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Finding fun in found objects

Art Museum of Southeast Texas to host free Family Arts Day

The Art Museum of Southeast Texas will host its winter Free Family Arts Day, Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is centered around AMSET’s current exhibition, “The Art of Found Objects: Enigma Variations,” which focuses on art made from random objects such as paper or buttons.

“It is designed in a way that allows parents to come out and enjoy the exhibition, and kids to come out and enjoy the family day with a hands-on related art experience,” Andy Gardner, museum curator of education outreach, said. “Family Day allows you to come in and get a unique experience so kids can become comfortable within the museum environment, and we hope this event plants a seed to art lovers of all ages.

“The hands-on art activities typically relate back to the exhibition which is all about found objects, so we’re basing our activities around found objects. It’s taking different objects that are everyday objects that you would normally throw away, then placing them and creating a piece of artwork — very similar to the way the artists have done in the exhibition, which is taking a normal object then reinventing and creating it to represent something else.”

Gardner said that among the activities offered will be creating a shadow box, a button collage, decorating Mardi Gras masks, face painting and live entertainment, along with complimentary cookies and punch and a concession stand serving ballpark-style food.

“The key thing about the family day and the hands-on art experience, they are fun but there is an educational component to each art activity,” he said. “Each one is going to require the kids to problem solve, space management, identify story lines — beginning, middle and ending — because that is needed for the piece to be completed.”

The pieces in the “Found Objects” exhibit include a chair made out of paper, a collage with everything from googly eyes to Juicy Fruit gum wrappers, and a large button collage, Gardner said.

“Artist have also taken pieces and made them mechanical, where you have to look deeper into them,” he said. “There are about 30 pieces, but each one has their own personality.”

The exhibit has a wide variety of pieces, Gardner said, but people tend to gravitate towards the chair and dress that are made of paper.

“When people find out what these pieces are made out of, it opens your eyes to a new way of seeing things,” he said. “There’s a piece for everybody to enjoy.”

Kara Timberlake, museum public relations coordinator, said the piece she gravitates towards is the button collage.

“Every time I look at it, I see new things that I didn’t see before,” she said. “That is one of the things that is so neat about this exhibit.”

Gardner said Family Days at AMSET have been around since 1996 after the museum committed to being a family museum.

“The education program reverted into becoming a community service program, and Family Day is just an extension of us reaching out to our community,” he said. “Our Family Days are designed to be culturally diverse, to look like and to service our community — and that is something the museum prides itself in.”

For more information, visit, or call 832-3432.

Story by Morgan Collier, UP contributor

Category: Features