Once a non-descript stairwell now has been transformed with a new mural at Leonardo’s Children’s Museum. As guests climb to the second floor of the museum they will start at sea level, then see the beach, next the sky and onward to outer space. The mural was made possible by an anonymous donor who wished to honor longtime Enid Physiology and Astronomy Instructor Mr. Nolen Harsh. On Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 11:30 am there will be a brief opening ceremony and light luncheon to celebrate the mural’s completion. Activities will take place on 1st floor near the stairwell mural and in the 1st floor Birthday Room. Any and all former Enid educators in the area are welcome to attend! Central National Bank is generously providing the meal.
“Leonardo’s Children’s Museum is privileged to serve as home to this educational, artistic tribute to Mr. Harsh. Historically our community has had some exceptional people teach and graduate from our school system. I am a proud graduate also. Many of my teachers were a tremendous influence on me, I didn’t have Mr. Harsh in the classroom, but I attended during his tenure,” said Executive Director Tracy Bittle, “Your community’s children’s museum is the perfect place to exhibit Mr. Harsh’s field, continue education in his honor and recognize his remarkable service.”
Some very special artists participated in honoring Mr. Harsh as well. Founding Leonardo’s Executive Director Cheryl Swanson along with Pam Gilbreath took on the challenge of creating an interactive mural. The artists wanted it to be beautiful and educational as well. They decided to use state symbols in the design to allow children to learn and have pride for the state. They researched their concepts for accuracy and NASA was a big resource as they planned for the solar system and onward to deep space.
Both Swanson and Gilbreath are former art teachers from Waller Middle School and Leonardo’s Summer Art Institute (now called DaVinci Day Camp). They have done and continue to do various project together. “We have worked together for so long that we trust each other’s judgments,” said Gilbreath who added that the two have had a long friendship. The artists have collaborated on many Enid art projects.
Using the existing hallway was not a challenge but inspiration for the artists. When Gilbreath saw bricks stacked facing out in a row along the wall she saw the top of Gloss Mountain. Swanson thought of painting cut outs that would be attached to the wall to give the mural a 3D effect. “We make perfect partners, “said Gilbreath, “she has great connections and wild ideas and I find a way to reel in her ideas to make it reality.” The two artists were also assisted by Andy Shearon who painted the highest parts of the stairwell mural including the deep space portion.
The artists began the mural while the museum was open and children would admire the progress. One day a young girl noticed the fish painted on the mural. She proudly told Gilbreath that she knew what kind of fish it was, “She guessed a catfish because of its ‘whiskers.’”
The mural honors this outstanding, devoted public educator Mr. Harsh but also pays tribute to Leonardo’s founders. Helen Garriott an art teacher who painted many seascapes and Owen a NASA Astronaut. As museum guests proceed from one floor to another there is now even more fun and learning to be done!
Sewing is a practical skill, but also a skill that requires focus and creativity. Fashion can be haute couture, custom dress making or a form of creative expression. Leonardo’s Children’s Museum has a new educational class for youth interested in fashion, thanks to a grant from Junior Welfare League of Enid. The JWL Fashion and Design Institute@Leonardo’s is open for youth from 3rd grade to 8th grade and will be held after school beginning Wednesday, October 3, from 3:30 to 5:30 for an eight week session. The class will start up again in January for another eight week session.
“It will bring out skills they didn’t think they had,” says Education Coordinator Joyce Fayles who will be the instructor for the class. She says students will learn about different fabrics and how to use a sewing machine. They also will learn how to hand sew. These basic skills will then be used to make a fabric purse. The purpose is to teach STEAM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) the JWL Fashion and Design Institute will educate and empower young people who have a desire for high fashion and would like to take a look at this industry. Now these ambitious youth can explore this career option here at Leonardo’s.
The class is open to all boys and girls to learn important life skills and will start with the basics. The class is $72 for members and $80 for non-members and a healthy snack is also included. All materials are included in the tuition. Go to Education Classes for the enrollment form or call for more information at 580-233-2787.
Former Phillips University Ceramic Art Professor Paul Denny loved helping people and making pottery. He recently passed away, but his memory will live on at Leonardo’s Children’s Museum with a new pottery class. On Thursday, October 4, Paul’s Beginning Pottery class will start at Leonardo’s and the teacher has a special connection to the art professor because she is his granddaughter. “I have knowledge of pottery because I grew up around it,” says Jamie Castle, Leonardo’s Art Education Coordinator.
Castle, an Oklahoma state certified teacher, will instruct students age 13 and up, on beginning skills needed in pottery. “I’m going to teach the class like my grandpa did,” says Castle. She says students will start with the basics and be able to make a pinch, slap and coil pot by the end of the eight week class. Castle’s mother and aunt who learned a lot from their father will lend a hand with the class.
“His passion was pottery and he had his own studio in his house so when he retired he could still work,” says Castle. Denny was one of the original teachers involved with Leonardo’s beginnings and helped get the “pottery lab” started. Originally the pottery lab was in the North East corner of the first floor of Leonardo’s and was a great space to make things that Denny would later fire in the kiln. It is believed that the special kiln was produced in the space because during renovation it had to be disassembled to remove it. This area is now a workshop for exhibit repair and the Education Annex has a kiln room.
Grandpa loved making vases Castle said.
His work was popular and also sold in art galleries. As many artists have done he exchanged art with fellow artists he met worldwide in his travels. His own personal collection had several famous art pieces. In turn his art is spread throughout the country and abroad.
Denny was very generous donating pottery to many local charities and he also made mugs that were sold in the Leonardo’s gift shop. Longtime residents may have some of his work in their collections
It is fitting that Leonardo’s founder Helen Garriott will also be a part of this new legacy because Paul’s Beginning Pottery Class will be taught in the Helen Garriott Classroom. The eight week class is $72 for members and $80 for non-members. It is open for teens age 13 to adult.
Leonardo’s Children’s Museum is looking for inventors! A new exhibit is coming Friday, September 14, designed to excite the minds of young Leonardo da Vincis, Stephanie Kwoleks and Nikola Teslas.
Did you know that the popsicle was invented by Frank Epperson in 1905 when he was only eleven years old. A fifteen year old, Chester Greenwood, invented ear muffs! The inventor of rollar skates, John Joseph Merlin first demonstrated his invention by careening into a party while playing the violin and then crashed into a mirror.
“‘Kid Inventor is a fun way to inspire children to use their creativity and explore possibilities,” said Executive Director Tracy Bittle. “Kid Inventor,” was developed by the Oklahoma Museum Network and funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. The new exhibit encourages children to design, test and build unique creations using a variety of materials and technologies.
Guests are invited to sketch and shape ideas and then in the build area, the design comes to life: a car, a plane, a monster — and beyond — can be built with materials ranging from Legos to string, paper and straws. Finally, inventors can move to the test area to investigate how their creations react to variables like a wind tube, an airstream table, a timed race track or a launch pad.
In the exhibit’s “Tech Studio,” guests can brush up on animation skills, practice coding, and try their hands at sound mixing and engineering, and in “Spare Parts,” creators can build from the ground up with only their imaginations to limit them. This new exhibit replaces the popular Backyard Bugs Exhibit and is included with paid admission. Come play at Leo's today!
It has been a year since Founder Helen Garriott has passed away but she is not forgotten at Leonardo’s Children’s Museum. “She was an amazing person who gave so much to the community,” says Executive Director Tracy Bittle, “Not only is she the reason Leonardo’s started, but as an artist and educator she touched so many lives.”
Her paintings are displayed all around the museum and Education Annex of Leonardo’s and can be viewed by guests but her pottery skills are also legendary. Many people might not have known that she holds a copyright on her “Moon Pots.” She had made thousands of these special pots and they were sold in every country in the world. The original mold for the form had broken so it won’t ever be able to replicate. For those lucky ones that have an original Moon Pot they sure are to be a treasured piece of her one of a kind spirit.
In Helen’s own words she describes that the pots are meant to make you feel as if you are standing on the moon, looking across the blackness of space at the little Earth in the distance. She meticulously hand painted each pot using very fine beach sand in the glaze to give it texture.
The moon pots are a great example of how art and science combine perfectly. Of course her husband Owen K. Garriott is a famous Sky Lab NASA Astronaut and together they established Leonardo’s Children’s Museum more than 26 years ago. It’s an example of how daily art and science activities are carried out at Leonardo’s to provide STEAM education.(Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Helen’s ideas were very forward thinking as the STEAM concept is key in today’s classrooms. Today her legacy continues to impact children and families as the next generation continue to be inspired.
Leonardo's Backyard Bugs exhibit is alive! A part of the exhibit features the Oklahoma's State Butterfly, the Black Swallowtail (papilio polyxenesis). Children are able to see the life cycle from the larva stage (Caterpillar) to Chrysalis to maturity. Recently, two Black Swallowtail butterflies were released by a young guest in the garden at Adventure Quest.
The Black Swallowtail became Oklahoma's official state butterfly in 1996 and is native to the state. Butterflies are a great pollinators for native and cultivated plants and they are fun to watch. This butterfly is one of 180 different butterflies and skippers that have been counted in Oklahoma.
Butterflies are attracted to red, orange, pink, and purple flowers. They also like large petals for stability. The larva stage (Caterpillar) needs certain plants for growing and when they change into butterflies they need nectar plants. Most butterflies prefer full sun and may rest on flat stones to soak up the sun.
Another cool Oklahoma native butterfly is the Monarch. Most Monarch's live 2-6 weeks but the last Monarch life cycle of the season will travel each year to Mexico for the winter. This is an amazing migration with some Monarch's traveling 3000 miles to get to their winter destination. A single Monarch can travel 50-100 miles a day and make the entire trip in two months. Once in Mexico they rest in the Oyamel Fir Trees.
To better understand the migration process, researchers will tag Monarch butterflies and then record in Mexico ones they discover.
They are in need of help for host plants for their eggs and larva. They need milkweed to grow into butterflies. Consider planting one of the many beautiful varieties of milkweed.
Want to attract butterflies to your back yard? Here are some great plants that the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's recommends:
Nectar Plants: Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii); Glossy abelia (Abelia grandiflora); Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)*; False indigo (Amorpha fruticosa)*; Lanatana (Lantana spp.); Engelmann daisy (Engelmannia pinnatifida)*; Indian blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)*; Joe-pye weed (Eupatorium fistulosum); Blazing star (Liatris phycnostachyan)*; Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia); Pentas (Pentas lanceolata); Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)*; Showy sedum (Sedum spectabile); Snowy bergamot (Monarda didyma); Summer phlox (Phlox paniculata)*; Tuber verbena (Verbena rigida)
*Oklahoma native species
Larval host plants and butterflies attracted to them: Trumpet Honeysuckle*……….. Spring azure; Mildweed*………….Monarch, queen; Indian paintbrush …..Bucheye, fulvia checker spot; Sweet clover ………Common, alfalfa and orange sulphers, dogface butterfly; Reakirt’s and Eastern tailed blues; fairy yellow; gray hairstreak; spring azure; Lantana/Thistle#……Painted lady, American painted lady; Parsley/Dill/Carrot…..Eastern black swallowtail; Sweet Alyssum….Checkered and cabbage whites Sunflower (annual)# ……gorgone and silvery crescentspots, painted lady, American painted lady; Lamb’s Quarters*….Painted lady, common and scalloped sootywings, Western pygmy blue Violet*……Variegated and great-spangled fritillaries; American Elm*…….Question mark, mourning cloak, painted lady, comma Hackberry/Sugarberry*….Snout and hackberry, tawny emperor, mourning cloak, question mark; American Plum*….Coral and striped hairstreaks, spring azure, tiger swallowtail; Passionflower*….Gilf and varigated fritillaries; Rose of Sharon…Gray hairstreak; Hollies ..Henry’s elfin; Apple….Viceroy, red spotted purple, gray hairstreak, spring zure
*Oklahoma native species
The 11th annual Leonardo's Messer Bowers Princess Ball is a special evening for Father/Father Figures and their Daughters. This year the royal ball will be at the beautiful 81 Ranch, Saturday, September 29, from 6 pm until 8 pm.
Little girls get to meet princesses, dance and enjoy refreshments. Also each girl will get a treat bag at the end of the evening with a commemorative ticket to save in their memory books of their special night with their daddy.
This popular event does SELL OUT and if interested purchase tickets to ensure your daughter's spot at the ball. Go to the Princess Ball event page to get tickets!
Details to know before you go:
"The quality of lesson plans, teachers and campers has been great this year," says Jamie Smith, DaVinci Day Camp Summer Camp Director. Smith adds that the teachers have really been super creative in their lesson planning. This week is all things Super hero! At the end of the week, Enid Comic Con is being held at the Central National Bank Center and it is inspiring families to get in the spirit.
Some of the fun activities at camp this week include finger knitting super hero wrist bands, glass jar art, edible art and super hero masks. Each day is different at camp. The day begins with play in the museum and also includes some time outdoors at Adventure Quest. There is a healthy snack in the morning and again in the afternoon.
What a great summer of educational fun at DaVinci Day Camp! School is starting soon but DaVinci Day campers made lots of memories at Leonardo's. There is still more fun to do at Leonardo's before summer is finished. So come and play at Leo's today!
DON'T FORGET... starting in August the museum in CLOSED on Monday's.
Also, September 4-13, 2018 the museum is CLOSED for annual maintenance.
Upcoming fun includes: NEW EXHIBIT September 14 Kid Inventor
Princess Ball September 29 6pm --8 pm 81 Ranch
Motor Mania October 13 10 am--noon
Fall Festival October 19 10 am --noon
It is holiday celebration week at DaVinci Day Camp week seven! Each day campers will learn about different holiday's that are celebrated around the world and make fun art projects.
The week started of with the Mexican holiday El Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead. This multi day holiday focuses on the gathering of family to honor deceased relatives.
Other holidays include: Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras, Birthdays Around the World and Christmas in July. Campers made Chinese lanterns, dragons, pinatas, snowman and Mardi Gras floats. DaVinci Day Camp Teachers are Oklahoma state certified and design special lesson plans each week that the children enjoy.
Each day includes time to explore the museum and outdoor play at Adventure Quest. Healthy snacks are part of the morning and afternoon. Friendship is also a part of being in camp.
It has been a fun summer so far but there still is ONE more week of DaVinci Day Camp.
Next Week is Super Hero Week! All things super hero! In celebration of Enid Comic Con which is coming on August 4-5 to the CNBC, campers will explore the Super Hero Universe.