Girl Scouts in the Galleries

It’s that time again–temptation by thin mint. And this year, with the 100th birthday of Girl Scouts of the USA, even more incentive to support their cause (not to mention a new Cookie Finder app that takes your craving mobile).

Recently, Girl Scout Troop 4903 from Silver Spring, MD, selected our Degas exhibition as the perfect place to work on their “Drawing Merit Badge” requirements. They tried out Degas’s ideas of practice and process, stopping to draw each other at the ballet barre.

A member of Troup 4903 rapidly sketches Degas's sculpture. Photo: Ben Tollefson

Some of the girl scouts take time out from drawing to dance and be drawn. Photo: Ben Tollefson

After they stretched their imaginations in the galleries, the troop joined local artist Frank Wright for drawing lesson in the Phillips art workshop.

Local artist Frank Wright demonstrates drawing techniques for the scouts. Photo: Ben Tollefson

Troop 4903. Photo: Ben Tollefson

Suzanne Wright, Director of Education

3 Minute Right-Brain Team-Building Exercise

Wassily Kandinsky. Sketch I for Painting with White Border (Moscow), 1913. Oil on canvas; 39 3/8 x 30 7/8 in. © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

This riff on the exquisite corpse was designed for any skill level. We recently did this exercise at a staff meeting and found it easy and creative.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1. A piece of paper for each participant

2. A reproduction of the same work of art for each participant. I’d recommend selecting an abstract work like this Kandinsky painting. Everyone can draw lines and shapes!

3. Pen or pencil for each participant

Here’s how to do it:

1. Form groups of 4, 5, or 6.

2. Distribute paper, pens, and reproductions to each participant.

3. Ask participants to find a small portion of the reproduction that seems appealing. After they’ve selected, give 30 seconds to draw that portion of the artwork.

4. After the 30 seconds is up, instruct participants to pass their drawing to the person sitting next to them.

5. Once participants have someone else’s work, ask them to draw again for 30 seconds. Tell them that their new drawing must have a line that touches the drawing made by their colleague.

6. Repeat and pass again until participants have been returned their original drawing.  Each person should end up with one piece of paper that is a collage of all of their colleagues’ work.

7. Once complete, talk about the process. What did everyone experience? How did they feel completing it?

Here’s what we learned: the exercise fostered teamwork, encouraged observation, and pushed us to take risks. We also thought this helped us shift from left-brained thinking to right–all in the space of 3 minutes! What do you think of our collective work?

Collaborative artwork by Education Department inspired by Kandinsky