The Children’s Museum of Tacoma just got a bit more playful. A recent art donation by Clara Ladd in memory of her late husband, Lakewood businessman Ottie Ladd, adds to the museum’s imaginative, colorful aesthetic: Two outdoor sculptures, one a whimsical red metal horse, the other a crazily-colored flat cow, were installed last week in the museum’s newly-acquired outdoor playground.
“We feel so lucky to have these,” said Brenda Morrison, the museum’s deputy director. “Here in the museum we often talk about being ‘ish’…the sculptures both have that aesthetic.”
“Daisy” the cow and “Wildfire” the horse both have the quality Morrison refers to – an aesthetic that goes beyond the figurative and realistic and into a world of imagination where games and objects can be interpreted a myriad of different ways. The museum’s mission is to use this design concept to encourage imaginative, rather than prescriptive, play, for optimal child development and enjoyment.
With a yellow outline and a maze of Jackson Pollock-colored squiggles inside, “Daisy” looks like how a child might imagine animal anatomy. Made by Israeli artist David Gerstein, whose public art is found worldwide, she was bought by the Ladds in 2007 to live at their Olalla ranch. Now she stands bolted to a steel track under the trees in the museum’s outdoor playground, a former day care garden which the museum has just gotten access to for its preschool and special programming.
In front of her stands “Wildfire,” also from the Ladds’ ranch and made by Frederick Prescott: a giant, thin metal horse in poppy red with Alexander Calder-like lines and a kinetic head that bobs in the wind.
While the playground will not be publically accessible, the museum is celebrating its opening with a member reception next Monday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., where members can blow bubbles, launch water rockets and enjoy the sculptures. Clara Ladd will be present.“(This donation) is a windfall,” Morrison said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to activate our outdoor space for our littlest visitors.” The Children's Museum of Tacoma is at 1501 Pacific Ave., Suite 202, Tacoma. Entry is pay-what-you-can. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. 253-627-6031, playtacoma.org.
Rosemary Ponnekanti: 253-597-8568 email@example.com