Studio in the Park
Aug 11 2015
With Matthew Jensen’s residency coming to a close this weekend, I wanted to highlight a couple of activities at the museum that his Studio in the Park project has inspired.
Jennifer Oppito-Candiano, an art therapist and ArtAccess coordinator at the Queens Museum, spoke to me about a project she recently did with the Museum Explorers Club-a group of families affected by autism who meet monthly to engage with the QM’s exhibitions and programs. Wanting to incorporate both Matt’s project and the Playground for All Children in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Jenn led the group on a nature walk from the Unisphere to the playground and encouraged families to look out for objects they thought were beautiful that they could use to make a sculpture. Using Matt’s cabinet-of-curiosities-like studio as the site of inspiration, she asked the group: If you were to collect things, what would be interesting to you? What would you want to hold onto to remember your walk? How would you put the objects together?
Kids in the group immediately understood the appeal of the pop-up artist’s studio in a park, that the artist "could go outside faster and explore more.” The Playground for All Children is a particularly exciting place for the Museum Explorers Club because of its accessibility to kids of multiple ages and levels of ability, and because it is the future site of the World’s Park Community’s sensory learning programs, created in partnership with the Queens Museum. Understanding the possibilities of this outdoor sensory space, Jenn asked the Museum Explorers Club members to build sculptures with their collected objects in spaces that spoke to them. See some of the results below.
Parkgoers and studio visitors have also been integral in helping the public engage with the objects collected in Matt’s studio. During open studio hours, visitors have spent time with the objects—looking at them in the sunlight, touching them, discussing them with family and friends—and created wild, fascinating backstories for these confounding pieces of trash and treasure. We asked visitors to draw and name an object of their choosing answer some questions about its life: what is it used for? Why is it important? The responses, some of which you can see here, have given life to the mysterious, Cosmic Objects found throughout Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the borough of Queens, and the larger landscape of New York City.
Matt celebrates the culmination of his project, A Collection of Walks (or How to Get to the Earth), this Saturday afternoon with a storytelling, object-sharing, open studio cookout! Join us in contributing to the growing legends of the Cosmic Objects, enjoy some food, and peruse Matt’s cabinet of cosmic curiosities before the Studio in the Park closes for the summer.