On Friday, June 30, 17 kids from the Art School’s summer Art Camp piled into the Doris Duke Theatre with parents in tow. The first-, second-, and third-graders wore paper lei—after all, they were the celebrities at the world premiere of their stop-motion animations that they had worked on all week. The lights dimmed, and the fruits of their labors were revealed on the big screen. What was the parents critics’ consensus? Well, maybe they’re biased, but during the screening you couldn’t go five seconds without laughter or an applause break.
The project was led by Art School instructor Hannah Craft (yes, that’s her real name). Craft, who has been with the museum for two years, says the idea for the project came from an outreach initiative the Art School did at Ewa Elementary School. “The school asked us to do stop-motion animation,” says Craft. “It’s something that I’d never touched before, and I was concerned because I wasn’t that knowledgeable about the process or technology, but the kids pick it up so instinctually. Seeing how excited they were, and what they were able to accomplish so quickly, made me want to try to integrate technology more in other classrooms, especially since it’s becoming more commonplace in contemporary artists’ practices.”
To create the animations, the kids used an iPad app called Stop Motion, and secured “locations” throughout the museum—including Roy De Forest’s Dog Bench in the Palm Courtyard.
“They totally loved it, they think stop motion is like magic,” said Craft. “They didn’t grow up with film, or know how real video cameras work—they didn’t understand the concept of a ‘frame.’ All they had to do was take pictures, and the app automatically strung them together to make an animation.”
The project introduced kids to more than just photography, they also got to experience character building—literally and in a storytelling sense. Kids created their own characters out of paper and developed stories around them, and once the animations were finished, they narrated their own films.
While the big-screen theater run of the shorts was a one-time limited run, we here at the museum managed to secure an early copy of the DVD. Here’s a sneak peek.