Beginning in June, the Blanton Museum of Art at University of Texas at Austin will implement the use of a series of works of art-cum-creative work stations made by artist Leslie Mutchler, Director of the Foundations Program at UT. The commissioned hybrid artworks/artwork-making-places will be called WorkLAB Satellites and are flat-pack style constructions that are able to be configured in a number of ways. They will be situated throughout the museum so that visitors have places to let their creative juices overflow after looking at art in the galleries, “represent[ing] current thinking about the role of creative problem solving, and how art can be used to facilitate learning,” says the museum. This means the workstations serve as interpretive centers, much like one would find at a nature preserve, helping make big ideas, like photosynthesis or abstract painting, be easily accessible and applicable to everyday life.
The logic of such manufactured sites of engagement is to encourage “creativity, dialogue, and play among our visitors,” says Blanton director of education and academic affairs Ray Williams, in the hopes of creating a lasting relationship between art and children, primarily, though anyone, adults included, can hunker down at a station and make a paper and pipe-cleaner sculpture if they feel the inspired urge.