Igniting a Creative Spark

Ruth Saxton

By: Ruth Saxton | Date: 29/06/2018

Exploring Fusion: Adventures in digital art at Eureka!

Exploring Fusion: Adventures in digital art at Eureka!

As regular visitors to Eureka! will hopefully have realised, our museum now gets a regular mini makeover every 6 months or so in the form of our ever-changing Spark gallery. This is the first temporary exhibition space in the museum and we have big ambitions for it...

If you bring your family to visit quite frequently, by the end of this year you could have had four very different experiences in our Spark gallery or even more if you’ve ventured upstairs over the last four weeks where we’ve had a weekly changing art/tech pop-up activity, including virtual reality, augmented reality and coding. This has been an experimental period, so we’ve been trying to ask visitors what they think of the artworks and activities. This is because we want to put in what our visitors really want based on good ol’ fashioned dialogue, not what we presume. We think we know our visitors well but they continue to surprise us… in the best possible way!

We know that traditional art galleries can sometimes feel a bit intimidating for some people, and many of you have told us that you simply don’t visit them. So although we have retained some of the minimalist feel that you get in traditional gallery spaces within Spark, we hope the fun interactive installations inside make it familiar and more welcoming. And may even lead you to visit other arts organisations, as we have some crackers right on our doorstep, including last year’s Art Fund Museum of the Year: The Hepworth Wakefield, which regularly runs some fantastic activities for families.

We are also hoping to tempt back some of our older visitors from between the age of 8-11  who may feel that Eureka! is no longer for them. Although the content in Spark gallery is suitable for the whole Eureka! audience, we have chosen artworks and activities to stretch the top end of our age range and give them a place in the museum where they can dwell a little longer and be challenged, whilst also having fun with award-winning installations.

digiPlaySpace was a HUGE success

digiPlaySpace was a HUGE success

Exploring Fusion: Adventures in digital art

Exploring Fusion: Adventures in digital art

The possibilities with digital art are endless. And as with any new medium, artists are leading the way in experimenting with tech to see what they can create. In our current exhibition, Fusion: Adventures in Digital Art, most of the art is created using Processing, free software that children can download at home and hone their own artistic talents. We would love to inspire the digital artists and video game creators of the future, especially in Yorkshire which has a thriving tech industry.

Our last exhibition digiPlaySpace was a risk for us as it was very different, but was a huge success with over a quarter of a million of you playing with the artworks and begging us not to take it away. Although Fusion may feel different, we hope you are going to love it just as much.

Then in December we are getting a bit more scientific and welcoming Halifax’s own IOU Theatre to the space. IOU has exhibited locally and nationally; you may have seen their double decker bus parked in the Piece Hall for a week in May.  They are bringing their sound and light sculpture Volatile Light to Spark gallery’s ground floor, as well as our first ever commission: The Patternarium, which will live upstairs on the first floor. The Patternarium is an interactive exhibition which consists of machines that demonstrate different pattern making phenomena from the world around us. Children will operate and manipulate the machines to create different patterns and shapes. Visitors will be able to see the connections between the two floors, in what will be a change of pace from the rest of the museum.

We have big ambitions for Spark gallery; we want to help ignite the creative spark for digital artists and inventors of the future, so we hope you bring your family along to help us do it!

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Eureka! The National Children’s Museum
Discovery Road, Halifax HX1 2NE. Map