Amazeum Maker in Residence, Amanda Willshire, Creates Unique Interactive Sculpture
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (December 7, 2018) — It’s a bird. It’s part airplane. It’s equipped with mock back technology; it’s the Incredible Electric Technicolor Mockingbird! See it at the Scott Family Amazeum starting on December 15!
The Scott Family Amazeum unveils the first-of-its-kind interactive sculpture in Northwest Arkansas on Saturday, December 15 at 10:00 am on the Amazeum grounds. The public is welcome to attend this free event.
The Incredible Electric Technicolor Mockingbird created by Denver, Colorado, Maker Amanda Willshire is the first permanent work on public display to come out of the Amazeum Maker in Residence Program. The 12-foot long, 14-foot tall, 5-foot wide sculpture of the Arkansas state bird made from steel and upcycled aluminum aircraft parts features interactive “mock-back” technology. This technology, with support from Fayetteville maker, Eugene Sargent, enables people to provide verbal input into the sculpture that returns as a digitally enhanced audible feedback.
The sculpture will be installed outside the Amazeum at the Northwest end of the parking lot where it can be easily accessed by the public. LED lighting incorporated in the sculpture will illuminate the Mockingbird after dark.
“This is the first really large scale project to come out of the Maker in Residence Program and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome,” said Amazeum Executive Director Sam Dean. “We launched this program to develop bold, creative ideas that allow for our community to participate in the works themselves, and Amanda’s Incredible Electric Technicolor Mockingbird certainly fits that bill - or beak, as it were.” The Maker in Residence Program is funded by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation.
Community involvement helped bring the Mockingbird to life. Guests at Tinkerfest, the Amazeum’s one-day celebration of making and tinkering, on October 6 added a personal touch to the sculpture by chemically treating metal feathers for the sculpture. The treatment, called bluing, adds an iridescent sheen to the metal in sunlight. “We want to make sure that this work is accessible to the community who helped create it,” Dean said. “I hope people recognize that it’s more than a sculpture; it’s an expression of creativity that shows how the maker movement unites makers and community members to integrate science, technology, engineering, art and math and build something unique, and we think in this case, uniquely us.”
Amanda Willshire is no stranger to the Bentonville art scene. Two large scale works are already on display in the city - Monarch and Dandelions along John DeShields Boulevard in Orchard’s Park and Sassy the Sasquatch emerging from Park Springs Park at the corner of Tiger Boulevard and Northwest A Street. Both sculptures make extensive use of upcycled and recycled materials.
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About the Scott Family Amazeum
The Scott Family Amazeum is a hands-on, interactive museum featuring Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) activities for families. Located at the intersection of J Street and Museum Way in Bentonville, the Amazeum experiences include a climbable tree canopy, indoor cave, the 3M Tinkering Hub, Hershey’s Lab, Nickelodeon PlayLab, the Market sponsored by Walmart and nearly one acre of outdoor space. For more information about the museum, visit amazeum.org.