2018 Orientation: Maritza Cruz

Editor’s note: During each Chips Quinn orientation and multimedia training in Nashville, Tenn., in May, scholars are required to complete a multimedia reporting assignment. Their work is displayed here.

Martin ArtQuest Gallery video by Maritza Cruz and Supriya Sridhar

Renovated art gallery emphasizes technology, collaboration
by Maritza Cruz

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Squealing children paint freely on an easel as parents wrangle them together in a room filled with bright natural light at the Frist Art Museum. Two adults sit at the watercolor table as the instructors prepare the paints. A girl with a blond ponytail and blue eyes glues a green sticker to a pair of magenta scissors.

Ludovico Rembert, 3, paints in the temporary space of the Frist Art Museum’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: Maritza Cruz)

The activities are part of the museum’s award-winning Martin ArtQuest Gallery, housed at this writing in a temporary space while the original gallery undergoes renovations. The gallery allows families and individuals of all ages to explore their creative side, and features painting, drawing, printmaking and other stations.

The original gallery opened in 2001, a year after Anne Henderson arrived at the museum as its director of education and outreach, and has received recognition from local and national publications. The renovated gallery will feature interactive activities that explore technology, Henderson says, including a big Everbrite wall with color-changing dials for creating large-scale designs, a full-body digital painting experience and a pre-animation optical device called a zoetrope.

On this day in May, 3-year-old Ludovico Rembert sits beside his mother, Cecelia Mendoza, singing and mumbling to himself. They live near the museum and are Frist regulars, visiting about twice a month.

Mendoza, 26, formerly of Lima, Peru, works in digital animation for a marketing firm. She says she and Ludovico liked the original ArtQuest gallery and are intrigued by the new animation features to be unveiled later in May. “We’d love to try that,” she says, before chasing after the boy as he zoomed for the door.

Erich Hils, ArtQuest facilitator, says while the original gallery focused on individual art and the principles of design, the new gallery will focus on group work.

An adult takes up a paintbrush at the Frist Art Museum. (Photo: Maritza Cruz)

“Everything has multiple seats around it, so it’s kind of using art as a tool for communication and collaboration, which I’m really excited about,” Hils says. “Before, there was a big dome in the center called The Creative Eye,” which featured television screens offering instructional videos.

“Now it’s gone, and the space is completely open, and it feels super breathable and you can see everything at all times,” Hils says.

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