The Figge Art Museum is opening its new Artica Gallery on Saturday, February 25th, at 2 pm. A formal program in the auditorium will honor all project participants, followed by a ribbon cutting. Light refreshments will be served. The installation was made possible with support from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust.


Artica helps visitors discover where artists find inspiration, how artists use their imagination to be creative, and how artists express their ideas. Artica also encourages visitors to look, imagine, and create. Five images from the Figge's permanent collection, reproduced in vinyl, serve as the inspiration for the displays and hands-on activities. "Artica Guides" offer tips for parents and caregivers on what to talk about with children when viewing the five works of art.


Activities are designed for children, but many activities can be adapted to visitors of all ages. A brief description of each station is listed below:


Station 1:  Artists challenge us to see the world differently.

A linoleum print of a woman's face by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso is the inspiration for the drawing activities at this station. To learn about the relief printmaking process, watch the 7-minute video featuring St. Ambrose University Art professor Joseph Lappie demonstrating how a multi-colored linoleum print is made. The film was produced by Matt Carroll, a professor in the Communications Department at St. Ambrose University. Self-portraits drawn by students who attend elementary schools in Bettendorf, Davenport, Geneseo, Moline, and Pleasant Valley are sprinkled throughout the gallery.


Station 2: Artists express what we feel.

Why are penguins vacationing in the Caribbean? After viewing this humorous picture painted by Haitian artist Jasmin Joseph, make your own penguin finger puppet or draw a picture of your favorite animal playing a musical instrument. Colorful pictures depicting animals playing musical instruments drawn by students who attend elementary schools in Bettendorf, Davenport, Geneseo, Moline, and Pleasant Valley will serve as inspiration.


Station 3: Artists make the ordinary extraordinary.

How could an artist transform a simple chair into a throne? One Haitian painter did just that by embellishing it with painted designs and flowers. After viewing this colorful work, try making your own miniature chair using a variety of materials.


Station 4: Artists engage our imagination.

The colorful "gingerbread" houses that were constructed in Haiti around the turn of the 20th century are characterized by bright colors, tall ceilings, decorative latticework, and wrap-around porches. After viewing this imaginative painting, construct your own "gingerbread" house using the provided template. Colorful blocks and Legos are also available for aspiring young architects.


Station 5: Artists play with line, shape and color.

The Spanish artist Joan Miró created playful images using expressive lines, unique shapes, and bright colors. Experiment with color using the large wall board or the computer software programs.


The Artica Gallery also includes picture books that help teach children about the Artica concepts of inspiration, imagination, and expression.


Leanne Paetz of Pederson Paetz, Omaha, designed the Artica Gallery. The palette of cool colors including aqua, blue, and green was inspired by the colors in the painting of the penguins described above. The playful font and design elements create a lively, animated space that will appeal to children and those young at heart.


Admission to the reception is $10 per families. Admission is free to Figge members and institutional members. The Artica Gallery is open during regular museum hours and is free with admission or membership.


For information about museum programs, visit the Figge website at



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