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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Making Art Together

Mo Willems' The Red Elephant

Last Saturday, a very large, very red sculpture was installed in the Museum's terrace. The Red Elephant, on long term loan by its artist Mo Willems (maybe you've heard of him?), is made of steel and weighs around 1500 lbs.

I won't go into detail about her conception and construction - that story is told very well in pictures on Mo's Blog. What I wanted to highlight is that it couldn't have happened without the collaborative effort of metal sculptor Sam Ostroff, whose design sense is outstanding in its own right. Though Mo has been playing around with welding and metalwork himself, this sculpture was designed knowing Sam and his team would be the fabricators. (photo by Kristin Angel)

Installation of the Red Elephant at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Mo said in a post-installation presentation about The Red Elephant's journey to completion: "You never want to be the smartest guy in the room. You have to know when to get out of the way." I love it when artists share with kids just how collaborative and social the art making process can (must?) be. Mo shared how his work in fine art, animation, theater, and picture books are made stronger when he allows others' ideas and skills to take his ideas farther than he could on his own.

The Red Elephant at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Speaking of collaboration. It was quite the collaborative effort to get the steel pachyderm in place after all the rain made the tow truck stick in the mud. (photo by Kristin Angel)

In the Art Studio at The Carle

And while we're discussing the collaborative spirit that was celebrated last Saturday, let me share some images of the paper maquettes and cardboard sculptures we invited visitors to create for the occasion. Mom and son discussed ways to make this orange piece stand (above).

The Eric Carle Museum Art Studio

Collaborative effort in getting Elephant- inspired cardboard sculptures collage-ified.

the Art Studio at The Carle Museum

This family worked together to turn the one below into dragon. It ended up having 4 mustaches. What I'm now dying to know is how it breathes fire without burning all the mustaches? Family, if you're reading this, please let me know!

Public Art Program- Making Sculptures and Maquettes    



We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 



by Meghan Burch

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 8th, 2011 at 3:18 pm and is filed under By Meghan Burch, Special Events, Every Day Art Program, Sculpture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


Tuesday, October 10, 2011 - 4:35 pm
Thanks for sharing Meghan!!! It looks like everyone had their "creativity caps" on (-: I can't wait to come see the elephant in person.
Wednesday, October 10, 2011 - 5:57 am
She is pretty special! We hope to see you soon, Paige!

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