The Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center

Keyword Site Search

← Back to Blog

Wheel Appeal

Posted by on November 14, 2012

Walking scribbles, live sculpting, toy cars as paintbrushes, peace flags, pop-up tea ceremonies, critters crafted from fallen leaves….these are just a pocketful of our greatest hits from Community Programs this Fall. Perhaps what has most recently been making the MAH go round and round has (literally) been things on wheels. We have noted that our visitors just can’t get enough of activities and projects that involve action—things on the go; things that actually put the MAH into motion.
Wheels in Review:

Tarp Surfing, as seen during 3rd Friday: Art That Moves 
When in the planning phases for September 3rd Friday: Art that Moves, one of our staff members brought up tarp surfing, which originated here in the heart of Santa Cruz and has reached as far as Japan. So, we decided to make waves here in the MAH atrium as some of the founding fathers, Homer Hernard and Omar Etcheverry laid a giant tarp down and facilitated participants in this act that brought out the inner surf in many. People of all ages rode the “gnarly blue” upon skateboards all night long; even a puppy friend joined in on the totally tubular experience. By the end of the evening “Tarpe diem” was the coined phrase on several participants minds.

The Happening Couch as seen during 3rd Friday: Trash to Treasure 
The same night that tarp surfing was making waves, Greg McPheeters, local bike enthusiast, brought over his custom bikes that transport surfboards. He told us about his “Happening Couch,” an old 76 inch long couch that almost saw its end at a Santa Clara dump—until Greg put it on wheels and attached it to a tandem bike. We realized that this would be ideal for our upcoming October 3rd Friday: Trash to Treasure; a perfect representation of repurposing something old into something new, innovative and downright cool. On October 19th, The Happening Couch hit the streets and took 3rd Friday goers on a spin around downtown Santa Cruz. Perhaps the most magical part of the experience was not only the smiles that emerged of those riding the couch, but the faces that smiled back as the couch potatoes rolled by, encouraging onlookers to visit the MAH.

The Moveable Type Truck as seen during October 4th Friday 
When we got word that the Moveable Type Truck wanted to make a stop at the MAH, we were absolutely thrilled. The Moveable Type Truck is a mobile print shop built in the back of an old delivery truck. On October 26th, creator Kyle Durrie parked the print mobile right outside our Front Street entrance, put out her “Print Here” sign, and awaited for our community to come aboard. Kyle not only gave demonstrations on printing the old fashioned way, but carved an extra special lineoleum block in honor of our upcoming Dia de los Muertos celebrations with the personalized line, “MAH: This is Your Museum.” Loads of people lined up to explore what the Moveable Type truck had to offer and learn the basics of letterpress. Kyle noted that she felt something a little different in this community; a stronger sense of openness and willingness to learn this old fashioned technique. “I often don’t find that when I park in other cities,” she said.

And, with that, good news: the Moveable type truck will return to the MAH (stay tuned for dates).

And so it seems the general public responds well when we put a literal spin on things.  With our upcoming Radical Craft Night, you would think we would have something super extreme planned involving wheels. Though we do indeed have some pretty extreme stuff in the works, we must confess that at the current moment: we do not have anything reeling in the wheel department. 

Taking suggestions on something that radically rolls starting now…

  • gasstationwithoutpumps

    I’m sorry I missed the Moveable Type Truck. When it comes back, make sure that all the letterpress printers in town know about it and have a chance to show their work the same day. A show of Santa Cruz letterpress art, including stuff from Lime Kiln Press and Cowell Press, would be great—I think that the Lime Kiln Press archives are in the UCSC Library Special Collections, but the Cowell Press archives are somewhere in San Francisco, and the Acorn press used by the Lime Kiln Press was loaned or given to UC Davis, I think, by librarians at UCSC who put no value on historical artifacts.