Webster’s First 3rd Fri

For the 3rd Fri in March, Poetry and Book Arts, I helped create two activities, which were both based on children’s books. ”The Giving Tree” I created by hand out of paint and cardboard. I sketched a life size tree and cut out approx 300 paper leaves. At the event, participants could take a leaf, write their favorite book and hang it on the tree.

I enjoyed creating the Giving Tree It was interesting, getting to create a life size character from a timeless children’s book. It was a challenge securing it to the wall because of it’s disproportionate weight but it all worked out in the end.

I also prepped The Hungry Catepillar activity. I hand cut 200 egg cartons, into 3-egg carton length bodies. Then I painted each by hand. At the event the participants selected a pre-made caterpillar body and could draw a face, and add antennae using pipe cleaners.

It was a lot of prep work. Cutting was my biggest challenge prepping for Poetry and Book Arts. If Poetry and Book Arts takes place next year, I recommend the Giving Tree activity is repeated. I liked having participants interact with a prop I created, it was a beautiful experience and I am glad to be apart of the MAH!

Youth Programs Intern


Hey Everyone, Haley here.

The Nikki McClure exhibit is up and thriving! Her work is truly enchanting when you get to see it up close and personal, come check it out! Helping to design the interactive activity for the exhibit was a great experience. Visitors are invited to create their very own zine, a self-published and handmade book with no limitations and endless uncensored opportunities. Zines can be anything visitors desire, ranging from unconventional views, to self exploration or playful expression. Visitors can use McClure’s work to inspire the making of their own zine, or take a whole new direction.


What I adored about the zines was the time and thought visitors put into them. Many of them are too touching to even describe, while others are quirky, funny, or intense. Its like McClure says in the above quote:

It is important for people to share their stories of their existence, and through the sharing of stories there is this commonality of experience as humanity. We’re so divided into these communities – politically, culturally, economically – in our country that to find places of common strength, when we see our common connection…theres power in that.

There is always a surprise when you open a stranger’s zine and get a glimpse into their creative expression and can relate.

Come check it out before the end of May.


Exhibition Intern

Heather Rose Peacin’ Out

Hi All, Lisa here.

I chatted with one of the MAH’s talented Community Programs Interns leaving the museum at the end of March. We talked about her favorite parts of being an intern and what she’ll be pursuing. Heres the exit-interview:

L: What made you want to get involved with the MAH initially?

H: I wanted to become involved with the MAH because I heard about their new theory about making museums interactive and accessible to the community and I truly supported this idea.

L: What was your favorite part of being an intern at the MAH?

H: My favorite part of interning was learning to brainstorm ideas for events and then actually executing those ideas to create an interactive activity at third Friday events.

L: What will you be pursuing in your post-intern future?

H: I am now going to be an office assistant at the disability resource center at UC Santa Cruz as well as continue my last two years at UCSC.

L: Awesome! Congrats on the Job! Any advise for future MAH interns?

H: Always be organized with your time and plan out what prep work you are going to do on different days so that it will be ready for the event.

From all of us at the MAH, Thank you Heather for your creativity and commitment to helping us fulfill the goal of engaging community members in local art and history. We wish you a bright and successful future.

Heather (far right), Community Programs Intern, works with participants to make Dream Catchers at Radical Craft Night November 2013. Heather interned at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History from Sept 2013-March 2014.

A Magical Time at Winterpalooza

From planning the activities, to watching everything come to life, working on Winterpalooza was truly magical. Coming up with activities for Winterpalooza is always the best part because only the sky is the limit. With that mind set, we came up with many kid friendly activities.  The activities I prepped for were Magic Snow and the Snow Globe Cups. Snow globe cups were very popular and it was so much fun to see the kids enjoying themselves. My favorite part of the experience was watching the opera performance with the kids participation.


Youth Programs

Winterpalooza Reflection: A Transition

Winter Palooza was an experience that could best be described for me as transitional. I choose transitional to describe my experience with Winter Palooza because I had started working on the cardboard castle as I was working on the shadow puppet interactive. During the castle building process I jumped at a chance to intern for youth programs. Aside from transitioning from internships, I went from spending little physical engagement with the community to having multiple interactions with them in one day. When the castle was finished I wish I could have done more. I wish I had more time to spend on the castle so that I could add more details to the castle; paint, accessories, and ways for kids to be able to engage more with the castle.

When I was working at the interactive my expectations or rather fears, were not met. I feared that the children at the interactive would have a difficult time or not be interested with the activity. In my mind I feared the kids would hurt themselves, feel insecure about their houses, and that I would slip up and say foul words. I was expecting there to be a situation that I would not be able to handle but fortunately it turned out that working with kids was not as difficult as I made it out to be in my head. The kids were eager to participate, courteous and respectful to one another and the parents that did attend the interactive with their children were hands on and involved with the activity. A lot of the pressure was resolved during the interactive thanks to the help of my partner Charlotte. Charlotte has prior experience and helped me handle a situation where I was indecisive on how to respond to a child who would not comply with the rules.


Former Exhibitions Intern

New Youth Programs Intern

Fresh Meat!

We here at the MAH have a new intern!

Webster is a second year at UCSC studying Art and Community Studies. He is from Union City, CA. He will be working as a Youth Programs intern this quarter. If you see him at the MAH, say hi!


Hello everyone! Lisa here back from break.

We here at the MAH are back in the swing of things, putting the finishing touches on next Friday.

Our January 3rd Friday event is Magic themed!

I am working on four different potion recipes for you to come and create.

So far I have an ingredient list that includes Titan’s breath, Bone Fortifier, Unicorn Horn, and Dragon Scales! You should all come and make magic bubble wands, potions, and more!

The event is scheduled from 5pm-8pm Fri 1/17/13. Click the link for more info.

See you there!


Fall 2013 Photo/Video Interns Share Their Experience, ‘Best Of’ Images

Justin William

How does one approach creativity creatively? I have been honored with the task of photographing the diverse participatory and interactional events as well as working the 3rd Friday photobooths at the MAH this Fall. Reflecting on my experiences, I realize that this is the question I had been asking myself consistently but in many different ways. The energy and creativity at the MAH can only truly be felt by attending an event and actively participating, but I hope to have represented at least some of this in the photographs I have taken in the past few months.

What is beautiful about the MAH is its commitment to the cultivation of already thriving communities and bridging them via these creative artistic pursuits that are so important to the progress and enrichment of broader Santa Cruz County. I feel lucky to have been fully immersed in this sense of community and being able to photograph and portray this through various social media and marketing channels. However, representing such dynamic events and diverse interactions is absolutely a challenge. My approach to this challenge has been to think less about the actual photographs or what I’d like to capture, but instead feel fully present in the event, experience it, and interact. Through this, the photographs seem to create themselves around the unexpected connections arising around them.

Capturing creativity creatively in this setting actually comes easy. There is never a moment of doubt about what to shoot, but when. Some of my favorite photos from the past Fall were taken at typically “unexpected” moments, when instead of composing a photograph, I thoughtlessly lifted my camera to my eye and released the shutter. The better photographs appear when the released shutter becomes more than a deliberate thought but the expression of a desire and a feeling.

Here are some of Justin’s favorites from 2013:

Photo by Justin William / a candid shot during the Angklung Gamelan performance by local Balinese musicians Anak SwarasantiRadical Craft Night 2013.

Photo by Justin William / Riding high above the dancing crowd, glow stick in hand. GLOW Fire Night 2013.

Photo by Justin William / Visitors gawked at the visually compelling  local Balinese musicians Anak Swarasanti before PechaKucha 2013.

Jessica Varela

I came into this internship opportunity, excited to be exposed to different artists and interesting multi-media art I might not be able to experience otherwise. What I wasn’t expecting was that the greatest impact on me would be the MAH community. 

Who are all these people who come to these events, and what exactly are they experiencing when they interact with these exhibits? What I’ve gleaned so far, from tiptoeing around, trying to capture these candid moments is that, we are families, artists, grandparents, couples, and lone wanderers. What the MAH has done with these events is they have created, from a gathering of ordinary people, a wonderful social collaboration, a true community, which I believe is one of the most beautiful things Santa Cruz has to offer. This is why all of my favorite photos aren’t just of the events or the exhibits, but of people genuinely interacting with the environment and one another. 

Its with just a smidgen of irony that I consider the most important element of the museum experience to be the social aspect (Since I spend most of these events with my face smushed behind a camera), but I have found that the gathering of people here are so friendly that even the buffer of technology does not inhibit museum patrons from approaching me and engaging in lovely conversations. 

I feel greatly privileged to be documenting this community, and hope that I have been successful in capturing its genuine energy. In the following quarter I hope to be able to employ more of my film photography skills, as well as undertaking the larger project of a short documentary narrative about what the museum offers to its members and the Santa Cruz community. 

Here are some of Jessica’s favorites from 2013:

Photo by Jessica Varela / a special moment between father and daughter in our Santa Cruz is in the Heart show, now featured on our Winter 2013 Newsletter.

Photo by Jessica Varela / Santa Cruz kids dressed up in their Halloween best and gathered with friends and family at Evergreen Cemetery for the annual Spooky Tales event.

Photo by Jessica Varela / Shows at the MAH are dynamic experiences for visitors. Here, visitors peer, stand back, and get hands dirty in an interactive on the opening night of Journey Forth

Kala Narayan

Working at the MAH was a great learning experience. Why? I felt like I got a taste at what it’s like being a photographer for a career. I was given instructions and visions that I tried to capture and there were also those deadlines! These elements helped me grow at being a photographer, but also a worker. I tried my best to meet expectations that would satisfy others, but in the end, I was satisfied with myself and was happy with how much I had learned. I came into this internship knowing I would be photographing various events. However, the diversity in events and the people I would photograph made this internship interesting. I would go into events thinking, what type of people would I photograph here today? Because the MAH is a place where the entire community can come and gather, it was great seeing new faces as well as those I would see consecutively.

In trying to capture the vision of the MAH, I would navigate the event to the best of my ability. I wanted to capture the many types of beautiful people who gathered. The excitement, concentration, and rare bonding moments were just some of the images I tried to get on camera. Personally, images of happier moments are those that I like to look back on and store in my memory.

When I look back at my journey as an intern, I would say my favorite event was the Spooky Tales at Evergreen Cemetery. The backdrop look of the cemetery, the children dressed up in their Halloween gear, and the cool props made this event most memorable to me. I can’t forget to mention that the event ended in a zombie flash mob!

In closing, I think that being an intern at the MAH taught me how to be a more efficient worker. I learned that I could complete the vision of someone else, while adding my own perception. I could frame and capture a photograph in complete freedom. The deadlines helped me have better time management. This was valuable to me because as I graduate from university, I understand that in any job, having good time management skills is a must! Finally, I learned that approaching people and conversing is what makes them the most comfortable with you. While I might have not taken any pictures, meeting people and exchanging warm smiles is what made this internship enjoyable in every way! It made me feel that I was also part of this great, growing community at the MAH.

Thank you MAH staff, visitors, and my fellow interns for a great time!

Here are some of Kala’s favorites from 2013:

Photo by Kala Narayan / A quiet moment between mother and daughter during the December First Friday art activity.

Photo by Kala Narayan / Kids dressed their Halloween best for Spooky Tales 2013.

Check out more of our recent photos on the Santa Cruz MAH Flickr page.

Creating a Museum Interactive

Mind, Heart, and Hand opened earlier this month at the MAH. This juried show highlights jewelry and sculptures created by members of the Monterey Bay Metal Arts Guild. The Guild represents a community of beginners as well as advanced metal artists utilizing techniques to produce art from metal. Members of the Guild work with various types of metal and utilize many processes to create their art.

The Mind , Heart and Hand Exhibition

I was able to design an interactive to go along with this exhibition and I chose to highlight one technique metal artists use to create their work. When researching the Guild and metal art I learned about several metalworking techniques such as lost wax casting, chase and repousse, and etching. These techniques are unique to metalworking and metal artist often use a combination of them to create a finished piece.

My interactive work table

I chose to focus on the technique of chase and repousee (pronounced rep-poh-she) to give MAH visitors a chance to try out one of these techniques themselves. Chase and repousse is also known as embossing and is a two-part process. The first step is to repousse your piece of metal from the backside. Using wooden tools will dull tips MAH visitors push into the back of the metal to push up indentations on the front. The next step is chasing the piece. To chase MAH visitors use the same wooden tools to sink areas of the metal down and indent the metal from the front side. Chasing the piece allows the repoussed parts to stand out.

Chase and repousse station with instructions

In the gallery we use thin aluminum to try out the technique but in the real process metal workers use thicker metal. To support the sheet of metal while they chase and repousse it metal workers use a material called pitch made of tar, wax, and clay. In the gallery we used pieces of soft felt and foam to support the metal sheet.

A MAH vistor using the interactive during December’s First Friday

Creating this interactive was a great learning experience for me. Not only did I learn a lot about metalworking but I also learned how to create an activity that will work in a gallery setting. Justin Collins, the MAH’s exhibit extraordinaire, helped me use simplified instructions with more images rather than text to help visitors see the process. He also advised me to create four workstations so that many MAH visitors could work at the same time. This winter I’ll be helping with The Cradle Project exhibition and I can’t wait to use what I’ve learned through this interactive on the next exhibition. 

Finished pieces hanging in the gallery

'Tis the Season at the MAH

Good evening Everyone!

Lisa here, checking in after a busy day at the MAH.

We are preparing like mad for the Holiday Season! Starting tomorrow, we have the Metal Workers exhibit opening! Since it will also be the First Friday of December, we will have free admission from 11am-9pm! From 5-9pm, enjoy a no-host bar and a dazzling art activity for all ages in the atrium, where you can turn pipe cleaners into sparkling snowflakes.

Next we have Winter Art Market  Friday, December 20th, from 5pm-8pm. Adults are $5 and Kids/Students are $3. Come sip hot cocoa, make holiday crafts for friends and family, and enjoy our Toy Trains! The Trains will be up through January 5th.

We can’t wait to see you this Holiday Season, and in 2014!

Happy ChrismaHannakwanzaka!

Lisa Marie–Community Programs Intern