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Family Day Activities

Join the MCA Family Day community online

Even though we can’t transform the museum with joyful making this Saturday, we are excited to keep connecting families with inspiring Chicago artists. Join the MCA Family Day community online for special artist-created activities for all ages.

This Saturday's highlight: a live movement workshop!

Family Day Activities video still



Grace, Ione, Marcella, Male, Female

Grace: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to our first-ever virtual family activity. My name is Grace, and I manage family and youth programs at the MCA. In addition to my name, I use "they" or "she" pronouns, which means that when you talk about me, you can say, "They waved hello," or "She waved hello." Today, I'm joined by two wonderful artists who can introduce themselves now.

Ione: Hi, everybody. My name's Ione. I also use "she" or "they" pronouns, and I'm really excited to move with you all today.

Marcella: Hi. I'm Marcella, and I use "she/they" pronouns as well, and I'm really excited for today so, yay!

Grace: It's such a cool thing to be connecting with you all virtually— sorry, as I drop things. We are used to being together at the museum on Family Day, so being together on the internet is new for us, and sometimes doing new things can be kind of scary but we're just so excited to have you all with us 'cause it makes us feel a little bit braver when we do something new. And being with artists is also a really great way to try new things, because being adaptable and resourceful and using whatever situation and materials you have on hand is one of the most important parts of being an artist. So, today in this workshop, Marcella and Ione are going to help us discover some new ways to use our bodies, to use this tool of video chatting, and to use one of our favorite resources —the MCA's artwork—to make art together. So, they'll be inviting us to move our bodies today so, just take a second and look around and make sure you've got a little bit of space to move with us.

We hope you’ll be comfortable, really, just moving in your own space, moving how you want. Do what’s comfortable for you. Go at a pace that is good for you and feels good in your body. We’ll also keep inviting you to chat with us via the chat function, so take a minute now and make sure you’ve got that open.

You can also go ahead and click "All participants and attendees" so that we'll be able—everyone involved will be able to see and write—see what you write and respond. Can we practice? I know we've done a little bit already, but can we practice using the chat together? Can everyone go ahead and share one of your family's favorite things to do together in the chat? So, my family loves going for long walks in the woods.

What’s one thing your family loves doing together? Marcella’s family loves to eat. Wiggling. Great. We’re gonna definitely be doing some wiggling.

Eating. Playing catch. Watching movies. Cooking. You all do some of my favorite things as well.

Board games and puzzles. Dance parties. Oh, wow—looking for birds. Legos. Trains.

Very, very exciting, adventurous families here with us today. Thank you so much. This is so great. Cool. Okay.

So, if everything goes as planned, you should be able to sit back and watch, and we’ll make different screens get big and little for you. If that doesn’t work and you’re having trouble seeing or hearing, you can go ahead and send a message to that boxoffice@mcachicago email that should be at the top of the chat. So, take a minute to identify that if you need just so—yep. There it is. Thanks so much, Casey@MCAvisitorexperience in our chat.

So, yeah, hopefully, we won’t have technical issues but again, we’re all new to this so, just be patient with us if we do have any issues. We’re gonna be recording today’s workshop, just for the MCA’s archives, just so you’re aware. So, with all of that out of the way, I’m very excited to introduce our first activity, which will be led by Ione Sanders. In this activity, we’re gonna warm up our bodies and we’re gonna use an MCA Collection image as inspiration for movement. So, Ione, take it away.

Ione: Hi, everybody. Thank you all so much for joining me. So, today, like Grace said, I'm gonna start off just warming us all up a little bit, getting us all a little bit more situated in our bodies and in our space, and then, we're gonna kind of do some like, funky exploration with our bodies. And the reason I wanted to try this with you all is because I'm a dancer, but the dance that I do isn't just like, normal like, ballet or jazz or things. It's called "improvisation."

And what you do with that is, you move your body and you explore new things as you’re dancing. So, I won’t be teaching you any specific ways to do something with your body and instead, I want us to all explore together. So, if that sounds fun, I hope you’ll really enjoy what we do next. So, just to get started, let’s all go into our space a little farther away from our screen and find a place where you feel really comfortable. And once you’re there, I’ll give you just a second to get situated and then, when you’re ready, let’s all take a big deep breath together.

Ready? And we can even hold the breath in with our fingers. So, we’ll go deep breath and then hold it for a second, and then blow it out and let down your hands. Okay. Let’s do that two more times.


All right. So, one way that I really like to start dancing and getting in touch with my body is by wiggling. So, whoever wrote "wiggling" in the chat as something your family likes to do, you all will be pros at this. So, let's start out with just our fingertips. So, let's all hold our fingertips out in front of us and just wiggle just the tips of your fingers—really tiny little wiggle, just with the edges of your fingers—and now, make it a little bigger and start wiggling your hands.

A little bit more wiggle. Maybe now, you want to start wiggling your wrists. It’s kind of growing a little bit. It’s getting bigger and more wriggly and now, as my wiggle’s getting better, I’m starting to wiggle my elbows some more and whoa, now my head’s wiggling, now my shoulders.

So, let the wiggle travel into your body a little bit. Maybe you want to like, jump around a little bit. You want to wiggle up high and then wiggle down low and then, now, let’s wiggle in a circle. Big wiggle. And then, let’s wiggle together.

All right. And stop. All right. So, now, hold your hands up for me one more time. Hopefully, everybody’s feeling a little bit more connected to their bodies now.

And now, this is another thing that I really like to do that makes me feel really connected to my body. I’m gonna take my hands nice and flat like this—like I’m clapping or giving someone a high five—and I’m just gonna pat my whole body. I’m gonna start with my arms, maybe the back of my neck, top of my head, my chest and my belly, my hips, the back of my legs, my knees—good morning, knees. My legs. Even my feet.

Even say "Hello" to the bottoms of your feet. Back to your knees, your cheeks. Make sure you're being gentle. All right. Now, let's take one more big deep breath and let it all out like a waterfall.

All right. How's everybody feeling? A little bit more connected? All right. So, now, if everybody can see on their screen, there's this picture of this weird dog-thing, and this is a drawing made by an artist, Tony Phillips, that's called Hour Came Round at Last.

And I really like this drawing because it’s kind of funky. Like, it looks kind of like a dog—something that’s a little bit familiar. But then, the rest of the body, that doesn’t look like a dog that you’d see just like, walking down the street, does it? So, what I wanted to do with this picture is see if we could try, all together, to try and make some different parts of this dog. So, we can use our whole bodies, but I thought it might be easiest if we just start with our hands.

So, I think—and for this whole portion, you can follow along with me if you want or, if you want to explore in some other way that’s really interesting to you, feel free to do that. But if you want a little bit of guidance, just follow along with the parts that I’m exploring. So, let’s see. In this picture, one of the things that I noticed first is the ears are these funky little cones. So, I’m gonna take my hands and I’m gonna turn them into those little dog ears, and if anybody has a dog or has seen a dog before, have you seen how sometimes, when a dog hears something, their ears perk up and they kind of turn them towards whatever they heard?

So, everybody, let’s make some dog ears and then, if there’s a sound in your house that you hear, turn your dog ears. I hear something over there and over there and listen to the sound. And maybe your dog ears are just floating around in space or maybe you want to put them right on your head so they’re like your ears. All right. I bet everyone’s having so much fun with this.

All right. So, next, let’s try a different body part. Can we all be the feet? So, let’s start off—maybe I can have my feet be the feet but I kind of want to still use my hands. So, I’m gonna take my hands, I’m gonna stick ‘em down like these dog feet and then, ‘cause they’re feet, they walk us around.

So, I’m gonna let these dog feet walk me around the space a little bit. Over here and over here and then, it’s gonna pull me over there or maybe I’m gonna back up a little bit and then come up close to you. All right. Let’s try something else. So, let’s do one more normal dog body part one and then, we’re gonna do something a little funky.

So, let’s be the mouth next. Can everybody figure out how to make a dog mouth? So, let’s see. This one’s kind of round, so, I’m gonna do it with my two fists like this and look around like a little dog face. And has anybody ever heard a dog bark before?

Can everybody—so, all together, we'll open up our dog's mouths and we'll make some dog barks. Ready? One, two, three. [Barking and growling] Whoa. What did your dog sound like?

Kind of funky like a small dog or a big dog? Maybe you have a dog and it’s barking, too. So, all right. Let’s take our hands—they’re not dog mouths anymore—and now, we’ve just been using our hands for these parts—or at least I have—but now, I really want to try to make the body of the dog. And for the body, it’s kind of hard to figure out, at least for me, how to do that with my hands.

Maybe like, some weird thing like that. But let’s try to do that with our whole bodies, okay? So, I’m gonna go back here. I’m gonna try to be that weird long tail-torso thing. So, however you want to do that.

And remember, for this whole thing, we’re just exploring together. So, you don’t have to have like, the right answer for how to make your body look like that dog ‘cause I think that would be kind of impossible, unless you had like, a costume. So, just explore ways that you could be that weird lumpy dog tail. So, right now, I’m kind of picturing that I’m like, the inside of it. My arms are going all the way to the end, and then, it’s lumpy up above me.

So—’cause everyone’ll push these lumps around them and then, maybe we can make like a big tube—that’s the outside of it. However you want to explore. Whoa. All right. So, are you all ready for a challenge?

So, this is the last thing that we’ll try to do and for this part, you can pick whatever parts that you want, but try to be two different parts of the dog at the same time. Okay. Ready? So, let’s see. I’m gonna try to be one of the ears and one of the feet.

And you can use your hands or your whole body. So, let’s see. I got one of the ears up here, and then one of the dog feet, and I’m just gonna walk around. And while you’re doing this, just think about what feels fun to do with your body. ‘Cause that’s really the whole reason we’re doing it.

So, if you find something that feels kind of fun, just stick with it for a little while. And then, later on, when we can talk to each other, I would love to hear about what you discovered. So, now, I’m kind of the body of the dog but I still have one the ears sticking up here and now, my leg’s sticking out. I just think it’s fun to explore. All right.

So, now, everybody wherever you are just freeze. Are we all frozen? All right. So, now, let’s melt our bodies out of being a dog like that, and then wiggle back up and now, we’re people again. Welcome back to being a person.

That was a little bit exhausting—at least for me. So, just to close out my part and then, we’re gonna switch over to Marcella and she’s gonna show us this really cool other thing that she’s been exploring, but I would love to end with a big group high-five. So, everybody, if you’re in a space with somebody else, find that other person—I’m just gonna high-five myself—and then, on the count of three, we’ll all high-five together. Are you ready? Okay.

One, two, three [Clap]. Awesome. All right. Thank you all for exploring with me. And now, while we switch over, we thought it would be really fun if, in the chat, you all could tell us what you think that weird dog-creature—what could its name be?

So, show us some of your ideas and our other friends are gonna hop on with us and then, Marcella will show us something.

Grace: Thanks, Ione. Dog-snake? The creature is "Ralph." Horatio. Wow.

These are great names. Very— Bubbles the Hedgehog. I’ve never seen a hedgehog that looks like that but it’s a pretty cool looking hedgehog you gotta say.

Ione: Slug pug.

Grace: Slug pug. Yep. That one's great. These are great names. Thank you so much, Ione.

That was awesome. I feel like I really connected in a totally different way to that drawing through your presentation. So, thank you. This is so fun. I feel like we’re really getting an opportunity to be artists and like, explore what is unique and weird about this video-world that we’re in these days.

And I know, Marcella, you’ve got more right up that alley for us so, it’s your turn to guide us through an activity, and we’re gonna be playing with more works from the MCA Collection, right? And more functions of Zoom video, yeah?

Marcella: That's right.

Grace: Cool. Take it away.

Marcella: All right. Hey, all. Yeah. I've been Zooming a lot so, one of the things that I've noticed about it is some of the—like, the technical aspects of it. So, I'm going to be playing with some of that.

So, often, when we come to the museum, we have to abide by certain rules with the work. We can’t run in the space or touch anything. And today’s different, because you’re gonna still see the artwork and be able to interact with it, but with the rules of your home, not the museum. So, I’m at home right now where I can definitely like, run around or do whatever I want, and I’m not necessarily worried about hurting any of the artwork. So, using the virtual background feature in Zoom, I’m going to explore a work by Sanford Biggers.

And this work is actually up right now at the MCA—not that we can see it, but we're gonna see it here. And the work is called Quilt 24. And then, at the end of the program, we'll have a moment for everyone to play with the virtual background features as sort of like a jam session. So, you'll be able to download the images and explore them as well. But for now, you're gonna take a look at my screen and I'm gonna show you Quilt 24.

All right. Okay. We're seeing a little piece of Quilt 24. Many of you probably know what a quilt is—you know, it's like a textile that has been sewn together in different patterns and often used as a blanket. But this one is on a wall. Maybe you and your family have quilts.

So, it’s sort of interesting to think about this one being on a wall rather than it being flat on a body. So, what colors are we seeing just right off the bat? What colors are we seeing in this sort of image that’s on my body? Red. Grace, do you want to call them out?

Grace: Sure. I see black. Somebody sees red. Blue. Brown, white, and blue. Yellow. Orange.

Marcello: I’m gonna put my hands up so we can reveal a little bit more of the quilt.

Grace: Yeah. I see a lot of orange. We're really drawn to that orange. Green. When you move, we can see the green and pink. More orange.

Yeah. A couple of different types of orange. White.

Marcella: I'm gonna flutter my arms.

Grace: Yellow. Yeah. There's a corner of yellow. Everyone's surprised by the yellow in the corner.

Marcella: I'm gonna touch two corners and see if they're similar. Are these two corners the same? Are we seeing the same thing in both of the corners?

Grace: Tan. Black and white throughout.

Marcella: I'm gonna be a straight line. Let me shuffle from side to side.

Grace: Moss green—ooh, very specific.

Marcella: I'm gonna be a straight line so we can see across. We can see that the black and the white goes along lengthwise. Okay. So, I'm gonna try to wiggle throughout the whole screen so you can see as much as possible and I want you to think about a few things during this part, okay? I want you to think about what patterns are repeated and which ones are not.

Okay? So, what patterns are repeated throughout the whole quilt and which ones are not and just in specific sections, okay? So, I’m gonna wiggle and you can tell me through the chat what parts you want to see more of. Can we see all of it?

Grace: The left. They want to see more to the left.

Marcella: Great. Okay.

Grace: And we're mirroring you, yeah?

Marcella: So, is this your left?

Grace: That's our right.

Marcella: Ah. Well, that's why it's difficult to see the left.

Grace: So, we're seeing flowers for the first time.

Marcella: Hm-hmm. Oh, there we go. Right here, we're seeing sort of the lining of another body. You see that? A river.

Yeah. Okay. Let’s move on to another image. So, in this other image, it’s a painting by our Chicago friend, Kerry James Marshall. And maybe you come to the museum when we had a retrospective for him so—where there were tons of paintings on display.

This one is called Souvenir 1. A souvenir is a thing that is kept as a reminder of a person, place, or event. It's a link to our memories. So, I want everyone to go—I mean, we're in our homes, right? So, to go and grab a souvenir, okay?

Go find an object that is important to you, that helps you remember something. I have an object here. It’s a little school that’s made out of felt and we recently got this on at trip to Mexico City and I gave it to my friend for their birthday. So, it helps me remember a place and then, like a good time that we had together, and it makes me think about them. Okay.

Hurry and go grab an object. That’s me being you—like, going and grabbing something—and then, come back. When you have an object, a souvenir, then, we can continue. Okay. So, hopefully, you’ve gotten something.

I know I didn't give you a ton of time, but we're gonna move on to the next image. Okay. So, here's the Kerry James Marshall Souvenir 1. I'm inside of this room now and I'm in someone's house full of their own objects—similar to your own house. And the thing that's interesting about homes is they tell a lot about us.

Just like my object here. This painting, if you can see up here, it says, "in Memory of." So, not only is it a home and a room, but it's also a memorial. It helps us to remember things and to remember people. So, I'm gonna walk around this room a little.

I'm gonna notice right here, we have an angel. Back here is a little bookcase. And over here, we see another memory that says, "We Mourn Our Loss" and we're seeing Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, and John F. Kennedy. Also, if we go up here, we can see other people that we are mourning. There's like, angels up here.

I’m going to try to find a place to put my object in this room. I’m gonna put it here with the angel. So, let’s spend a little time in this room. Let’s take a seat on the floor. And I’m gonna sit cross-legged, okay?

And we’re gonna take a little moment to remember and to think about our own memories and about what it feels like to be here in our homes. Let’s move our head back and forth just a little bit. Now, we’re gonna drop our head and turn all the way around to the other direction and then, the other direction again. Let’s put our hands up and then, sort of wiggling my fingers and letting them slowly come down to this space—back up and now, I’m gonna pull right here. I’m gonna breathe in really deeply and hold the breath inside my lungs—hold—breathe out.

Let’s do it again. Breathe in. Breathe out. Now, I’m going to lay here, okay? So, let’s find a nice place to lay on the ground.

And I always like to bring my knees up and then, we can roll. My object is right here. I can see it and I’m still in the room, just rolling a little bit. Good. Come up.

All right. Thank you so much for moving with us and for spending some time with us and to look at these images a little bit differently. I really like the Kerry James Marshall piece, partially because it’s such a big painting and it is a memorial and it does make us think about the history of our country and some of the things that have happened here that have been really intense. And maybe that’s something that we’re thinking of now. But it’s also like, something that—it’s a little intimidating, ‘cause it’s so big and important.

But, right now, we can actually sit with it. We can sit with the painting inside of our homes. Thank you guys so much.

Grace: Amazing. Thank you Marcella, and thank you Ione, and thank you everyone who moved along with us today. As we close out, we'd love to hear in the chat how are you feeling now? Maybe one word about how you're feeling in your body after exploring these artworks and exploring your space a little bit differently. So, go ahead and type in the chat, you know, one word that you're feeling in your body.

And that's the end of our sort of formal workshop, but if you want to stick around with us, we're gonna put up some instructions on how to download some MCA artworks as virtual backgrounds in Zoom and then, we're gonna invite you all to join—folks who are interested to join via video chat and we'll just have like, a video chat jam session. So, if you're interested in sticking around for that, you can let us know by raising your hand. And how you do it—raising your hand like this—but in this case, virtually raise your hand by clicking—you'll see the "Participants" button at the bottom of your screen and then, there's an option within that that says, "Raise your hand." So, if you raise your hand, then our moderator will know that you want to come in with your video on and then you can follow the instructions on the screen to follow that—copy that Google browser link—that Google link into your browser and it will take you to a folder with the images and instructions on how to turn them into virtual backgrounds. And then, we'll just hang out for a little bit and play around.

So, yeah. Just take a few minutes. Let us know if you want to join with video. We’ll hang out and do that. Otherwise, again, thank you all so, so, so much for experimenting and exploring with us.

There are more activities created by our incredible artists for you and yours on our MCA Family Day Activities "Event" page. So, go ahead and check it out there. Specific shout out to participate in our virtual Creation Labs. So, we've got a prompt about making a still life in your window. So, if you make a still life in your window, you can post that to our Facebook event page and then we'll see all the awesome visual artwork that folks around the city are making with us today.

So, again, raise that virtual hand if you want to join us by video and otherwise, hang out—go out into the world and explore. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Ione: Hi, everybody. So good to see you all.

Grace: Wow. People are joining. That's so cool. Amazing. So cool.

So, now that we can see and hear you all, if you want to download virtual backgrounds, you can. You can also ask our artists questions. Here we are, sharing virtual space, figuring it out. [Laughs]

Marcella: A Pikachu object.

Ione: Wait a minute.

Female: A Pikachu. Oh, Pikachu.

Grace: Wow. Look at that aurora borealis. That's really cool.

Ione: Oh, wow.

Male: This is us right there.

Grace: Is that Finn on the beach?

Female: Yes.

Grace: Did anyone else grab special souvenirs when we were looking at that Kerry James Marshall painting?

Male: Yeah. What did you get?

Female: Me?

Male: Yeah.

Female: I got these birds from—they're from when I played my first violin concert.

Ione: Oh. That's cool.

Grace: That's so great. Oh, look at that. Look at that mural. That's great.

Marcella: You guys are on the beach.

Grace: Hazel and Daphne, you've got one of the—the big mural that's up in the museum right now and because, in my mind, that mural is like, three stories tall, suddenly, you all are giants. It's like, three giant people in front of a huge mural. That's pretty cool. Oh my gosh. The giant's coming to eat me.

Marcella: I really like this one that Chelsea has of someone's face. That one's really funny, too.

Ione: Who is that?

Marcella: It's great.

Grace: Have you all tried—we were playing with changing—like, manually selecting which color is the background. So, that's how Marcella is getting just her body to be the artwork. Have you all tried that?

Male: Yeah. Let's try.

Grace: Sometimes, when I do virtual backgrounds, my Zoom dies so, I'm gonna try it, but I might get kicked off. I'll just come back on if that happens.

Male: Now, we're grass.

Male: Pikachu, use thunderbolt.

Female: I wish I could see these kids. Somebody had their own image.

Grace: Gretchen, is that a tiny bird? Is it a woodpecker?

Female: It's Pokémon.

Grace: Oh, goodness. Clearly. Clearly, I'm behind the times.

Female: I don't know where my other Pokémon is. I lost my other.

Marcella: Ione, are those your windows in front of the artwork?

Ione: Yeah.

Marcella: Whoa.

Grace: Oh, look. The MCA building.

Female: Why if only we could be there.

Ione: Hmm.

Grace: This is super fun. We're just gonna keep this Zoom link open as long as folks want to be playing around and asking artists questions. So, if you all have any questions for Marcella or Ione, please, jump in.

Male: I have a comment and a question for—well, comment for both artists, which is just how incredibly enjoyable it was to experience this workshop with both of you. And all the choices that you made felt really important and caring and inspiring. And I wanted to ask you, Marcella—I think of myself as an artist, but I'm always looking at the work of other artists and I'm just amazed by their choices, and I was amazed by your choice to use the virtual background function as a part of your movement workshop. And I think, for me, as an artist, I'm just—sometimes, I feel so narrow-minded, and it's so exciting to bump up against the work of another artist that can show me a new perspective. I don't think it would have occurred to me to be so daring as to not only do my first virtual online movement workshop, but to then make this wonderful choice to pull in the technology. And I wondered—what inspired you to do that, make that choice?

Marcella: Yeah. Totally. So, there's definitely like, two factors, which is—I've been in on a lot of meetings, and specifically with my friends because this is now like, a really great way to connect with other people. And so, my friends and I have been making this one as a joke where everyone like, collects photos of everyone on the same couch and so, I've been thinking about that. But I think also, the thing that's hard about Family Day now is that we're not together and that we're not in the museum.

So, I really wanted to still connect it to the artwork. And the Kerry James Marshall, I think, is like, really important to me as far as someone who worked at the MCA because we own it, right? And it’s just an important piece of work and I just think that like, being able to connect with things—that’s what I was kind of hoping to do with this program, you know? To move, sure—I think it’s important to move—but to not feel like one’s homes is a prison, right? It’s a fun place where we can still look at artwork and we can still be together.

Male: Yeah. Well, and then, something like both of your presentations is the way you helped us to connect to artwork [Audio breaking up] So fun.

Female: Okay. Say what you want to say.

Female: Is the microphone on?

Female: Yes.

Female: Okay.

Female: Say it.

Female: I just wanted to say something about the background—was that when you're on a Zoom with me and my friends, one of my friends—they took a screenshot of another person and they changed their tag to that person's name so, we didn't know which one was actually that person and which one was the fake and it was so funny.

Marcella: Yeah. Totally. I love that. Right? Even now, if I do a screen capture, it can collect everyone that's here right now.

Okay. Reach to get your picture taken? Five, four, three, two, one. [Click] There we are.

Grace: The Connie Meyer family—will you all tell us about the painting that you're holding up?

Female: Sure. We are actually Chicagoans who live in Montreal this year and like many, many cities, people are putting rainbows in their windows and this is a rainbow piece that I actually have been working on because I have much more time on my hands these days. So, we put together pieces of recycled materials and made a rainbow that's going up in our window today.

Female: Wow.

Grace: That's awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that.

Marcella: Thank you.

Grace: Have other families been making rainbows? Have you all been making rainbows? I might make a rainbow today. I'm inspired by that—to make a rainbow.

Female: Sidewalk. I made a rainbow on the sidewalk.

Grace: Awesome.

Female: I wanted to make it out of permanent marker.

Grace: And that was—a different decision got made on that one? Someone decided it should be in chalk and not marker?

Female: Unfortunately, that was the day it poured rain.

Ione: I've really been having so much fun with all the hopscotch that's on the sidewalk these days 'cause I'll just be like, walking along and then, I find a hopscotch and when you come across hopscotch on the sidewalk, you have to do it. So, then, I'm just walking along and then, all of a sudden, I do a little hopscotch, and then, I just keep walking. And it's great that so many people are out there like, drawing with chalk, 'cause it makes me feel like, much more connected to people 'cause I miss like, hanging out. 'Cause I work with like you all. I work with kids on the time and I don't get to like, hang out and play with kids right now.

And so, it’s nice to just like, play a little bit with somebody else’s hopscotch sometimes.

Female: I made a hopscotch temple.

Ione: Whoa. What does that mean?

Female: It's basically like a hopscotch thing, except for whenever you have to jump, you have to jump over things—and I colored those to look like alligator pits. So, it's like a booby-trapped temple.

Ione: Did anybody fall into an alligator pit?

Female: I think Lars accidentally stepped in it.

Ione: Are they okay?


Female: They just got chalk on their shoe.

Ione: Oh. Whew. That's lucky.

Male: I want to make a curtain out of cloth.

Grace: Wow. A curtain?

Male: I'm a little—

Grace: That's so cool. Are any other folks learning new skills, learning how to make things out of—we've been making some stuff out of recycled materials, making stuff out of cloth. [Break in audio] —baking a lot of bread.

Male: We have a lot of homemade bread and today, I learned how to make art with a video background on my Zoom so, that was pretty cool.

Grace: Awesome. See, I'm really loving the Mika Rottenberg. That feels like, very in her world to be there. That's very good.

Male: If you all have on your screen the dark boxes—

Male: I like spaghetti block chains.

Female: His favorite is Spaghetti Blockchain. We had to go see it about four times.

Ione: I miss that one. Yeah.

Grace: Yeah.

Ione: Whoa. Two Pikachus.

Marcella: That's incredible. Three Pikachus.

Female: Pika. Pika, Pika.


Male: One thing that's—I don't know. Do you guys have—I had a bunch of gray boxes with names with no video in them and I wasn't enjoying those so much so, I clicked on one of them and I was able to hide them all so now, I just have this great grid of just your wonderful faces and artworks and homes coming into our screens. So, that's kind of a cool view if you don't have that one.

Grace: Yeah. This is great. It's like a—like a Zoom art making workshop like, studio. We're just figuring out all the things. Oh my gosh. [Break in audio] So intense.

Marcella: Paul also has that one, right, where it's a video, right, of you coming in?

Male: Oh, yeah.

Marcella: That was so intense.

Male: That was really scary.

Male: Don't warn anybody, okay? [Laughs] It kind of takes a minute.

Marcella: You have to call your brothers.

Male: Hey, can someone give me a hand? Hey. Oh. Okay. Say "Hi" to everybody. He's shy. Yeah.

Grace: Paul, I feel like that that needs to be our next workshop—is how to multiply yourself in video.

Male: How to [inaudible] yourself.

Grace: Yep.

Male: With this other one.

Grace: Amazing. Well, it looks like most folks are sort of signing off for lunchtime so, you might be—it might be time to say "Bye" and to go back into the non-virtual world. Thank you all so much for joining us.

Male: Thank you.

Marcella: Yeah. Thank you everyone for—

Female: Thank you.

Ione: Bye everybody. Please [Break in audio].

Female: Guinea pig.

Female: Guinea pig.

Ione: Whoa.

Marcella: Oh, my goodness.

Ione: That's a great one.

Marcella: Thank you everybody.

Male: Thank you.

Female: Thank you.

Male: Great job, everybody.

Marcella: Oh, is it just Matt now?


Grace: It's [Inaudible]

Female: Yeah.

Marcella: That was so good, you guys.

Male: Oh my God.

Grace: Happy people were coming [Inaudible].

Female: So fun.

Female:[Inaudible] and I accidentally got moved into the—

Female: What? Oh, you were the moderator?

Female: I was just like, "Whoa. The teacher—I'm the monitor."

Female: Yeah. It was really fun. Thank you for doing this.

Grace: Thanks for participating.

Male: Yeah. Thank you.

Marcella: I thought it was really fun. I guess we'll debrief at some point on Tuesday or whenever but—

Male: Thumbs up to everybody on the call. The work bored—.

Male: That was a lot of fun.

Female: It was so great, y'all.

Male: Great work everybody.

Marcella: Thank you so much for all the added—.

Grace: The function really worked super well.

Marcella: Yeah. It just like, was such a team thing to even figure out any of the technical parts so, thank you so much for making it really seamless. I mean, when it was actually happening, I was like, "Oh, I'm not nervous about this." People understood what's gonna happen. So, thank you guys so much.

Male: Yeah. Thank you. It was great.

Female: Yeah. It was so great to actually be able to like, welcome visitors into our virtual space. I'm so glad that—and Marcella, you pushed for like, actually being able to interact. It was so cool.

Marcella: Yeah. It really went so much better than I thought because like, yeah, having that interaction's so nice and I think—like with the questions or the camera at the end, it really allowed people to like almost move beyond their house, right? So, like, we all got to be together, which is like, the best part of the museum anyway. So, that was awesome.

Male: And I thought the little workshop at the end was really [Inaudible due to someone’s poor audio]. It was like, really nice to have some participation and playing around at the end. I thought that totally worked. So, good call on that.

Male: Was this—I believe this was our first use of the Zoom in that forum for public programming.

Male: We did—yeah. I mean, for public programming, we used it for the virtual drag story time for Georgie's event on Friday but even that was a little bit—it was kind of a more contained scope than this. Definitely. This is the first kind of like, larger scale thing.

Female: It felt more like we were in a community 'cause I could tell that there were other people in the room. Like, the virtual story time, it just felt like I was watching a video.

Male: Right.

Female: Even though I knew it was live.

Male: I was also really, really [Inaudible due to poor audio]. Every time I've ever worked on a play, it really felt—we've got [Inaudible due to poor audio].

Male: Yeah. It's virtual theater. It's a brand-new world. Wild.

Grace: Yeah. It's exciting. It's good to know that from and attendee's perspective, it felt—it felt more live or more interactive.

Male: Yeah. The chat really worked well.

Grace: Cool. The chat was—


Marcella: Especially when you helped read it out too, Grace, to keep things moving—that was really helpful.

Male: Yeah.

Grace: Yeah. I did crack up in the beginning. I was putting it just to panelists. I was sending it just to panelist.

Male: A lot of people did that. That's like, just one of those—that was the majority of people who were attendees were doing that at the beginning, I notice. That's something that we need to—is this something we learn? Just like, how do we communicate that to people to send it. But I think it worked by reading it out—even things that were just going to panelists. You were giving them that experience back so that they were still getting it.

Male: Yeah.

Male: It was great.

Male: I gotta say, too—I'm married to someone who is A, a professional theater maker with serious credentials and B, a super critical viewer of everything. I love everything; she loves nothing. She loved this and she was really impressed. So, if you could make Sonja impressed, you've done a huge thing.

Grace: Thanks, Sonja.

Male: Yeah.

Grace: Oh, we [Inaudible], David?

Male: Oh, yeah.

Male: Thinking about summer.

Grace: Yeah. I mean, I really felt like—I felt different in relation to the backgrounds and like, Marcella seeing you explore those paintings did feel like, "Oh, you can kind of transport people through this like, virtual background function." So, I'm excited to play with that more. Like what does it look like to have people specifically Zooming with like, MCA backgrounds?

Male: Totally. I mean, yeah. It's really fun, too, because it feels like theater but it's also something that's very specific to the technology that we have right now, which is like, really fun and exciting. Like, it's something that really can only exist in this little Zoom world because it's like, that specific technology. So, just exploring what we can do like, that way—from a performative standpoint that makes it unique, I think, is super cool. So, that was what I was thinking about watching it.

Marcella: Yeah. And I think also, like, since we already have the full collection and all the images and the rights to those things, then they become something that's really easy for artist to—at least in my point of view—to sort of ping off of. Like, it was really inspirational to me to see some of those things, right? Because initially, I wanted a specific Duro image but like, Grace sent me all of these and these were kind of perfect. And also, with Ione's image as well—they're like, really—there's just such a wealth of the collection to like, be inspired by.

Male: Yeah. I have to say, I mean, I'm not shy to share this with people that aren't in the learning team—I went into today really nervous. Just wanting it to be—and I think I said this to you, Grace—just to have some semblance of that kind of connectedness and fun that we have on Family Day for real. I thought, "If we can just get a little bit of that, we'll be winning." And I felt like we had a ton of it. As a family who was participating at home in my living room with my kid and my wife, I felt super there and wow, what an achievement. Just bravo. I'm so excited.

Grace: Thanks, Billy.

Ione: Awesome. Thank you.

Grace: And Marcella and Ione for your creative leadership and Kendall and Matt and Kasey and Steven and Paul—everybody for your technical [Break in audio] 'cause it was crazy to figure it out, but now, it feels like, "Oh, we can do this." Like, anyway—

Female; We can.

Grace: We can do it.

Male: Yeah. Totally. Yeah. This is gonna be like, second nature to us in like, a month so—

Female: Oh.


Many thanks [inaudible] and rewarding.

Female: I really loved that you opened up so much, too, at the top, Grace of just like, "It can be scary to do new things." It just felt really—you know Billy saying—it felt connected. I think the three of you leading us through it, you started there. It was beautiful. Yeah.

Grace: Awesome. All right. Oh my God. Who's behind you? That is really creepy.


Female: It's a ponytail.

[Crosstalk and laughter]

Male: It's virtual insanity.

Female: Now, Gretchen's gonna have a lot to go back to school with.

Grace: Yeah, Gretchen. Right?


Yeah. Let’s do a big high-five.

Female: I wasn't a part of the team doing it, but as an audience member.

Male: Yeah. Precisely. High-five.

Male: One, two, three.


Grace: Look. Gretchen found a really good filter.

Male: Whoa.

Male: Whoa.


Male: Wow.

Grace: Gretchen, I like your style. All right. Thank you all so much.

Male: All right. Thank you all. Great work.

Female: Have a great weekend, y'all. Bye.

Male: Bye.

Free Street Theater

Water Stories

Explore how artists think about the importance of water, inspired by Water After All. Try out artist-made conversation and activity prompts.

Watch a special video with Katrina Dion and Isabella Coelho about how Free Street Theater artists are sharing stories about water.

Family Day Activities video still


Water Stories, with Free Street Theater’s Katrina Dion and Isabella Coelho for Family Day Activities, 2020.


Find downloadable worksheets and activity guides below.

Download the Activity's Worksheet!

Download an Activity Guide for Water After All

Art For Windows

Wolfgang Tillmans, German, b. 1968 Window Caravaggio, 1997 Chromogenic development print Sheet: 82 ½ × 54 ½ in. (209.6 × 138.4 cm); framed: 86 5/8 × 58 ½ × 2 ½ in. (220 × 148.6 × 6.4 cm)

Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Joseph and Jory Shapiro Fund by exchange, 2006.13 Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Watch a recorded conversation between members of the MCA Learning community sharing their responses to this prompt.

The Commons Online

People gather under the ceiling light planters in the MCA Commons.

State Matters Midterm Election Watch Party, 2018.

Photo: Patrick Engman.

The Commons Online is a digital space where we can connect as a community. Discover new events, discussions, and learning resources weekly.

Family Activities

Find some of our favorite Family Day activities for all ages that you can do at home on the MCA blog. Keep an eye out for new activities posted weekly while the MCA is closed.


Support for Family Programs is provided in part by the MCA Women’s Board Family Education Initiative.