Sunday, April 28 was the first time that the Nasher Sculpture Center had closed its doors for a special event for entire day. Initial reports indicates that it won’t be the last. . . at least for this once-a-year event.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Decades ago, some of the ladies who today are respected leaders of the community and symbols of always doing the right thing, learned to love Neiman Marcus thanks to the forward-thinking Stanley Marcus.
He realized that building relationships started about two seconds after the umbilical cord was cut. To do the bonding as quickly as possible, he and the Godmother of NM Cuisine Helen Corbitt made the downtown Zodiac Room the place to celebrate munchkin birthdays. Little girls would don their prettiest party dresses and even white gloves to sip chicken broth from demitasses, dine on Little Hens and desserts like the Little Princess (porcelain torsos with skirts of cake, ice cream and meringue) and Flower Pot (little baked Alaskas). One woman recalled her mother teaching her the phone number for the flagship before the family phone number.
Perhaps it was this cradle relationship building that inspired the Nasher folks to invent the Great Create for 500 kids and grownups, adding their own twist. Instead of couture dresses, they hoped to ease children into getting friendly with the various arts. How did they do it? No, there was no sitting in chairs listening to some art critic drone on. No, there was no tour of sculptures with a gray-haired doyenne talking way over their heads.
But how did the Nasher team transport an educational opportunity into more fun than an amusement park? They had some strictly amazing and patient artists show the kids how art takes place; then they got them to create it themselves. Don’t tell anyone, but the artists became kids themselves.
Sculptor Brad Oldham and wife Christy Coltrin had the kids help shape, add texture and sign their names to a bigger-than-life-size sculpture of their pooch, Pete. Unfortunately, due to the “No Pets” rule at the Nasher, Pete had to stay home. After the event the sculpture’s progress will be posted on Brad’s blog and eventually tuned into a bronze sculpture.
Artist Diana Al-Hadid was making all types of clothes for kids, like the skirt for one wee gal by stapling paper plates together.
Other artists included Kyle Hobratschk (printmaking), Marianne Newsom and Sunny Sliger (streaming), Jason Meadows (mail art), John Holt Smith (spin-art oculi), Annette Lawrence (texture plates), Allison V. Smith (digital photography), Ry Rocklen (scale museum) and Lizzy Wetzel (felt flowers).
Nasher Director of External Affairs Jill Magnuson said, “I really think there are some future artists here. I think this type of event can have an impact on the lives of children.”
Even the parents like Tom Hoitsma, Kimberly and Justin Whitman with son J.R., and Rob Sumner got caught up in the fun of the afternoon. Recently divorced arts couple Jacqueline Buckingham Anderson and Max Anderson were there supporting the event and their kids.
The Nasher garden with its water features, sculptures and tree-shaded lawn was magical, with characters decked out in layers of multi-colored ribbons of paper, walls of wire netting just asking to be decorated with the paper and the stations of interactive art projects.
There seemed to be only two speeds — stopping in your tracks to learn how art takes place or doing cartwheels on the lawn.
As for the musical entertainment, it was a pint-sized Beatles group, Run for Your Life, that blew all ages away. In addition to looking too cute for words, they knew how to handle instruments like the best of them. Perhaps they were trying to impress Co-chair/DJ Lucy Wrubel who, along with husband Steve and daughter Stella and Co-chairs Megan and Brady Wood with their kiddos Honor and Wheeler, were entertainment themselves. No need. The co-chairs were the ones who suggested the band.
According to Lucy, the day was so successful, they’re already in talks for next year. Well, yeah! The funds raised go to the Nasher’s education programs. Their goal this year was $50K but, before the doors even opened, they had hit the $80K mark.
They’re already talking about having an encore performance next year. If you don’t have a kiddo, find one. This is an event that is a must for kids of all ages.