The Woods playscape includes a permanent wooden column transformed into a playful tree. When the Museum opened January 14, 2012, the Playful Tree featured the work of local artist and Donor Wall designer Kristin Tollefson in collaboration with children from Grant Elementary School. Tollefson worked with students to create imaginary, fantastical fruit as inspiration for her sculptural installation. Along with whimsical pieces created by the artist, some of the children’s work was cast into resin and became part of the installation. This one-year installation will inspire a variety of art, science, and imaginary play activities within the Museum.
Mail Art was a collaborative art project in which Museum visitors place their thoughts, feelings, and ideas in a variety of changing media on postcards, and then mail them back to the Museum. The project, led by artist Brian Hutcheson, helped capture a snapshot of the visitor experience and create a map of where visitors live. Children had an opportunity to learn more about how mail works and see a map of the museum community. Hutcheson also led select programming in the Studio during the three-month installation of Mail Art. The Mail Art Collaborative, along with artwork by Hutcheson, was on view in Becka's Studio from January through March 2012.
Hutcheson is currently an art and design teacher at Charles Wright Academy Upper School. He has a Master’s Degree in Design and Art Education from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Bachelor’s Degree in Drawing and Painting from Biola University. For the past seven years, Hutcheson has worked with children age 4 to 18 in school and community settings from Kent to Thailand facilitating artistic and creative experiences.
Artists Joan Joachims and Rachael Dotson collaborated to create an area for visitors to reflect on their experiences in the Museum. Reflection includes a handcrafted wall and embellished chandelier that offers visitors a setting in which to share their playful experiences with each other and expand their understanding of the Museum’s open-ended play and learning possibilities.
Joachims, a local painter, jeweler, and art teacher, has worked with the Museum for many years. Her murals appear on many local buildings and her paintings have been featured in the Pierce County Arts Commission Portable Works Collection and the Paris Gibson Museum of Art.
Dotson is a local designer, muralist, and teaching artist in the City of Tacoma Mural Program. Her work can be seen at Bryant Montessori, the Auburn Avenue Theater, and the Foss Waterway Seaport.