Ann P. Smith turns everyday junk into animal works of art

[ 1 ] October 1, 2009 |

Our kids love making things out of trash and stuff found lying around the house. We keep a box of broken toys and electronics in the closet waiting for a rainy day or their urge to create a robot of some kind. I can only imagine what cool treasures one can find in Ann P. Smith’s studio!

Ann P. Smith, Providence artist and award-winning Rhode Island School of Design graduate takes everyday junk and transforms it into amazing creatures. Bring your children to see her work at the Providence Children’s Museum and chances are they will no longer see “junk” as trash ever again.  On October 1, the Children’s Museum debuts Mechanical Menagerie, a new exhibit featuring eye-popping animal sculptures fashioned from recycled electronics by Ann P. Smith.OctEventsCrane

Mechanical Menagerie showcases a collection of incredibly intricate creatures — lizards, goats, birds, bugs, an antelope, a jellyfish and more — created from disassembled computers, discarded cell phones and other mangled machines and salvaged scraps.  The exhibit will occupy 17 “window boxes” in the Museum’s atrium walkway, inviting visitors of all ages to take a peek at the creatures as they pass by and see what parts they can identify.

Ann received a BFA in Illustration from RISD in 2003 and has exhibited her work in galleries and shows across the country, most recently at The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA and the Ohio Craft Museum.  Her work is also available locally at the risd/works store.

The inspiration for Smith’s sculptures came from a RISD assignment to create a three-dimensional technology illustration.  She was stumped until she found a heap of junk topped by a broken telephone, which she used to make a horse that won her rave reviews and a prestigious scholarship.

Each of Smith’s creatures has a unique personality, thanks to her thoughtfully selected materials and carefully crafted forms.  Her ram sculpture has curled wire horns leading to a body of various gears, springs and other metallic parts.  The use of flashlight bulbs makes her owl charmingly wide eyed, while a computer mouse is ideal for a streamlined sea turtle body and tangled telephone cords and wires make spectacular jellyfish tentacles.  Each creature is inventively labeled with a line of keyboard letters.

Smith’s captivating creations will be on display through January 31, 2010.  As part of the opening weekend, families can drop into the “Creature Laboratory” on October 3 and 4 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM to concoct some curious critters of their own from recycled materials and other funky junk.

The Details

Mechanical Menagerie by Ann P. Smith
on display from Octovber 1, 2009- January 31, 2010
Provdence Children’s Museum – 100 South Street, Providence, RI 02903
(401) 273-5437
Visit Ann P. Smith’s website, www.burrowburrow.com, to learn more about her work and background.For more information about the exhibit and related programs, visit www.childrenmuseum.org.

Creature Laboratory
Saturday, October 3  &  Sunday, October 4 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Kids and families get creative as they explore the Mechanical Menagerie exhibit and invent their own animals, robots and other crazy creatures from recycled materials and funky junk!
Ages: 3 – 11
Cost: Free with cost of admission

Category: local ri area, museums, Providence Children's Museum, special events


Anisa Raoof

about the author ()

Anisa Raoof is the publisher of Kidoinfo.com. She combines being a mom with her experience as an artist, designer, psych researcher and former co-director of the Providence Craft Show to create the go-to spot for families in Rhode Island and beyond. She loves using social media to connect parents with family-related businesses and services and promoting ways for parents to engage offline with their kids. Anisa believes in the power of working together and loves to find ways to collaborate with others. An online enthusiast, still likes to unplug often by reading books and magazines, drawing, learning to knit, making pop-up books with her two sons and listening to records with her husband.

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  1. Elyse Major elyse says:

    very, very cool! (may i say the owl is a hoot!) i think my youngest would find this inspiring. he made me a swan from a paper fastener.

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