For me, learning centres were the most daunting part about the eminent project!
Before I even began writing my speech, the thought of having to make a learning centre was looming over my head like a rainy cloud. Yet, like most things, once you actually sat down and just got straight to it, it wasn’t so bad after all. As long as you have a clear idea of what you want to get across, the “how” should come easier.

Through my learning centre, I wanted to somehow portray what Disney movies might have looked like if it weren’t for Mary Blair’s contributions. This was to show how just one person’s idea can change the legacy of a certain company, field, what have you. I also wanted my visitors to get a sense of what the artists process really was, and to communicate as best I can what the artists had to go through the get a final product.

Heres what my final learning centre consisted of:


 

Although I wish I could’ve strayed away from a trifold, I didn’t. It wasn’t a “typical” trifold, however. I had created images and just needed something to display them on, so I went with a trifold.

This was a visual interpretation of what I think Disney movies would look like if Mary Blair never really entered the scene. Obviously, this is just my personal interpretation of it and we can never know for sure, but I wanted people to know how different some of the movies they love would’ve been if it wasn’t for her.
This display shows a screen-cap taken directly from a Disney movie, and next to it is that same screen-cap, but edited. I took those screen-caps and played around with them on Photoshop. I adjusted the saturation, vibrance, exposure, RGB levels, etc. I filled it in with different colours and in some of the photos, I actually took out some aspects of it. Like in the screen-cap with the Mad Hatter, I completely took away the tea cups on the left, took away 2 of the 3 spouts on the teapot, and took away some designs on the plate. It took a lot of work to do this 6 times over, but I think it was an effective way of portraying the impact she made!

Next up, the art stations!

This is was my decided interactive activity, I wanted them to paint! Specifically, paint the parrot that was also part of my learning centre.

The objective of this was to emulate South America, the place where Disney artists took a trip to in 1941 like I mentioned in my speech. Painting parrots is quite literally what the artists did in south america, as I showed in the photos I hung up along the perimeter!

 
 

All three of those parts were all intertwined to work together. The parrot was the artists subject, the art stations were used to paint the parrot, and the pictures that were hung up were actually from their trip to South America! They were there to show you what the artists really did in South America, and I had a large array of photos. Many people were actually very interested in the photos – especially the one with Mary Blair and Walt Disney himself taking a tandem bike ride along the coast of a Brazilian beach! I was glad I could find real photos from the trip after digging through the internet for a while (see #1 in BiBLOGraphy).

I wanted my learning centre visitors to feel like they were part of the team of artists who travelled to South America in 1941, attempting to capture the rare South American wildlife! Visitors were encouraged to take a stab at painting, even if they believed they had “no artistic skills.” I told them art is subjective and can be abstract! Of course, not everyone was up to spend a lot of time and paint at my learning centre, which is understandable. That’s why I had the visual interpretation board set up for people to give a brief explanation on why Mary Blair inspires me and the difference she’s made in the industry.

Explaining why Mary Blair is one of my role models!

I attempted to “recreate” South America in my locker bay to the best of my ability, which equals making paper grass and paper water! This is what the finished learning centre looked like:

Actually, a slight change happened to my learning centre mid-setup! I wanted the parrot to be “flying,” so thank you to Ben for helping me get it up there!
 

So this is what it ended up looking like:

All in all, I was pretty happy with how it turned out. A couple nights before NotN, I was very worried about how my learning centre would end up looking in the locker bay, but it turned out well in the end! Some people really loved the painting aspect, while others just wanted to know about Mary Blair. I’m glad I could offer both the interaction and information at my learning centre.

Of the people who did stay and paint, here are some of the masterpieces!

 
Alumni Jeanie Mao’s INCREDIBLE work of art and a close up!

 
Young aspiring artists!

  
Marie Curie (Christine), and alumni’s Emily van der Veden and Sam Robinson!

 
Maeve (starring in both) and alumni Kathernie van der Velden’s “Fat Birb”

Some were more detailed…

  

While others more abstract…

  

All art is beautiful and I was so happy that people went for it!

I actually thoroughly enjoyed talking to people about Mary Blair and the artist’s experience, as many discussions came up. Some people wondered why I thought that was what Disney would look like without her, some people wondered why she inspired me, some people were just plain baffled about what an animator/concept artist really does and how much they matter. I talked about how the story behind the story is just as important as the final story itself, and that brought up discussions about unappreciation and how many things go unnoticed. When asked why she inspires me, I talked about how she always thought outside the box, and even though she was labeled “idealistic” and “impractical” at times, she didn’t let that stop her one bit. She was the first artist to introduce colours like that to Disney, and they changed all future Disney movies. That really goes to show what one person, one idea, can really do.

Explaining my visual interpretation

Painters painting, listeners listening, spectators speculating

I really enjoyed talking to everyone who visited my centre, and that’s one of the big things I’m looking forward to for next year, we even get to be in character!

To conclude, I had a great experience with my learning centre. From getting people to paint to having discussions, it was a very enjoyable experience. Now that I know how everything really turns out, I’m very excited to apply these new skills to next year’s eminent project!