Ah, a lovely Tuesday afternoon of Blogging. For those blog-readers who haven’t realized yet, I am a regular contributor to The New Children’s Museum blog, on behalf of the Studios. Alas, another Tuesday has rolled around, which merits yet another blog post:
Adorning our Indoor Paint Studio is a big box. A big black box; thus gaining the title the “Black Box.” This ominous onyx obstruction serves a couple purposes. Firstly, it acts as a sort of wall with which to close off our Studio a bit. Secondly, the Black Box is laced with a special sort of paint, which transforms its plywood surface into a functioning chalkboard. Hence, as is made clear upon viewing the box, children are invited to draw on its walls; a feat which most likely does not occur in your average household. Ironically, in this modern age, chalkboards are a hot commodity. Apparently they have been replaced in most elementary school classrooms by white boards and Smart Boards (a newfangled board that is as technology driven as a NASA space station). The Black Box allows the children of our modern age to travel back to a simpler time when chalkboards ruled the schools.
The Black Box also becomes an outlet for our first Amendment; freedom of speech. Good ol’ Wikipedia tells us that “the synonymous term [for freedom of speech], freedom of expression, is sometimes used to denote not only freedom of verbal speech but any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.” Our medium is chalk! Scrawled into the majestic walls of the Box are aliens and hearts and rainbows and faces, and of course prophetic shout outs such as “Max waz here,” or “The Chaucer family,” or “Grace rox,” or even “Barack Obama is my hero.” Draw on.
As an illustrator myself, I appreciate that the Black Box provides an area to utilize the skills of my fellow illustrators, with color and lines. Its an important edition to our studios, because it functions as a daily outlet for the beautiful art of drawing.
While drawing, many chalk-ers notice our ziggy-zaggy-accordion-doors on one side of the Black Box. You may even be one of the privileged few who actually get to witness a studio facilitator open these doors and transport into the depths of the Box. Many times a facilitator’s entrance into the Box is followed by little heads peering from the other side of the door, attempting to answer the question, “What is inside?” I dare say that many who ponder this question are a bit disappointed to discover the truth of the interior of the Black Box. So, if you have built the Black Box up as a T. Rex cave, or a home for our resident monster, please stop reading now. I would hate to be the one to destroy your fantasy. Here it is: the third function of the Black Box is a storage area. That’s right…not a princess’ castle or a space transporter station…a storage area. It’s a place to keep studio materials such as paint, clay, aprons, even paper and scissors! Disappointed? So, dear Blogger, you may rest at ease that we do not keep spiders or dinosaurs locked up behind the Black Box’s massive walls.
—Lindsay Preston, Studio Facilitator