Kids’ Corner is the Museum’s family space on the lower level where visitors can relax, play, and interact with an original work of art by the Museum’s biennial Family-in-Residence.
The new installation, “Who Hears Twell Van Dunder?” (Who here is 12 and under?) is an artist-made space designed and created by the New Jersey-based Smith family. The Smiths transformed Kids’ Corner into a colorful enchanted forest where visitors wander on paths winding around giant trees which contain tiny displays of magical places and original music by the Smiths. The installation also includes a shimmering, sequined fish pond where children can sit on lily pads and “fish” with magnetic poles; stool-sized mushrooms encircling a fabric campfire; and a plush bird’s nest perfect for curling up with a book. A gigantic sheepdog named “Twell Van Dunder”—the main character of this imagined space—greets children along the path. The walls of the space are covered with sunset murals and trees painted by the Smith children, Lilly, Ida, and Lukas. Tiered seating is available in the back of the room, where the Museum’s popular Friday morning story-time program, Glory of Stories, takes place.
“Who Hears Twell Van Dunder?” is the latest installation in the Family-in-Residence program, which invites local families to conceptualize, design, and install the entire Kids’ Corner space. The Smiths also created the beloved 2017 installation “Lenny the Ice Cream Man,” which included a life-size ice cream truck, giant ice cream cushions, and an illustrated wall-magnet story.
“Our intention was to turn upside down the current social pressures of children growing up too quickly,” says Daniel Smith. “We wanted to celebrate childhood as the destination—to encourage children to enjoy life and preserve the moments of wonder, play, and imagination that come with being a child. Additionally, we would love for teenagers and adults to remember how to play, imagine, and ask “what if”, the tools that might have gotten lost in the process of growing up.”
“The newest installation by the Smith’s is truly a joy to behold for all ages,” says Saralyn Rosenfield, the Delaware Art Museum’s Director of Learning & Engagement. “In addition to the playful sensory-oriented interactives, the overall atmosphere is transformed by the color-filled walls, lighting scheme, and folk-like sound.”
“Who Hears Twell Van Dunder?” is a two-year installation that will be open until summer 2021. It is open to the public during regular visitor hours.
ABOUT KIDS’ CORNER
The Museum’s interactive children’s space, now known as Kids’ Corner, was created in 1987 when the Museum opened a new wing. The space was significantly refreshed during the Museum’s 2005 expansion. The Family-in-Residence program, begun in 2016, is the first known program of its kind at an art museum with a children’s space. So far, the Museum has hosted four Family-in-Residence installations, including: Kaleidoscope Cove by the Volta Family, Lenny the Ice Cream Man by the Smith Family, and Creative Power by the Silverman Family. Families interested in applying for a future Family-in-Residence program can email Saralyn Rosenfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kids’ Corner is supported by the Pollyanna Foundation and Phyllis and Buddy Aerenson. The “Who Hears Twelve Van Dunder” installation was also supported by Mannington Floor and Quality Finishers. This program is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.