AstroZone: An Interactive Arts Exhibition now open to the public

Arkansas News

EL DORADO, Ark. (02/01/20) — The Astrozone in the Murphy Arts District of El Dorado is officially open to the public.

The interactive art exhibition includes immense inflatable pieces. These works have been featured nationally and internationally. The Murphy Arts District partnered with the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville to bring the art to El Dorado.

Kids that were seen there today said it was a magical experience that they will never forget.

“It looks like rainbow clouds. It looks like where a unicorn lives,” Henlea Stevens said. “It’s just very artistic and colorful. I love it.”

You can visit the Astrozone for free until April 4. Monday’s are exclusively for school tours but the public is welcome to stop by Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

AstroZone: An Interactive Arts Exhibition coming to El Dorado

EL DORADO, Ark. (01/23/19) — An interactive art exhibition is a little over a week away from making its first debut in El Dorado.

Claire Ashley is the mastermind behind the display that will feature a room filled with immense and colorful inflatable art pieces.

She is from Edinburg, Scotland but has been in Chicago for the past 26 years. She came for graduate school at the School of Art Institute of Chicago and now teaches classes at the art and design school.

Her work has been featured at galleries in Chicago and Boston and she also has an online portfolio. Most recently, her inflatable pieces of art were featured at the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville.

“They invited me to put in a proposal for the Murphy Arts District,” Ashley said. “They were looking for an artist to come in and take over this black box music hall venue.”

That’s exactly what Ashley has done. El Dorado’s Murphy Arts District First Financial Music Hall has turned into an art gallery. It will feature Ashley’s work from February 1st until April 4th.

“This is the first time that Crystal Bridges has collaborated with any organization,” MAD Education Manager, Gay Bechtelheimer said. “They really felt like El Dorado was the perfect match.”

If you think this is just for display, then think again. There’s an educational component from literacy to the arts. MAD will give students tours three times a day for schools. Over 6,00 students will have a chance to view the exhibition and then write about it on-site.

“It is a literacy project that is integrated with the exhibition,” Bechtelheimer said. “They are from areas across our region from Ashley County to Lincoln Parish.”

Ashley has already been interacting with students who are interested in the arts. Louisiana Tech students received a behind the scenes look and was able to have a small group dialogue with her about what it took to design and install the inflatables.

She will also visit students at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia to do a workshop on how to turn inflatable materials into works of art.

Ashley hopes the art will spark an inner awakening in others.

“I really try and preach what I practice in my own making which is not that everybody makes the same thing but that everyone pays attention to their own inspiration, their own experiences and their own cultural relationships.” Ashley said.

The exhibition will be on display Feb. 1 through April 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 pm. at El Dorado’s Murphy Arts District First Financial Music Hall. Monday’s are reserved for student tours only.

It is a free and kid-friendly display.

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