Staff Favorites from the Art Education Collection

Sisters in Link by Charles Bibbs: Five women dressed in red with patterned skirts and colored tights looking at each other with their arms linked.
Sisters in Link by Charles Bibbs

by Emily B.

October is National Arts & Humanities Month, so I decided to ask my Central Branch teammates about their favorite artists and art works from the Art Education Collection. Here’s what they had to say:

April and Wendy love Van Gogh. April’s favorite work is Starry Night. She appreciates “his colors and his unique brushstrokes. You definitely know a Van Gogh when you see one.” Wendy’s favorite work is Farmhouse in Provence. She says, “I’ve always loved Van Gogh because of the bright colors he used, the soft focus, and the imperfect, rustic style. His work is very emotional.”

Angela and Rita are big fans of Charles Bibbs. Rita applauds Bibbs’ “powerful cross-cultural statements,” “the [breathtaking] colors and details,” and “[his promotion of] African American culture.” Angela’s favorite piece is Sisters in Link. She enjoys “the bright vibrant colors of the dresses of the piece, and the dramatic flair of the ladies’ poses,” as well as how the ladies appear “full of life and joy.” She notes how Bibbs creates an “illusion of movement.”

Brandon loves the Art Education Collection. His favorite piece is San Francisco Cable Car, Rain by Judy Reed. He says, “It captures the essence of the Bay area, [the beauty] of Northern California, and illustrates the significance [of] the cable car transportation system.”

Cherise and Angie enjoy Ernie Barnes. Angie’s favorite piece is Uptown Downtown. She was instantly hooked on Barnes when she saw Marvin Gaye’s I Want You album cover, which features his most famous piece, The Sugar Shack. She describes his art as “kinetic and mesmerizing” and continues, “The painting is in constant motion and makes you want to know more about the people in it, where they are going, and where they have been.” Cherise favors Sam & Sidney from Barnes. She says, “I wonder what they are talking about and hope that they are being open-minded in their debate. I am intrigued by the dialogue that Barnes is creating between an African American artist born into a segregated culture and his subjects from a very different background.”

Floral mosaic with a yellow flower, green leaves, and bright blue accents.

Lami’s favorite piece is Carol Murray’s photograph entitled Baltimore Cookie House Tour. She says, “The piece evokes feelings of comfort and peace for me. The intricate mosaic design…brings to mind being curled up near a fireplace with heat from the flames gently lulling you to sleep.” Lami appreciates that this piece gives her the opportunity to admire both the photographic technique and the mosaic work.

Hannah enjoys the mystery of Yasuo Kuniyoshi’s Little Joe with Cow. The painting is a great source of debate among Central teammates, Hannah explains. “Do we find him creepy or cute? How did the cow become triangular? Who keeps putting him back in storage instead of on display?!” Hannah looks back at Kuniyoshi’s life: “[he] immigrated [to] the U.S. [from Japan] at age 16, was never given full U.S. citizenship, and was placed under house arrest following the attack on Pearl Harbor.” She notes that, “while this artwork was completed 18 years prior… I believe these aspects of Kuniyoshi’s childhood and adult life in the U.S. shed new perspective on little Joe – a small boy in a dark atmosphere leaning on his cow for support.”

You can find (and borrow) your favorites at Central and Glenwood Branches.

Emily is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Central Branch. She enjoys reading, listening to music, and re-watching old seasons of Survivor.

New Ways to Play at Glenwood

View of children's area of HCLS Glenwood Branch, featuring bright, colorful tall whirligig and three play stations.

By Alastair S.

Recent visitors Glenwood’s children section may have been surprised to be greeted by a beautiful ten-foot beautiful ‘whirligig’ flower. The moving construction, which children can set spinning by turning a cog at the base is one of series of new spectacular, interactive learning installations designed and delivered by the Burgeon Group. Burgeon specializes in creating child-centred works of art that also function as play experiences. This approach be seen not only in the large-scale whimsy of the new whirligig flower, but in the powerful appeal of the three large interactive large ‘seed-pod’ play centers, which also invite children into the space. Young learners can wander between the attractive panels that make up the seed pods, exploring textures, colors, and sound. They can look through kaleidoscopic insect eyes, make frogs jump, recreate nursery rhymes, turn dials to create a story, play with magnets, thread patterns, and otherwise touch, move, and discover a host of other details.

Young boy wearing a white shirt and a mask climbs through a opening in a bright green play station wall.

HCLS takes seriously the idea that play is crucial to children’s learning. These gorgeous inventions installed at Glenwood welcome customers into an area that is already buzzing with activity. The space not only boasts a range of toys carefully selected to encourage learning across the entire curriculum, but also includes our popular Builders’ Barn. The Builders’ Barn is a space for children of all ages, stuffed with easily accessible resources such as paper, card, tissue, recycled materials, fabric, wool, popsicle sticks, glue, tape all waiting to be used for the creation of whatever you’d like to create!

It’s such a pleasure to walk through the Glenwood children’s place and see customers spending a morning enthralled by books they’ve discovered in the collection, deeply engaged in imaginative play with a toy farm or train track or absorbed in sticking the legs back onto whatever amazing creation is emerging from Builder’s Barn. Now we have wonderful constructions enhancing all of this and adding an audible chorus of “wow!’ as customers come in and see it for the first time. Drop by – we’re having some serious fun over here!

A little girl with a explosion of a pony tail peeks at herself in a convex mirror on a play station wall.
Alastair S. is the Children’s Instruction and Research Supervisor at HCLS Glenwood Branch. Originally from England, Alastair has worked variously as an international kindergarten teacher, political report writer, ghost tour guide, and librarian. He has two children, two cats, and a very patient wife. 

Glenwood Children’s Classes Starting Again!

The picture shows five young children from above, at a long table coloring pictures of moose and trees. Each child has a coloring sheet and there are four containers of crayons on the table.
Children enjoying coloring sheets at Glenwood Branch.

By Alastair S.

Classes are coming back to Glenwood Branch! While renovations in the branch are ongoing, we are nevertheless able to bring back classes to our freshly refurbished Pindell Meeting Room. Starting next week, here’s what we have to offer:

Little Learners (3 – 5 years with an adult)  

Mondays; 10:30 – 11 am 

Fun stories, songs, and activities for pre-schoolers that spark curiosity and support learning. 

3..2..Fun (2-3 years with an adult) 

Tuesdays; 10:30  – 11 am 

Develop school readiness skills through stories, songs, and activities. 

Play Partners (infant – 23 months with an adult) 

Wednesdays; 10:30 – 10:50 or 11 am 

Stories, baby games, and musical activities. 

All Together Now (all ages) 

Fridays & Saturdays*; 10:30  – 11 am 

Stories, songs, and activities for children and adults to enjoy together. 

*Note: All Together Now on Saturday will start on Sept 11.

Space is limited to 50 people, and tickets are available 15 minutes before the beginning of class. Come to the front door of the Glenwood Branch and follow the signage to reach the entrance for classes. If you have any questions, call us at 410.313.5577. We’re excited to see you there! 

To keep track of these and other, upcoming classes, please check