Children’s Discovery Museum unveils upgraded Art Studio

With $250,000 in funding from the Good Tidings Foundation and the LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation, the iconic Children’s Discovery Museum celebrated the opening of a newly upgraded arts and creativity space. Renamed the LeRoy Neiman Art Studio, the studio was dedicated and opened to the public in July.

“We’re honored to join the prestigious family of arts centers across the country funded by the LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation,” said Marilee Jennings, executive director of Children’s Discovery Museum. “We’re also proud to contribute to San Jose’s profile as a center for creativity and innovation.”

The LeRoy Neiman Art Studio includes a large digital screen allowing four artists to simultaneously use its image projection capabilities for video, photos, and other digital projects. Immersive creative experiences such as shadow and light-play are now possible thanks to an electronic blind system on all windows. More young artists will now be served with new mobile furniture that adds additional seats and work spaces and can be configured differently based on the activity. Redesigned storage cabinets are now more useful and refinished countertops will add years of life to the space.

Emphasizing process over product, the Art Studio offers daily programs of traditional and conceptual art such as painting, printmaking, sculpture, collage, and drawing using a variety of materials to inspire creativity and curiosity. The Visiting Artist and the Artist-in-Residence programs introduce families to established and emerging artists through hands-on workshops.

The Children’s Discovery Museum, a bright purple landmark at the foot of Discovery Meadow in Downtown San Jose, was opened in 1990, a project of the former San Jose Redevelopment Agency, assisted by a $1.8 million gift from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Since then, CDM has hosted more than 9 million visitors, with 52,000 square feet of interactive, educational and engaging activities and exhibits, ranging from physics to agriculture, and now, to art. CDM also recently debuted Bill’s Backyard: Bridge to Nature, a half-acre outdoor play space for nature, science and environmental exploration.

In welcoming an art-making experience to CDM, participants stressed the importance of the arts to our tech-oriented city. Research shows that exposure to the arts helps children develop socially, cognitively, emotionally and academically, and arts activities contribute significantly to San Jose’s economy. According to the Americans for the Arts “Arts & Economic Prosperity” 2015 report on the City of San Jose:

  • $73,462, 553 estimated spending by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations
  • $117,746,926 estimated spending by cultural audiences
  • $191,209,479 total spending by the nonprofit arts and culture industry
  • 4,255 full-time equivalent jobs supported
  • $91,719 resident household income generated
  • $5,866,000 local government revenue generated
  • $7,612,000 stage government revenue generated

More information on the LeRoy Neiman Art Studio is available at the CMD website. To see the Art Studio in action, visit NBC Bay Area’s footage.