Flip Side Final Project: Tumbles in NYC
One of the things Teens Guide Council does at the Rubin Museum of Art is design and lead tumbles. Our mission for tumbles is to start with an inspiring piece of art at The Rubin Museum and ignite a conversation with our audience members. After we had shared that meaningful conversation, we then lead groups to related arts and culture experiences around the city.
Here’s a tumble that led us to Jackson Heights!
Another tumble ended up at the American Museum of Natural History.
“On a beautiful sunny Wednesday, we embarked on our final TGC tumble! A small group of us started at the Rubin Museum, where we all walked up to the third floor to have a discussion about the Amogapasha Mandala.
We didn’t want it to be like a lecture, so we all approached the piece just wanting to have an open conversation about it. Julia led us through a guided visualization of walking through a palace in our minds, weaving our way through a ring of fire and through great doors guarded by red elephants, and we discussed what we all saw when we got to the center of our mandalas. Though there’s a beautiful figure of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist deity of compassion, at the center of this mandala, many of us didn’t see anything at the center of our visualized mandalas, or weren’t sure what we saw. We discussed how a mandala is used as a way to make something really big and difficult to explain, like the universe, our minds, or spirituality, easier to grasp and visualize. We then all got on the C train and traveled uptown to the American Museum of Natural History, where we went into the Hayden theater to watch the film of what the Big Bang would have looked like.
We all agreed that the film grasped us with its beautiful imagery, and made us start to feel very small compared to the whole universe. We started to ask ourselves, what is the center of the universe? Maybe each of us is the center of our own universe? We all agreed that the film, like the mandala, took a really big and unfathomable topic and made it slightly easier to understand and visualize. Heading outside, we realized that the theater is shaped like a globe, with a pathway that leads around it through all the phases of history of the universe. We sort of felt like we were all walking back out through a mandala, completing the experience!”
Another tumble ended up in Central Park.
“My group started with an experience at a piece from Lisa Ross’s Living Shrine. Together we explored the piece and were able to have a rich conversation. Each person was unique and so brought their own perspective to the piece.
Filled with ideas about nature, shrines, sacredness, consecration, and much more, we tumbled out of the museum and into central park. In advance, my group had devised a Yoko Ono style list of activities that our guests were encouraged to partake in. Some teens went to gather materials from around central park and then used those to create personal shrines. They then shared why they made what they did and how each shrine was personally significant to them. Other people focused on being present in the moment and how the little things that people do are sometimes the very things that consecrate special experiences. On this vein teens gave out flowers to strangers in order to make them feel special, engaged others in a conversation about what frustrated them and proceeded to write them out in chalk, and much more.
Some teens even got on mini row boats in small groups and took a journey on the lake. While out on the water and surrounded by nature they continued the discussions that they had started at the museum.”
Overall, no matter which tumble teens engaged in they walked away having had a memorable and meaningful experience.