Pre-Visit Activities

Before your Kaleidoscope visit, guide your students through some visual thinking strategies.  Encourage them to observe art in different forms and engage their imaginations.  Discuss different types of art forms with your students. Is art something that you draw on paper or paint on canvas?  Can art be something that you shape or mold with clay?  Can art be something built with wood, glass or steel?  Can an art piece be designed by more than one person?  Is art static or can art be something that moves?  Challenge students to communicate what type of feelings art provokes.

A few art pieces are visible in the blocks surrounding Kaleidoscope.  Before your students board school buses let them know to watch for these art sculptures as they approach Kaleidoscope:

“Triple Crown” an outdoor sculpture by Kenneth Snelson located at the intersection of Main Street and Grand Blvd.  This sculpture is an intricate study of physics and form.  Each of the three arches is composed of stainless steel tubes held together by tension; there are no nuts or bolts!  What would your students use to construct standing art?

“Shiva” an outdoor “stabile” sculpted by Alexander Calder, one of America’s most honored sculptors, is located on the southwest corner of Grand Blvd. and Pershing Road. outside the Westin Crown Center Hotel.  The orange-red stabile, a mobile that doesn’t move, is named for the Hindu god of destruction and regeneration.  Shiva is usually depicted as a dancing figure with two or four extra arms. Have students share thoughts about what this sculpture looks like to them.

A statue of George Washington on horseback as he appeared at Valley Forge is located in Washington Square Park on the northwest corner of Grand Blvd. and Pershing Road.  The sculpture was crafted by Henry Merwyn Shrady as an exact replica of his sculpture in Brooklyn, New York.  How does this type of art connect us to history?

“Bringing the Pieces Together” is a sculpture located east of Hallmark’s Innovation Center on Gillham Road.  This two-piece sculpture, which consists of a single piece standing alone and a double piece designed to look like two interlocking puzzle pieces, is constructed of Cor-ten steel.  This steel has a natural weathering quality so it has taken on a natural rust finish that serves as a protective coating.  Gordon MacKenzie developed the idea for the piece and others assisted in the design and final construction.  The puzzle pieces represent a concept that all ideas combined can be more important than any single person’s ideas. How can teamwork be helpful in accomplishing a goal or task?  Discuss ways that collaboration can be helpful in problem-solving issues.

Liberty Memorial, the nation’s only World War I monument, is located south of Union Station in Penn Valley Park.  Its shape is based on an Egyptian pyre.  The pyre is surrounded on four sides by guardian spirits that represent patriotism, honor, courage and sacrifice.  At night, the top of this structure emits steam that is lit with orange lights so that it resembles a burning fire.  Have students reflect on why this type of structure could be appropriate as a war memorial.  What purpose does a war memorial serve?

Henry Bloch Fountain produces spectacular computer-choreographed water displays in front of Union Station.  It consists of 232 jets of water arranged in three concentric rings within an ellipse of black granite.  At times the water is choreographed to present a celebration of water in movement.  Look closely at the pool of water around this fountain; what else can be seen?  Have students analyze other ways that art is present in nature.

Union Station, located on the northwest corner of Pershing Rd. and Grand Blvd., opened in 1914 and is the second-largest train station in the country.  It is built in the Beaux-Arts style taught at the Ecole des Beaus-Arts in Paris.  This style heavily influenced United states architecture from 1880 to 1920.  Can students communicate how seeing this type of a building makes them feel?  Have students explore architectural styles.


Today’s Art Sessions