I consider myself a pretty creative person. I mean, I’m not an artist or anything, but I like to think I’m somewhat good at thinking outside of the box when it comes to creating something. I’m an occupational therapy major, for crying out loud! We need to be creative on a daily basis to provide treatment for our clients.
But, I digress. What I’m really good at is appreciating the creative processes of other people. I love analyzing something another person created, whether it’s a painting, mural, poem, song, whatever. Part of me imagines a little piece of a person’s soul goes into whatever he or she created. Then, I can learn more of the inner workings of how that person’s mind works.
This isn’t an art appreciation course, however. It’s a blog piece about how I took a tour of the Erie Art Museum. So, let’s cut to the chase.
When I’m home in Cleveland, I make an effort to soak up as many artsy things as I can find. I frequent the Cleveland Art Museum, go to street fairs, attend poetry readings, etc. Ashamedly, I realized I don’t know enough of my other home, Erie’s local art scene. I figured what better way to learn more about the local artists of my city than by checking out the Erie Art Museum.
And what perfect timing! My parents were scheduled for a visit up to Erie. What better fun family bonding experience than visiting an art museum?
My family and I headed up to the art museum (conveniently located right on the cusp of campus–411 State Street). Since we were visiting on a weekend, the price of tickets were $7 for adults, $5 for students. On Wednesdays, the museum offers free admission. The price for admission being reasonable, we took our map of the establishment and jumped right on in.
The first exhibit we wanted to to see was all about the art behind comic books. Sometimes I forget that comic books are a legitimate form of artwork that people create by hand. So often we get hung up on the plot of the story that we disregard the colors, character designs, background elements and artist’s style. At the end of the exhibit, visitors were given the opportunity to create their own comic page. This was probably meant for children, but I wholeheartedly participated. I really enjoyed this exhibit, and I think many other patrons did as well, given the recent hype of superheroes nowadays.
After the comic book exhibit, we headed downstairs to the Old Custom House. This holds a lot of Eastern artwork–sculptures of Buddha, colorful mandalas, elaborate tapestries of Hindu gods. Really cool stuff, especially considering how old some of the artifacts are.
At the end of this exhibit was a piece by local artist Linda Huey. This piece was entitled “Dark Garden.” It was a garden created from scraps of metal, clay, and, well, “junk.” After reading about the collection, I learned that it is supposed to serve as a warning against pollution and promote conservation efforts. Definitely a wake-up call.
We made our way upstairs to the “Kids as Curators” exhibit. For this exhibit, all of the artwork was created by children. There were sculptures, paintings, and dioramas as well as interactive tidbits for patrons to contribute, such as a big collage of questions visitors could answer. This created a colorful mural that keeps on growing when visitors add to it. This exhibit really put a smile on my face because it reminded me of the art shows I loved so dearly in elementary and middle school. Nothing makes me grin more like kids letting their creative juices flow.
From that exhibit, we went back downstairs to the infamous carousel room. This is one of my favorite pieces of artwork that the museum holds. It’s a life-sized, fully functional carousel that depicts Jesus, the Apostles, and the devil. Might not be the jolly carnival ride we all know and love, but it definitely is interesting to witness.
There was one last exhibit I wanted to check out before leaving the museum. The staircase. If you’ve visited the museum, you know what I’m talking about. If you pop down one of the hallways on the first floor and take a left, you’re suddenly transported into this vast black-and-white staircase filled with intricate patterns and detail. This staircase is actually an art piece called “Higherglyphics” by Todd Scalise. Each floor has a different theme, whether it’s pirates, Erie icons, or animals. The amazing thing about this is the amount of sheer detail that goes into each one of the murals. It’s insane and beautiful. My family and I spent about 15 minutes in that stairwell and could have still spent more time just gaping at the murals. It’s whimsical, it’s modern, and it’s memorable. Definitely worth a visit.
If you’re a Gannon student or just a local, I highly recommend visiting the Erie Art Museum. It’s a great way to refresh your senses and learn a little more about the world around you. Plus, it’s always great to “support your local scene.” Take the afternoon off, gather up some friends, and visit this Erie staple. You won’t regret it.