Kai & Teacher, Ms. Fran Garrido in Creative Play at the Newark Museum, July 17, 2019

Kai & Teacher, Ms. Fran Garrido in Creative Play at the Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey, USA on Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Photographs by Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts

Newark Museum front entrance on 49 Washington Street, Newark, New Jersey.

The Newark Museum, in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, United States, is the state’s largest museum. It holds major collections of American art, decorative arts, contemporary art, and arts of Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the ancient world. Wikipedia

Kai in front of the Newark Museum entrance.

Kai was so eager to go up on the steps to the Museum entrance. Then he decided to come down and went up again a couple times until he was satisfied.  He was so proud of himself when he came down the last time.

Kai spotted a large foot object in front of The Ballantine House, which is a part of the Newark Museum.  He looked at the sculpture and started to count the toes.  He said “Nine toes!  Grandma!”  He counted again, he said “Nine toes, not ten toes!”  I told Kai that probably the big toes of both feet are joining together.

Kai walked to the back of the sculpture.  He started to climb up.  I told him that he cannot climb up on the sculpture, it is not like an object in the playground.  Kai seemed to be disappointed but he listened and walk away.

Title: Double Foot, 1992 Edition of 3, No 1 Bronze

Artist: Tom Otterness Born 1957, Wichita, KS, lives and works in New York, NY

Gift of Judith and Lester Lieberman, 2018

Next to the front entrance of Newark Museum is The Ballantine House

The Ballantine House

The Ballantine house is a preserved and restored house from the Victorian Era, designed by architect George Edward Harney. It was home to John Holme Ballantine, his wife, Jeannette, and their children, John, Robert, Alice, and Percy. Mr. Ballantine owned and ran a brewery in the Ironbound section of Newark. The house originally had twenty-seven rooms and three floors. In 1937, the Newark Museum bought the house and has since restored it to serve as galleries for the extensive decorative arts collections.

 Opposite to the museum’s front entrance is Washington Park, which is about a five minutes walk from The New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Kai & Teacher, Ms. Fran Garrido in Creative Play at the Newark Museum, July 17, 201

Kai and I walked to the Newark Museum from home about 9:45 am and we reached the museum a little bit before 10 am which took us about ten minutes’ walk.  The security guard told us to wait for Ms. Fran Garrido.  She is an Early Childhood Coordinator who is in charge of the Creative play program.  The class runs from 10-11 am on Wednesday through Friday.  It is a one-hour program, especially for Early Learners ages 3-5.  It includes a visit to a gallery and an activity.  Kai, our grandson, is three years and 9 months old. He is just the right age to attend the program.  Ms. Garrido came to greet us with two carrier bags, one full of stuffed animal toys and the other bag had small pads for sitting.  She said to wait for a while maybe some other children might come, she will talk about loneliness today.  She gave Kai a stuffed penguin toy to have as a friend.  

No one else came so Ms. Garrido took us to an art gallery that had a realistic sculpture of a man sitting on the lawn mower by himself, which makes him look a bit lonely.  Ms. Garrido asked Kai what is lonely?  Kai said “Sad”.  Kai wanted another friend for his penguin toy.  He selected another penguin toy and tried sitting it on the pad.  He managed to get the first toy to sit but not the second toy.  Ms. Garrido tried to get the second one to sit.  She tried for a while and finally did get the toy to sit on the pad.  She yelled out with joy “I did it.”  They both had a good laugh.  She talked and asked Kai some questions showing Kai the artwork in the room.  Kai went in the toy bags and took out all the toys to sit on the pads.   

Ms. Garrido told Kai that she was going to read him a book about being lonely.  Suddenly, Kai got up and started to rearrange all the toys neatly in a line.  Ms. Garrido asked him where are you going to sit?  Kai took out a pad and put it at the end of the line of toys and sat listening to the teacher reads the book to him and all of his toy friends. 

Title: Man, on a Mower

Artist: Duane Hanson

Kai enjoyed the story.  Both teacher and student had a good conversation.  They discussed the story of the lonely character who is sad because he had no friend but if he looks around him, he will find a lot of friends.

After the story ended, Ms. Garrido said we have to go to another room.  Kai got up grabbing all his toy friends in his arms.  He put them in the bag and carried the bag on his shoulder.  Ms. Garrido said, “Is it too heavy for you?”  Kai said yes and suggested, “How about you carry one side and I carry the other side of the bag?”  Both of them walked out of the room then Kai turn back and said “Come on Grandma!”  He said this a couple times while we were walking to the other destination.  

We walked to the next room where we saw this painting.  Kai pointed at the artwork and said “Grandma look at this!”  Ms. Garrido joined Kai looking at the painting and pointed out some areas of the artwork to Kai. 

Title: Afro Goddess Looking Forward

Artist: Mickalene Thomas

Title: Millennial Guardian Angel

Artist: Jo-El Lopez

Title: Me and My Neon Box 

 Artist: Kay WalkingStick

Kai and I enjoyed viewing the artwork while we were walking along.  Kai stopped to look at the top of this sculpture.

Title: Come Alive! (I Feel Love)

Artist: Jeffrey Gibson

Title: AgXMH821A

Artist: Matthew Brandt

Left to right:

Title:  Burgeon                      Artist: Christine Nofchissey McHorse

Title:  Vessel                          Artist: Virgil Ortiz


Title:  Vase with internal decoration of Irises         Artist: Douglas Merritt and Stephen Smarr for             

                                                                                                      Vandermark Merrit Studio


Title: Fecundity Bouquet     Artist: Paul Stankard


Title: Tierra del Fuego          Artist: Toots Zynsky


Title:  Teapot Goblet            Artist: Richard Marquis


Title: Plate                   Artist: Peter Vouklos


Title Spoleto table       Artist: Tony Whitfield for Redwing & Chambers

Bottom Right:

Golden Sulphur Persian Set   Artist: Dale Chihuly

Kai was interested in the art objects along the way.

Title: Anniversary Service              Artist: Ubaldo Vitali

Title: Arch Coffee Table             Artist: Michael Puryear

Title:  Burgeon                  

 Artist: Christine Nofchissey McHorse

Ms. Garrido gave Kai some insight about the sculpture they stopped to look at.

Title: Plate with design of musicians            

Artist: Beatrice Wood

Title: Aerial Map (panel from the mural cycle Aviator: Evolution of Forms under Aerodynamic Limitations)

Artist: Arshile Gorky

Title: Prudential Plaza Mosaic                 

Artist: Hildreth Meiere

Ms. Garrido explained to Kai how the artist used different styles of shoes to form the sculpture.

Kai enjoyed the sense of humor of in Shoe Sculpture.

Title: Sole Sitter                 

Artist: Willie Cole

Title: Mechanics of Flying (panel from the mural cycle Aviator: Evolution of Forms under Aerodynamic Limitations)

Artist: Arshile Gorky

We arrived at the “Maker Space” room.  Ms. Garrido introduced Kai to a group of people who were practicing a dance routine.

She showed Kai her book about Loneliness and told Kai to make his first book.  He selected a green marker to draw with while they talked.  She gave some suggestions and asked Kai some questions.

Kai drew pictures of himself, one of them he said looked like a potato head.  Ms. Garrido suggested Kai use the other colors.  He put other colors next to him but still continued to use green marker, saying that he loves the color green.  Ms. Garrido asked him what things are green outside. Kai hesitated to answer.

Ms. Garrido lifted her arms up and said “The trees have many green leaves.”  Then Kai said the ground has green too, it’s the grass.  She said put them in your drawing.  Kai drew a few short strokes on his paper and next to them he drew a tall line with something on top.  It probably represents a tree for him.

It was very nice to see Kai make his first book binding it together with Ms. Garrido.  Kai learned a lot from her guidance and patience, encouraging him to learn and having a great time with her.

Kai was so proud to make his first book.  He showed it to his parents and his grandfather John.  He said he is going to show his book to his Papa (Great-grandfather), Pa (Grandfather Jim), Nana (Grandmother Maria) and four cousins when he has a chance to see them.

Kai’s first book, Self-Portrait, Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Ms. Garrido still stayed helping Kai with the toy train, even though her lesson had ended.

Kai was very interested in playing with toy train, at the “Maker Space” room.

She showed Kai the Step inside the City area where there are the mirrors and colorful lights.

“Go see it in the galleries” Newark Museum’s Promotion Poster

Title: The Voice of the City of New York Interpreted

Artist: Joseph Stella

Kai was at the Newark Museum outside compound.

Kai enjoyed walking in the Newark Museum compound, far away a tall building is Rutgers University dormitory.

Newark Museum side entrance on Central Ave. Newark, New Jersey

From Inside the museum compound at Horizon Plaza, we saw St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral on Central Ave.  A light blue tall building is the New Prudential building, looked toward Washington Street.

Before we reached the Newark Museum, while waiting for the traffic light between Central Ave. and Washington Street.  Further away on Washing Street is a tall commercial building, next to James Street where another Old church located, next to it are the Library and Rutgers Business School. Newark Museum is located in the center of activities of Downtown Newark.

Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts, Tuesday, August 17, 2019

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2 responses to “Kai & Teacher, Ms. Fran Garrido in Creative Play at the Newark Museum, July 17, 2019”

  1. Fran Avatar

    Hi Kai & Ing,
    I hope you and your family are well! What a lovely trip down memory lane to see these photos! Just a little more than a year ago. I hope we can visit sometime soon, when the museum opens up to the public. Till then, stay well and have FUN!

  2. ingon Avatar

    Hi Fran,
    Thank you very much for your comments and concern about our wellbeing. Kai, his parents and everyone in our family are fine. Kai is lucky to have his little baby brother to play with. His baby brother’s name is Bodhi. Bodhi is 5 months old now.
    I told Kai about your message to us. Kai said he misses you and would love to visit you at Newark Museum as soon as the museum is opened. Kai can sing one Thai song that I often sang for him before he went to sleep, he might want to sing for you.
    Sorry for late response. I hope you and your family and all the museum people are safe from COVID-19 and other troubles. Kai and I will visit you and museum soon after the opening for the public.
    If you have time please visit my latest post on my website Blog page about Kai the astronaut and his drawing on the life cycle of a butterfly that he would like you to see. The link is:
    Sincerely yours,
    Ing and Kai

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