Out & About: Let your creativity loose during Bad Art Night

  • Megan Coleman made this collage at the Howe Library's last Bad Art Night. (Courtesy of Megan Coleman)

Valley News Correspondent
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

HANOVER — Give a kid some crayons or finger paints and chances are they’ll dive right in, without a hint of self-consciousness.

Give an adult a bunch of art supplies, and they may say, “Oh, no, I can’t. I have no talent.”

Somewhere along the way to adulthood, many people begin to doubt their creative abilities. A teacher or parent may have criticized something they made.

Or they simply fell short of their own expectations and decided making art was not their strong suit.

Participants will have the opportunity to abandon their self-imposed expectations and just have fun at Bad Art Night, a free workshop from 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, at the Howe Library. No artistic skills are required and pre-registration is not necessary.

Can’t tell the difference between bad art and good art? That’s fine. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to create, at least not at this workshop, according to Megan Coleman, outreach librarian and programming coordinator at the Howe. Any material is acceptable — with the exception of glitter (keep reading for the reason why).

The library will provide art supplies, along with snacks. At the conclusion of the evening, prizes for the best bad art will be awarded.

Coleman offered more information on the workshop in an email Q&A.

Q: What’s the definition of bad art?

A: It’s intentionally impulsive, silly and imperfect. It’s made from materials that may or may not be of high quality. It probably doesn’t have a message or a specific point of view.

Q: Why make bad art?

A: The term “bad art” can bring up negative connotations for sure, but I’m using it in an ironic way. It’s easy to feel pressure to be perfect and be successful. But it’s OK to be imperfect! If you can put those perfection expectations aside, you can enjoy the creative process and have fun.

Q: What kinds of materials will you have available?

A: Oh, I have all kinds of stuff you can use. Canvas panels, cards, paint, paper, discarded books, colored pencils, markers, stickers, googly eyes, glue, photo corners, yarn, ribbon, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, stamps, ink, crayons, scissors. I’ve banned glitter, as our custodian works extremely hard — I don’t need to make his job harder than it already is!

Q: Will participants be asked to explain their creations, or give them titles?

A: They don’t have to explain them, but they should give it a title.

Q: On what criteria are the prizes awarded? Do you take a vote?

A: I ask attendees to vote for their top three artworks on slips of paper. So it’s up to the attendees (to judge) what is so bad it has crossed over into good.

Q: What happens if someone inadvertently creates something good?

A: It could happen, and that’s OK. Who knows what happens when you combine bubble wrap and paint and discarded books? It could be so bad it’s good!