Saturday, April 28, 2012

J. Walter Fisch collection

J. Walter Fisch donated his collection to the museum 27 years ago. This weekend he visited the museum  to see the collection displayed as part of the What We Are Curating Today! exhibit. He told the museum staff that his wife suggested he donate the items to the museum when he was wondering what to do with his vast collections. "I'm just thrilled that it's being used," he said.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Coiled Clay at Holtville High School

Today, we began a two-week program of doing traditional crafts at Holtville High School. We will be working in the three Art I classes. For the next three days, youth will be learning techniques of working coils into shapes. Next week they will try and produce ceramic art using the coiled-clay method.

This will  be the last phase of our year-long grant "Exploring our Desert Culture: Hands-on Ceramic Art Program." This will complete the pilot phase of our programming and now the Museum will begin to explore ways to make this one of our full-time signature programs.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Art and Film at the Museum: Night and Dae

by Jessica Brody

The exhibit walls are finished and we are proud to host our first art event at the museum. A night exploring the power of art to create dialogue.

On May 2nd the visual arts exhibit Every Day is Earth Day will open with an artist reception at 4pm. If Earth Day is just one day, our days are numbered. At the Desert Museum, we celebrate the Earth everyday. Join us and the participating members of the Imperial Valley College Arts Faculty from 4-6pm. A big thank you to Bernardo Olmedo for his assistance on the exhibit. 

Following the reception, in partnership with the Film Forward Program, a program of the Sundance Institute and their National Partners, there will be a film screening of Bran Nue Dae (Brand New Day) with a director Q&A afterward. We appreciate the Film Commissioner suggesting the museum to be considered for this program. 

Working in various archives across Southern Australia last year, I learned about Bran Nue Dae from my colleagues. While the plot is lighthearted, it is a movie that matters. It is the epitome of the Ghandi quote "be the change you wish to see in the world." Written, directed and starring a (mostly) Aboriginal cast, the film celebrates diversity and cultural acceptance. As soon as I returned to the US I encouraged people to view my personal copy, including Imperial Valley community members. I believe in the power of this film to create dialogue. Bran Nue Dae is not widely available in the United States so don't miss this rare opportunity to view the film. 

Below is the Director's comments on the film:

For Aboriginal Australians our narrative has been dominated by themes of invasion, racism and dispossession. BRAN NUE DAE rebels against this tradition, using a comedic approach and the musical form to redefine the Aboriginal experience. This spirit of rebellion and celebration is personified in our hero, the young boy Willy, who overrides all others expectations to be himself. —RACHEL PERKINS

Rachel Perkins is highly regarded in Australia. You can read more about her work on the Film Forward website and meet her on May 2nd at the Museum. 

Cindy Meehl has been re-scheduled to another event. Contact museum staff for more information.

Two April Festivals

The Museum is participating in two festivals this month:

1. Visit with members of the Museum staff and Board of Directors at our information booth at the El Centro Music Festival and Fireworks.

2. The Museum will host a session of the Ceramic Youth Art Program at the El Centro Children's Fair.

The information for these events is below, on the museum Calendar of Events, and on the El Centro Chamber of Commerce.

City of El Centro Music Festival & Firework Show

Stark Field Park
Corner of 4th St. & Lenrey Ave.
El Centro, CA
6:00 p.m. 10:00 p.m.
Festivities to include: Food, refreshments & other vendor booths, musical entertainment including: Safety Orange, Latin Fuze, and Lock N'Load.
For more information contact the City of El Centro Parks & Recreation at (760) 337-4555.

Children's Fair

Bucklin Park
Corner of 8th St. & Ross Ave.
El Centro, CA
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Annual Children's Fair features both entertainment & informational activities.
For more information contact (760) 353-8300.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Young Volunteers Welcome

John continues the landscaping project today. Today he brought his granddaughter who is on spring break and had participated in the Ceramic Art Program over last summer. She wanted to try to make another clay pot.

After a few hours of working the clay, she decided that she wouldn't mind helping us with tagging and labeling artifacts. We have prepared some kid-friendly projects so people of all ages can interact with the artifacts, so we were ready for this type of request.

The curation of the collections is our top priority this year so many hands make for light work. Even if those hands are very small.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Landscaping Continues

John Estevane is an Ocotillo resident who started volunteering with the museum today. He is a hobby landscaper who specializes in cactus gardens. He's been working since 10am on planting prickly pear cactus and has plans in the next few weeks to transplant a 10-foot cactus from his yard that needs more growing room. "This is just perfect for that," said John. 

Ocotillo Rocks! Event

by Susan Massey
Chuck Bucher helps Christian Campos 
identify rocks found outside the Desert Museum 
during the program Ocotillo Rocks, Saturday March 31

One hundred and thirty people poured into the Desert Museum on Saturday morning to attend the Ocotillo Rocks event.  Everyone stopped to look at the items in the gift store and especially the beautiful jewelry that  Lydia Walker had brought, including some exquisite silver pieces made by Pima Indians.  Volunteers scurried around putting more chairs in the classroom.  Still not everyone could get a seat.  Joe Rodrigues of the Gem and Mineral Society talked to the crowd of over a hundred about the geology history of the Imperial Valley and about the evidence we can find that the entire region was once a sea.  He showed a collection of rocks from the region. 

Since the room was overflowing and the small children were getting restless, Jessica Brody, our curator, ran a session of the Ceramic Art Program in the lab where she showed them an example of coiled clay pots and gave them clay to work with.  The kids were very entertained.
Joe Rodrigues of the Gem and Mineral Society gave a talk 
about local geology at the  Desert Museum on March 31.
130 people attended the event and many went out 
onto the museum grounds to identify rocks after the talk.

When the talk was finished everyone went outside to walk around the museum grounds and try to identify the rocks.  Joe and John Pyle, president of the Gem and Mineral Society helped them identify and examine the rocks. Rather than take their findings out of the desert, children were encouraged to take videos and email them home. When we came back inside, Joe answered questions and gave each child a geode.  A lot of people stuck around to ask questions and wander around the museum after the event was over.