,000 square foot museum is planned to be built on North Hill next to the Sertoma Softball Field. The Discovery Center board has come to an agreement with the Minot Park District to build it on their property, allowing them to have a wonderful view of the valley. Another part of the agreement is that the park district will lease the building to the Discovery Center for only $1 a year, just like they do with Scandinavian Heritage Park.

As of April 7, the office for the MCDC was still in one of the basement spaces under Town & Country Credit Union, but Keller said they are still planning on breaking ground for the new building.

During the winter months, they were using space at the Dakota Territory Air Museum to do their activities and events. The interim space is closed for the season, but they invite everyone to visit their permanent establishment once it is finished.

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