Charting the Imagination: Exploring Place - DuPage Children's Museum

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Charting the Imagination: Exploring Place

May 2, 2019

Charting the Imagination: Exploring Place

By Jess Graff, DCM Artist-In-Residence April – June 2019

For me, Naperville is all new. As an artist and educator from Oregon, I’m still finding my way around here. We grownups often think about maps and charts as a way to make sense of where we are; we habitually think of static representations of places, streets and architectural features laid out in linear proportional grids. For children, the possibilities are more endless. Children make sense of their surroundings through tactile experiences, movement, imagining, and telling stories. They could tell you how to get to grandma’s house, where bugs go, who’s in their family, or how to make an ice cream Sunday all in pictures.

Through my time here at DuPage Children’s Museum, I want to hear and see all of those stories and the ways that children can map their existence in this big beautiful world we live in, and more specifically this community. I’m listening as they tell me about their drawings and then creating my own next to theirs. We’re inspiring each other, adding to pictures and colors that other people have painted, creating artwork that includes the mark making of even our very youngest visitors.

As we collect these ideas, stories, drawings, paintings, and patterns, I’ll be finding ways to incorporate them into final art pieces. They will be layered, sometimes made of many materials. For me it is a joy to see what the kids will add next and a delightful puzzle to discover how to add it into our final projects. I’m learning and growing right along with everyone else. I hope to meet your family in the studio and see what you’ll add to our artistic community!


Join Jess in The Studio:
Thursday, May 2 – Monday, May 6 | 9:30 – 12:30
Wednesday, May 15 – Thursday, May 16 | 9:30 – 12:30
Saturday, May 25 – Sunday, May 26 | 9:30 – 12:30
Thursday, May 30 – Saturday, June 1 | 9:30 – 12:30
Saturday, June 8 – Sunday, June 9 | 9:30 – 12:30
Thursday, June 13 – Friday, June 15 | 9:30 – 12:30
Thursday, June 20 – Saturday, June 22 | 9:30 – 12:30


About Jess:

Jess Graff has been working with children and community programming in the Pacific Northwest for over 13 years. An artist and certified Playworker, Jess has participated in numerous gallery shows and residency programs at schools, art centers, museums, and a correctional facility. She has recently worked as the Artist in Residence Manager at Portland Children’s Museum, the Curator in Residence at Vancouver City Hall, and as a Teaching Artist with the Arts Center of Corvallis. Articles authored by Jess have been included in publications across the nation. She has also had the pleasure of presenting at arts and education conferences on the topics of creativity, collaboration, equity, and the power of play. She is passionate about creating equitable classroom spaces and artworks that invite people of all ages and backgrounds to collaborate and communicate together. As an artist with both Western European and Middle Eastern heritage, Jess draws inspiration for her artwork from her personal history, the natural world, and from moments of shared creative exploration with the families she teaches.