Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More Children's Mono Prints!

On Monday, I told you about the wonderful Children and Teens Print Exhibition Please Touch Museum is part of for the 2010 Philagrafika Festival. The project is part of Prints Link Philadelphia, which is a coalition of community arts organizations, art centers, museums, teaching artists, and pre-k through higher education art educators who are interested in promoting printmaking for children and teens in the Philadelphia region. We here at Please Touch Museum are thrilled to be a part of a project that truly appreciates the educational value and celebrates the unique creativity of children's art.

Take a peek at today's featured mono prints made by some of Please Touch Museum's very talented young visitors and artists! And be sure to check back here on Friday for the final batch of mono prints.

Ashley uses a rainbow of colors to create an interesting pattern.

Brent, Age 5, creates patches of color using foam brushes.

Caitlin, Age 7, uses a varied set of tools to create angular patterns.

Charlotte, Age 2, enjoys mono printing as a sensory experience.

David, Age 8, depicts a smiling face in his mono print.

Jackson, Age 5, uses patterned rollers, his own hands, and stampers to create a layered look.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Our Young Visitors Made Art for Philagrafika!

Last month, our young visitors had a chance to create "Mono Prints" in the Program Room. Mono Prints introduced our visitors to printmaking and encouraged experimentation in art. Selected artwork from our visitors is now exhibited at the Free Library of Philadelphia (1901 Vine Street) through March 12, in the Children and Teens Print Exhibition, part of Philagrafika 2010, a city-wide international festival celebrating print in contemporary art.

Throughout this week, we'll be featuring our young artists and their work right here on the blog! We thank our young artists again for their willingness to engage in our Mono Print-making activity and for sharing their masterpieces with all of you! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Abigail, Age 2, leaves a personalized impression in print.

Aden uses scrubby brushes to create circular formed patterns.

Aissata, Age 5, chose to layer prints using a bright pink contrasted with a deep blue.

Alex, Age 3, aptly titled his work Sea + Sky as we can see movement in his print.

Alexandra, Age 4, reveals a multi-layered print technique with use of spontaneous lines.

Arya, Age 9, has a strong use of bold lines in her composition.

Ashley, Age 3, creates a print that is fun and full of life.

There will be a public opening reception for the Children and Teens Print Exhibition on Sunday, February 28 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Refreshments will be served. All are welcome to attend!

The exhibit will include artwork from children and teens ages Pre-K to 12th Grade. This is a nice opportunity to meet Please Touch Museum visitors whose artwork has been chosen as well as other young artists in the Philadelphia area. I hope you can swing by the Library to see it!

Hide and Seek of the Week

This week's Collections object is a Centennial Goblet! This glass goblet was produced by Gillinder Glass Factory in Philadelphia during the 1876 Centennial Exhibition and could be purchased as a souvenir. It features the raised image of the Liberty Bell!

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about Hide and Seek of the Week, click here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week

This week's Collections object is The Smart Safari Piano Pal Hippo! This musical hippopotamus, invites even the youngest musicians to tickle the ivories, or in this case his teeth. With two different levels of play, kids can learn the 8 notes of the C-major scale or enjoy familiar children's songs by simply pushing one of his teeth. To add to the fun, Piano Pal Hippo comes with a songbook to teach kids how to play simple songs.

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about Hide and Seek of the Week, click here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This weekend: Arpeggio teaches kid-friendly Jazz!

The Junior Jazz Festival continues this weekend with loads of kid-friendly, interactive jazz performances! Read on for more details from Francis Coates, Music Coordinator at Please Touch Museum.

Pinky: Who is performing this weekend and what's their background?
Francis: This weekend's performer is no stranger to Please Touch Museum. Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble has been entertaining and educating the children of Philadelphia on Jazz for many years now. Warren Oree, the band leader, is a very accomplished musician. The group performs all over the country and all over the world. You can hear the influence of the different cultures and regions they have visited in the music they perform.

Pinky: How is the band adapting their music so it is kid-friendly and fun for the whole family?
Francis: The wonderful thing about Arpeggio is that they don't perform jazz standards. Most of the music performed is original music and is very positive and uplifting. A few featured selections from Arpeggio's Man Bites Dog album are "Joy Song" and "Better Than B-4," which are all super positive and kid-friendly, making them highly enjoyable for the entire family.

Pinky: How will kids be able to engage in the performances?
Francis: It all starts with movement. One of the things we all like to do when we hear good music whether it is Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, or Country is to clap our hands, tap our feet, or just get up and dance! Children and parents are encouraged to enjoy themselves during the performance by dancing in their seat, or in the designated dance areas in the theater. Music is for everyone to enjoy and Jazz is no exception. Also, Arpeggio really likes picking volunteers from the audience to come on stage and play different instruments so be prepared to have a short solo.

Pinky: How fun! I'd love to jam with Arpeggio! So how else are the performances interactive and educational?
Francis: Arpeggio does a great job of explaining basic concepts of jazz during the performance in ways that both children and adults can understand and retain. One of the ways Arpeggio starts their performances is by creating a new song right on stage. The audience is included in this process by either playing instruments distributed by the band, or clapping to a certain rhythm. This reinforces one of the main concepts of Jazz music, which is improvisation, and being able to create music right on the spot.

For more details about this weekend's and all other Jr. Jazz performances, click here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

President's Day Weekend: Jazz, Clifford & lots of Art!

It was a fun-filled family-friendly President's Day Weekend here at Please Touch Museum!

Please Touch Museum is a first museum experience for many of our visitors. The children may have seen their first theater show, watched their first live music performance, celebrated an author’s birthday for the first time or experienced a diverse set of art materials for the first time during this past weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, Louie Miranda and Friends jazzed it up in the Please Touch Playhouse Theater with the help of 8 year old percussionist, Antoine. Kids not only had a chance to listen and dance to music, but could also join Louie’s Band, fueling future creativity. Louie always encourages parent participation in his shows making the shows family oriented, and memorable.

In addition, many visitors could be seen dancing along to the Northeastern University Concert Band with over 40 college musicians in Hamilton Hall. College students took the time before their performance to connect with visitors and show them how each instrument worked.

On President's Day, we celebrated author Norman Bridwell's Birthday, creator of the Clifford books. The Clifford series features a young girl named Emily Elizabeth and Clifford the Big Red Dog. Kids were ecstatic to meet their favorite big red dog in person at the museum. Character appearances gave children the chance to see the Clifford books come to life.

Young visitors also had the chance to connect literacy with art in the Program Room with Kid’s Best Friend: Drawing with Silky Sticks activity. We encouraged kids to tell us about their best friends, and illustrate them with our fun silky sticks. A silky stick is a versatile material that can be turned up like a glue stick; it is great because it can be used as a crayon when drawing on paper, an oil pastel when rubbed with your fingers, or a watercolor when painted on with some water. It all depends on how our visitors chose to mix the colors. By describing their friends the children practiced their language skills, and by drawing them they also practiced memory recall. Some friends even visited the museum together and got to draw each other!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week

This week's Collections object is the Fisher Price Music Box Record Player! Introduced in 1971, this pint sized phonograph allowed young music lovers to play records just like their grown-ups. This wind-up record player came with 5 brightly colored double sized records that played childhood favorites like "London bridge" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!"

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about Hide and Seek of the Week, click here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Scat Cat's Junior Jazz Jamboree" on stage now!

As you know, the 18th Annual Junior Jazz Festival is in full swing here at Please Touch Museum!

Now through February 26, kids will also learn a bit of jazz history by taking in a Please Touch Playhouse performance of "Scat Cat's Junior Jazz Jamboree." Performances are Mondays- Fridays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the Playhouse and are FREE with museum admission. I sat down with Alice Gonglewski, Creative Dramatics Manager at Please Touch, who told me all about this hip interactive show.

Pinky: What's this show about, Alice?
Alice: Scat Cat's Junior Jazz Jamboree is about an ordinary alley cat who meets a new friend, a roach named Max. Max Roach is a drummer and he teaches the cat all about a special kind of music: Jazz!

Pinky: How does this show tie into our Junior Jazz Festival and programming?
Alice: The Junior Jazz Festival strives to celebrate this expressive musical form by making it accessible to young children. Jazz nurtures experimentation and creativity, which is what learning through play is all about! The Scat Cat show explains in simple terms what Jazz is and where it came from. It also introduces children to many famous Jazz personalities in a kid-friendly way. For example, the Jazz club scene features Bunny Goodman and Piggy Lee among others. Several programs throughout the museum from Storyyimes to Art Activities to Music Playtimes will explore Jazz from a variety of angles and allow for a rich and multifaceted experience for children.

Pinky: What themes or 'lessons' can children (and adults, too!) take away from this performance?
Alice: We hope our visitors will experience delight in and pride for the unique American invention that is Jazz music. The show plants the seeds for recognition of some historical figures that helped make Jazz great, and it lets kids and families know that this music belongs to them-- everyone is welcome to play along!

Pinky: After kids see the show, how can they create a music-related “show” at home with/for their family?
Alice: The interactive segments in the show encourage kids to sing and play through call and response segments, scat singing, and instrument pantomime. Families can easily continue this type of play outside the museum. In the past, children often come out of the show singing the chorus from the final number. We suggest that everyone keep singing on the way home! Try creating your own Jazz Karaoke night or radio show. While costumes, puppets and face paint are fun and encouraged they are optional-- all you really need is your imagination!

Download a Scat Cat Activity Flyer here! For more info about the Junior Jazz Festival, click here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

18th Annual Junior Jazz Festival

Hey all you hip cats!

Now through February 28, the 18th Annual Junior Jazz Festival will turn Memorial Hall into the biggest and hippest jazz club around! I sat down with Francis Coates, Music Coordinator at Please Touch Museum, who told me all about what goes into the planning of the festival and the educational value of musical expression.

Pinky: What's the Junior Jazz Festival all about, Francis?
Francis: The Junior Jazz Festival celebrates one of the most unique genres of music performed today-- JAZZ! Everyone at Please Touch Museum believes in celebrating all genres of music and since jazz incorporates other genres like 19th and 20th century classical, Latin, and even Country, it's a great starting point for children.

Pinky: Why does the museum celebrate music and jazz every year? Why is music important to children and their development?
Francis: At Please Touch Museum, we believe in celebrating music because it transcends language and age. No matter where you come from or how old you are, everyone can enjoy a great piano or guitar solo! Jazz is very special to the city of Philadelphia, too. A lot of jazz greats come from this city, including Ethel Waters, Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane. Jazz incorporates improvisation, which allows the performer to explore his/her instrument and create whatever sound they like. We're are all about improvisation and independent exploration of the creative arts here at Please Touch, so why not celebrate it every year?!

Pinky: What kind of special daily programming and performances are scheduled in celebration of Junior Jazz?
Francis: We will have live jazz piano and xylophone performances weekdays. We will also have our "PTM Jazz Club" program which allows children to play different instruments like the trumpet, piano, and drum set. It is very important for our young visitors to not only hear people perform on these instruments, but for them to explore the instruments themselves. On weekends, a wide variety of great jazz artists will take the Playhouse stage for interactive jazz performances that kids and grown-ups will surely be swingin' to!

Pinky: After they visit, how can parents incorporate jazz into their homes for their kids?
Francis: There are several simple ways to incorporate jazz into your daily life. The first is adding it to your play list while driving home from work or school! There are also several jazz for books and CDs suited for children that are available in our Kids Store, so swing by when you get a chance. You can also check your local community center and jazz club for family-friendly jazz events and programs.

To see the full line-up of Junior Jazz performances, click here and stay tuned for a post later this week about all the special Junior Jazz Festival performances coming up!

Hide and Seek of the Week

This week's Collections object is the Hercules Jazz Band!

This stamped tin "one man band" was manufactured by J. Chien and Co. in New Jersey, during the early part of the twentieth century. Our well-loved version of the Hercules Jazz Band includes a large bass drum with foot pedal, snare drum and cymbal. It originally had two additional cymbals, a triangle and cowbell!

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about Hide and Seek of the Week, click here.

We're all about learning through play.

Join Pinky, one of Please Touch Museum's resident puppets, on an inside look into all the fun, educational things happening at Philly's Children's Museum. This blog is not just about what we do at the museum, but about the educational philosophy behind why we do what we do.