Children are the future of every community and this community – Taos – takes its future seriously, not least of all the Twirl Triumvirate as I like to call them.
The busiest bees in town, Nikki Ross, Nina Silfverberg and Anais Rumfelt are currently in full on speed drive, getting ready to turn the little alley ( Teresina Lane, where Twirl is housed in a building as steeped in as much myth and magic as the Institution, Twirl has become), into a Pop Up interactive Play Space for kids.
I popped in on Anais (at Twirl’s workshop/annex around the corner from the magical space that enthralls children and adults alike), the other day, to chat with her a little about the installation Twirl will have up for the Paseo Project. Nina and Nicki were not there as they were visiting kids in schools here in town, working with them, teaching a science event based on optical illusions, as a prelude to Saturday Night’s bash.
EYE PLAY is the culmination of Twirl’s in-school program leading up to The Paseo. Twirl has facilitated WE PLAY EYE PLAY IN-SCHOOL WORKSHOPS at Ranchos Elementary and Enos Garcia Elementary Schools as well as FAMILY SCIENCE EVENTS at four area elementary schools exploring optical illusions. Students and families have had opportunities to collaborate, create, think critically, and of course, PLAY as they interact with a variety of optical illusion stations. Reads Twirl’s Promo copy for this particular event.
Anais wasn’t there either, when I walked into Twirl Two, (having popped out for a minute), and found myself looking at a Three D Op-Art tunnel formed from black and white, painted cubes. The last time I went to the space, Nina was there overseeing another art/science project, Twirls Invent Event, that brings hundreds of children and their families together annually at the Enos Garcia Gym.
As I stood there taking pics of the painted cubes, Anais arrived and told me they had a lot of help with them
“So many people came out to help with this project,” she said. “From my mom (the artist Katie Woodall), to Matt and Agnes (The Paseo founders), along with their (respective), husbands, and so many others.”
She showed me a list of names. Suffice it to say, some incredibly talented people lent a hand here, painting by letters (W&B) on the cubes Anais had drawn. This was the largest group of adult volunteers to ever come together for a Twirl event. Clearly Twirl has become a centerpiece of our community since becoming a non-profit and not just a playspace and toy shop. After ten years of providing a safe and engaging place for children and their caregivers to play and learn together, Twirl has become an integral part of early childhood development here in Taos. A valuable and treasured asset.
“We’ve gone into both Ranchos and Enos (Garcia Elementary schools),” Anais explained, “and now we are connecting with the Charter schools as well.”
“We do Family Science Nights, exploring subjects through play with materials provided.”
Where Agnes Chaves, one of the founders of The Paseo with Matt Thomas, focuses her in-school programs on middle, high school (and older) kids, Twirl works with children in the lower grades, piquing their nascent imaginations through creativity and play.
“Right now we are working with a couple of devices, along with what you see here,” Anais continued. “The Zoetrope and Thaumatrope, which the kids are making.”
She opened what appeared to be an old Science text-book, and showed me images of two curious devices which resembled microscopes. Like the pin hole boxes used to view a total eclipse, the objects the children were constructing were cruder forms of what I was looking at illustrated in the well-worn journal, but like the pin hole cardboard boxes, they functioned, which ultimately is what counts.
“We are so excited to be participating in the Paseo Project,” she told me as our conversation came to an end. “It exposes the kids to world-class art and cutting edge technology, right here in our little town.”
What will you be doing with the children on Saturday? I queried.
“They’ll be making take home, optical illusion toys they can play with at The Paseo,” she replied, as she went off into another area, returning with a cool looking fidget constructed from recycled materials and painted in the obligatory black and white.
“We are all about exploration through play, here at Twirl.” Anais laughed. “We want to give the kids the impression they can do anything.”
Where do these ideas come from? I wondered out loud.
“They are all bubbling inside the “Brain of Twirl”, Anais answered, smiling.
For more on Twirl and their installation at The Paseo Project Party on Taos Plaza this Saturday, please visit both sites linked below this post. Tomorrow is all about The Paseo here on taoStyle.
Photos of the tunnel (with Anais) and the unpainted cube taken on my iphone. Other images c/o Twirl.