Community Art Collaboration

Butterfly kinetic sculpture

Kidspace Community Art Collaboration Creates Upcycled Kinetic Sculpture

For nearly 30 years, Kidspace has engaged families in understanding and honoring the essential role of pollinators in a healthy ecosystem in our annual Butterfly Celebration. This year, our educational outreach extends to a four-month exhibition at Descanso Gardens: Living in a Wildlife Corridor, which explores the intersection between humans and local urban wildlife.

Kidspace commissioned artist-in-residence Christopher Lutter to collaborate with Kidspace staff, community volunteers, and museum visitors to create a large-scale interactive kinetic sculpture using upcycled waste-stream materials such as recycled wire and plastic utensils. The message of human impact on the ecosystem is equally simple, emotional, and beautiful.

During our 27th Annual Butterfly Season, Kidspace commissioned renowned artist, theatre designer, inventor, and community educator Lutter to create a giant interactive sculpture called Magic in the Air as a tribute to the monarch butterfly for the exhibition.

Community volunteers and museum guests worked alongside Lutter the artist-in-residence, and Kidspace staff to create the kinetic sculpture using upcycle waste-stream materials, exploring silk screening, metalwork, and painting. Participants included members of the Kidspace Board of Directors, Kidspace Circle of Friends volunteers, and students from the Academy for Creative Industries at Pasadena’s Marshall Fundamental High School.

Circle of Friends member Jacque Sutantyo said, “My son James and I had a great time making flowers and we learned a lot from the artist too. We went to Descanso Gardens and the butterflies are so gorgeous! Thank you so much for this opportunity!”

Living in a Wildlife Corridor highlights Descanso Gardens’ place in the Hahamongna to Tujunga Wildlife Corridor, a series of passageways Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy (AFC) is working to establish for wildlife to travel between the San Gabriel Mountains and the isolated open space of the San Rafael Hills, Verdugo Mountains, and Griffith Park.

Through the lens of talented wildlife photographers and camera trappers, via the paint brushes and canvases of local artists, and through the stories and wisdom of the Tongva people who have stewarded this land for millennia, visitors will see our wild surroundings from an entirely new perspective.

The interactive exhibit is accessible to all ages and will be open at Descanso Gardens through October 1. The sculpture, Magic in the Air, will relocate to Kidspace for all to relish in the wonder of this extraordinary and seamless integration of sustainability and art. Visit this incredible exhibit at Kidspace Children’s Museum!

Students volunteering

Students from Marshall Fundamental High School making butterflies for Magic in the Air.

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