UMOCA Art Truck 2014-2015: Meridith Pingree, tessellations, and a lot of pipe cleaners

Students study the shapes and patterns hidden within Pingree’s wall sculpture made of green zippers, and then share connections between what they see and patterns from their own day-to-day lives.

Students study the shapes and patterns hidden within Pingree’s wall sculpture made of green zippers, and then share connections between what they see and patterns from their own day-to-day lives.

 

As the Art Truck gears up for a brand new art exhibit and another year of visiting eager students and teachers across the Salt Lake Valley—and now even across the state of Utah!—it’s the perfect time to look back at the fabulous ongoing project created by Art Truck visitors over the past year.

 

Inspired by featured artist Meridith Pingree’s patterned sculptures and drawings that are both geometric and organic, visitors from ages five to 85 collaborated on a pattern of their own. Each person formed a single shape using a pipe cleaner, and then combined their shape with ones already on the wall to build a colorful, ever-changing spider web.

 

After just a few weeks, patches of color begin to stretch across the back wall of the Art Truck, echoing the bright shapes of Pingree’s Beaded Curtain.

 

Upon adding their pieces, visitors learned about tessellations, which are patterns of repeating identical polygons that have no overlaps or gaps (think of the hexagons that form a honeycomb design). In addition to art, tessellations are frequently used in science, technology and engineering, such as designing computer graphics to aid in research or building a structure that is both functional and beautiful. As in Pingree’s artwork, the idea of the tessellation pattern informed the structure of the Art Truck’s pipe cleaner collaboration, but the individuality of each shape brought out imperfections and variations.

 

Students brave the cold of mid-November to add their own unique contribution.

 

Seen here in early May, the Art Truck’s community sculpture becomes more and more three-dimensional as the school year approaches its end.

Seen here in early May, the Art Truck’s community sculpture becomes more and more three-dimensional as the school year approaches its end.

 

In the fall, spring and summer, the art outreach program visited 66 schools and public venues from Spanish Fork to Ogden and virtually every neighborhood in between. Over 13,000 K-12 students, parents, teachers  and festival-goers viewed Pingree’s artwork, chatted with our staff and volunteers, and participated in the community tessellation. That’s a lot of pipe cleaners!

 

By the end of the run of Pingree’s exhibit in July, the layers of fuzzy wires extended over 12 inches off the wall and completely obscured the white paint underneath.

By the end of the run of Pingree’s exhibit in July, the layers of fuzzy wires extended over 12 inches off the wall and completely obscured the white paint underneath.

 

To find out what Art Truck visitors will get to create next, for more information about the upcoming exhibition by Mary Toscano, and to view a schedule of public appearances visit utahmoca.org/art-truck. To schedule a visit at your school, contact Education Coordinator Elly Baldwin at elly.baldwin@utahmoca.org or 801-328-4201 x 124.

 

About the Art Truck
The only traveling educational art exhibit of its kind in Utah, the UMOCA Art Truck brings exciting and accessible contemporary art, created by leading local and national artists, directly to schools and community venues across the state. Each on-site visit by the Art Truck includes the expertise of a trained museum educator who leads students through a meaningful exploration of the current exhibition. Teachers are provided with structured lesson plans to supplement their tour and incorporate the Art Truck more deeply into their curriculum.

 

Please consider a donation to UMOCA and support educational outreach programs like the Art Truck, which encourages creativity, exploration, and accessibility.

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