Contemporary arts and crafts

By Somi Jun

Print Managing Editor

Museums are often stereotyped as stuffy, indoor affairs, reserved for posh adults talking in hushed tones. Four times a year, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) actively contradicts this stereotype through its Sunday Studio, a free all-ages event that includes hands-on projects and tours.

I had the chance to work Sunday Studio and see the thought, staff, and preparation that goes into each event. I arrived at MOCA on Grand Avenue at 9:30 a.m. and met the fleet of the museum educators in charge for the day. After going over the timetable, we travelled to MOCA’s underground storage facilities to dredge up art supplies. In the span of two hours, our small artists’ muscles erected two canopy colonies and Toddler Town, an area reserved for younger children. The idea of the day’s activities was to bring experimental images into everyday life, demonstrating that anyone could make artwork using simple tools and their environment.

Visitors started filing in at around 1:00 p.m., gravitating towards Sunday Studio’s hands-on art project. Each person used a packet of loosely related photographs to create experimental collages. In addition to the project, MOCA organized a walking meditation tour, guided by instructions to photograph shapes and random objects. Later in the afternoon, artists gave talks in MOCA’s auditorium about abstract photography and collages. Finally, MOCA screened Hypnosis Display, an experimental collaboration coupling film and music.

Most of the activities took place outdoors in MOCA’s plaza. The background noise and constant foot traffic of Downtown Los Angeles provided a pleasant, mellow atmosphere, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Children, parents, and attendants of all ages diligently stooped over their projects, cutting and pasting abstract pieces that often played with the boundary between two and three-dimensional artwork. Visitors wandered around the plaza, snapping pictures at strange angles with their smartphones. In a separate corner, children teetered around Toddler Town, stacking blocks into cities.

The event wrapped up at 4:00 p.m. and we quietly broke down Sunday Studio, packing up art supplies to hibernate in MOCA’s underground until March 6, when the next Studio will take place. In the meantime, MOCA’s gallery doors remain open to posh adults and small, crafty children alike.