Artist Zoe Crosher’s exhibit at the Aspen Art Museum, LA Like: Prospecting Palm Fronds, is an investigation of impermanence. We see representations of the last remnants of what will slowly fade with age: the fronds of the palm trees that are nearing the end of their life spans in Los Angeles. Cast in bronze, they are delicate reminders of the gold prospectors sought in California or, taken with a wider vision, what we can mine for in our own environments, be they physical, psychic or otherwise.
The point is there is art inside the mere happenstance, in this case the inevitable fall of a frond from a tree and the organic material inside the sculpture. The thoughts and subsequent creations these notions can evoke are the goals of the Aspen Art Museum’s Family Workshop on Saturday called “Palm Tree Holiday.” The hands-on program offers each participant a chance to decorate their own ceramic palm tree ornament and create their own piece of lasting art.
“The workshop is inspired by Zoe Crosher’s exhibit,” says Michelle Dezember, the Aspen Art Museum’s learning director. She explains that in the casting process the fronds disappear just like the trees are disappearing from L.A. “There is this interest in what is disappearing and what images we hold dear to our imagination.”
For the participants of the workshop, casting their own memories onto the ornaments is the creation process.
“They’ll go see Zoe’s work and have a conversation with our educators about what they want to remember and hold on to and what they want to create and share with someone as they decorate,” Dezember says. Artists can think to themselves about what they don’t want to disappear in their lives as they make their ornaments. Or not.
There is a sort of collaboration that can happen between an exhibiting artist and a local artist just prospecting for ideas at a workshop like this.
“There are chances for connections between all the exhibits,” Dezember says. As people walk around the museum, they may find inspiration to bring to their own work. She notes, “Each exhibit has interesting pathways that connect one to the other.”
Over the years, the connections people have made, to the art or to the museum or to each other are significant.
“We think about these workshops as being intergenerational, so it gives parents or grandparents a model for conversations and questions about curiosity, and we hope they will come back on their own time and explore the art.”
Family workshops have been a staple of the AAM’s programming since the building opened on East Hyman three years ago, and although they are geared toward children, Dezember says everyone is welcome to come.
“I have a friend family,” she explains. “Come with your chosen family. We have two educators who can respond to the needs of our participants. It’s really about making art accessible and available without judgment or hang ups.”
Aspen Art Museum
Saturday, Dec. 23