This past week I went to see the newest exhibit at the Heard Museum, Super Heroes: Art! Action! Adventure!
Walking into this exhibit you are greeted by the message "Be Inspired." The exhibit is more than just a collection of superhero paraphernalia, as it inspires children, families, and visitors to explore various possibilities, like what if superman was Cherokee? Dr. Ann Marshall, Director of Curation and Education at the Heard Museum, says "Our overall wish for this summer experience is to create a place where children and adults can talk together about what makes a superhero and think about how people can find the superhero in themselves."
Marking the entrance of the gallery are a number of familiar characters. Life-size superhero-superstars such as Green Lantern and Batman mark the entrance like sentries welcoming guests into the cheerily colored gallery. Wrapping through the space on most of the walls, this exhibit displays large graphic art stories. As you're working your way through the gallery you catch up with Super Indian and his talking dog companion, Diogi, written and drawn by Arigon Starr; meet the average teenage boy turned into the super powered hero Kagagi, written and drawn by Kay Orlick; or read about real heroes such as the Navajo Code-talkers and Po'Pay with their stories converted into graphic novels.
My favorite thing about this exhibit was the representation of female super heroes. When I asked Dr. Ann Marshall about this she said, "It was impossible for us to explore superheroes without encountering women", and that shows in this gallery. There's representation of Lynda Carter's Wonderwoman, 'Pueblo Girl' by Susan Folwell, and the main character of a featured (and interactive) game 'Never Alone' is a young Iñupiat girl named Nuna who travels with her pet fox.
Besides getting a chance to play 'Never Alone', two major draws in Super Hereos for children are the chances for kids to become super heroes. Kids can begin their superhero adventure with a paper cape making craft table. Cape on and after reading through the easily 'kids-translatable' graphic novels, check out an interactive game that places an animal on a large screen to be their companion and follows their movements- a great photo op!
As you leave the exhibit, and into the rest of the museum with two other children's areas: consider what makes a hero and what type of hero would you be?
Dates & Times: Saturday, May 16, through Sunday, Aug. 23. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. 6-10 p.m. First Fridays.
Admission: $23 for adults; $18.50 for seniors; $12.50 for students and children ages 6-12; $5 for children under the age of 5 and American Indians; free for museum members and children younger than 1.
More Information: 602-252-8840, heard.org.