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Exhibit Features Possessions Kids Hold Dear

May 2, 2018

Jackson Hole News and Guide Logo

Julie Butler
May 2, 2018

Some Teton County children’s collections are getting their day in the sun — and at a national art museum, no less.

“Kids Collect” is the name of the new exhibit set to open Saturday at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. It features photos of myriad collections by children throughout Teton County and other parts of the country.

The personal accumulations from those who have participated so far include sparkly rocks, toy dinosaurs, shark teeth, Legos and a 4-year-old’s beloved stash, composed of a coffee bean, a pinecone and a rock.

The official opening reception for Kids Collect will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday to coincide with the museum’s monthly, free First Sundays event.

Spring-themed art-making activities will be offered during the reception, along with refreshments provided by Palate, the museum’s restaurant.

From 11 a.m. to noon in the museum’s parking lot, high school students from The Studio Project — a collaborative program between the museum and the Art Association of Jackson Hole — will present a live bronze pouring.

“‘Kids Collect’ is a living exhibit,” said Lisa Simmons, assistant curator of youth and adult education. “Kids ages 16 and younger were invited to submit an image of no more than 10 objects from their collection arranged in any way they saw fit. They also included a photograph of themselves and a short blurb that explains their collection and collecting impulses.”

How children explore their natural environment is often demonstrated in the treasures they decide to collect. To a child the objects are special and represent memories, Simmons said.

“I collect rocks with interesting colors and textures, which I enjoy looking through and arranging,” wrote 12-year-old Clara McGee, of Jackson, about her bevy of stones in the exhibit. “When I look at the rocks, it’s like going back in time, remembering how I found them.”

Simmons said the reason she calls it a “living exhibit” is that kids who might be inspired by it are also invited to submit their own collections to her by July 23. The exhibit will hang until Aug. 19.

“If it grows in the way we hope it will it [the exhibit] has the potential to appear more often at the museum,” Simmons said.

The impetus to create “Kids Collect” was to complement the museum’s “Collectors Circle 20th Anniversary” exhibit.

“We wanted something for kids that would go hand in hand with ‘Collectors Circle,’” Simmons said. “The seeds of collecting are planted when children are young and grow into the collecting passions of adulthood.”

Benton Baker, 5, also from Jackson, collects cardboard artworks.

“I am an artist,” Benton said. “I like to design and build things out of the stuff I find. … I collect my sculptures because I like them.”

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