How Avery Dennison Film Made for a Special Interactive Art Experience

Friday, August 19, 2016 8:19 am PDT

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Craig Grabhorn, Community Arts Specialist, John Michael Kohler Arts Center

This Spring, we had the honor of welcoming Sonja Thomsen to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center for a three-week stay as an Exhibiting Artist-in-Residence (ExAIR). She has a unique approach that combines photography, sculpture, interactive installation and site-specific public art.


Thomsen’s ExAIR stint from mid-March to mid-April included working with school groups and museum visitors to share her artistic process, along with delivering a lecture on “Artists in The ARTery” and a “Friends of Art” talk. Her workshops encouraged attendees to create dream sculptures, which featured a variety of specialty, translucent and reflective Avery Dennison vinyl films. Avery Dennison was kind enough to donate four different rolls of film to support her work and interactive activities.



“We workshopped with nearly 400 students, exploring abstract geometric forms and how they reflect and refract light,” said Thomsen. “The four types of vinyls were used in a multitude of ways. They were so dynamic!”

Specifically, Avery Dennison donated a roll of SF 100 Specialty Film Brushed Chrome, UC 900 Ultimate Cast Light Control White 60% Diffuser, UC 900 Ultimate Cast Light Control Film Blockout Black and HV 1100 High Visibility White Reflective Film. One of the many ways Thomsen used the donated vinyl was to create a shadow wall with overhead projectors. Students and museum visitors were able to photograph the shadows they created with the vinyl films.



We were very pleased with the turnout for Thomsen’s residency. We hosted four schools from the area, Jackson, Kohler, Chapel and Wilson Elementary Schools. 380 kids visited with school field trips, and 213 visitors attended Thomsen’s two open studio days. Thomsen’s workshops in The ARTery, a creative space open to the public, were explored by over 1,000 kids and adults in total.

The groups that completed the workshop were enthusiastic about making their own artistic expression. Part of our mission at the JMKAC is to encourage artistic exploration, and this particular residency was a great opportunity for our community to do just that with Thomsen.

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