The Phillips Plays: Celebrating Nature, Treasuring Trees

The Phillips Collection Fellow Arianna Adade shares her experience at a drop-in family workshop.

Phillips Educator Monica Cohen and her child

On Sunday, February 11, families had the wonderful opportunity to participate in The Phillips Plays: Celebrating Nature, Treasuring Trees drop-in family program. Families had the chance to explore the meaning of trees and the ways that nature shapes life and art. The program allowed space for children to creatively connect to the natural habitat around them, combining their whimsical artistry with their perception of nature.

Child creating a dinosaur habitat


Children creating playgrounds surrounded by forestry

There was a printmaking station, which allowed families to explore the ways fruits and vegetables can be used to create artwork. From magical playgrounds and mossy gardens to dinosaur homes, families created mixed-media installations that deepened their appreciation for the environment. The youngest visitors were able to enjoy blocks and books on the carpeted area right outside of the workshop.

Printmaking station

Participants creating dinosaur habitat

Participant garden creation

Several families also enjoyed an intimate tour of the Jennifer Bartlett: In and Out of the Garden exhibition (on view until April 30). Specifically looking at Bartlett’s five-panel series Wind, Phillips Educator Tiffane White engaged the families with thought-provoking questions relating to the varying angles of Bartlett’s garden: What do you see? How does the water in the pool change in each angle? What do you notice about the colors of the trees? The groups were also asked to imagine which rooms they would hang these artworks in in their own houses, allowing them to consider how nature and art function in home environments. Through exploration of the contemporary artist’s views of French gardens, children were able to create stories that explored the ways art and nature are relevant to their own lives.

Family-friendly tour of Jennifer Bartlett: In and Out of the Garden

Don’t miss the next family workshop on March 9 (The Phillips Plays: Beautiful Bouquets) which is inspired by the exhibition Bonnard’s Worlds (opening March 2).