Above: artist Sonja White with a miniature model of one of Wingding's many components


Sacramento, Calif. – November 6, 2017– It’s not every day that a major museum invites young visitors to touch and shape its art installations, much less climb on them, but that’s exactly what the Crocker Art Museum offers with its newest Art Spot, Wingding. Created by Sacramento artist Sonja White, Wingding beckons children and their caregivers to step inside a giant, wooden, geometric landscape that encourages learning about the basic elements of art through play.

Funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and First 5 Sacramento, the Crocker’s Art Spots program features immersive installations designed for children age 5 and under and their caregivers. Each Art Spot is created by a different artist or team who has spent up to a year participating in the Crocker’s ongoing early childhood program. During that year, the artists and teams have worked collaboratively with Museum staff, early childhood advisors, and with each other to gain a thorough understanding of children’s developmental needs as they design and create their installations. A parent and teacher as well as an artist, Sonja White is known for her work with Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera’s See the Music, Hear the Art children’s program as well as her series of symmetrical sculptures called Resonant Round. As she conceptualized Wingding for the Crocker, White took inspiration from nature and geometry as she created an installation that fills the Crocker’s light-filled Weborg gallery.

Above: Sonja White prepares a section of Wingding in her Sacramento art studio

Wingding, which debuts at the Crocker on November 19, is comprised of sculptures made of hundreds of wooden shapes ranging from one to eight feet across. Children can build, stack, and spin the shapes to create their own 3-D patterns on the walls. When viewed from eye level, the art can be appreciated from one perspective. But White has taken the experience into another dimension, placing mirrors on the ceiling of the Crocker’s Weborg gallery, to reveal the new form created overhead. As the children and caregivers design their own patterns and interact with each other, they naturally engage in what White describes as the highest form of creating.

“Children have many different types of learning styles where some are true creators, some are builders, and some are kinetic learners who need to move through something to understand it,” says White. “While Wingding is designed to appeal to individual types of learners, it also brings them together as they communicate using the universal language of geometry. I hope children will feel as though they have climbed right into the lap of a sculpture and know that it is made for them.”

Above: a section of Wingding takes shape inside Sonja White's art studio

A rich aesthetic experience, Wingding also creates opportunities for parents and caregivers to connect in new and meaningful ways with their youngsters as they ask them questions, share, and wonder together. Like the Crocker’s other Art Spots, there are even elements for babies to enjoy.

"Art museums are for everyone, and works of art like Wingding really help make this point,” says Crocker Art Museum Director of Education Stacey Shelnut-Hendrick. “This installation is engaging on so many levels and each visitor, child or adult, will see it differently because each person brings a different experience to it. That’s what’s wonderful about art!”

Wingding will be open from November 19, 2017 through March 4, 2018. (Another Crocker Art Spot, Tot Land, features the giant sculpture Dreamboat and is currently open and ongoing.)

Wonder Lab: Wingding
Sunday, November 19, 11am-1pm (DROP IN)
Join us for a special edition of Wonder Lab celebrating the grand opening of the Crocker’s fourth interactive Art Spot, Wingding. Be the first to explore Wingding and meet the artist Sonja White. Enjoy drop-in art-making activities and hands on play. Children with learning and developmental disabilities and their families are especially invited. Visual resources, sensory toys, and a quiet space will be provided. Wonder Lab is presented in collaboration with the Crocker Art Museum’s Art Access Committee.

If you would like to connect with Ms. White or any of the Museum educators involved with this project, please contact the Crocker's media relations associate, Karen Christian, at 916-808-1867 or kchristian@crockerart.org

The Crocker Art Museum features the world’s foremost display of California art and is renowned for its holdings of European master drawings and international ceramics. The Crocker serves as the primary regional resource for the study and appreciation of fine art and holds permanent collections of Californian, European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art, works on paper, ceramics, and photography. The Museum offers a diverse spectrum of exhibitions, events, and programs to augment its collections, including films, concerts, studio classes, lectures, children’s activities, and more. The Museum has also dedicated the historic building’s entire first floor as an education center, which includes four classrooms, space for student and community exhibitions, the Gerald Hansen Library, and Tot Land. More information about exhibits and programs at crockerart.org or (916) 808-7000. The Museum is open to the public Tuesday – Sunday, 10 AM – 5 PM and Thursdays, 10 AM – 9 PM. The Museum is closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Every third Sunday of the month is “Pay What You Wish Sunday” sponsored by Western Health Advantage.