After being coped up in the RV thanks to rainy and cold weather, we had to escape and find something to do indoors! Following a little research we set off to explore the International Museum of Art & Science in McAllen, also known as IMAS.
IMAS has over 50,000 square feet of space that is host to a number of revolving art and science exhibits and is regarded as the premiere art and science museum of South Texas. Visitors can participate in hands-on science exhibits and view a variety of original works of art. Kids will also enjoy some of the exhibits and other things to do.
We started our tour of the museum at Science on a Sphere which is a 6 foot 20 pound fiberglass globe that uses four projectors and state-of-the-art technology to show dynamic and animated images of the atmosphere, oceans, plants, and more. Designed by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration the show uses over 300 images, many of which are actual satellite photographs, to educate us on how precious or supply of fresh water is and how important it is to our survival. After watching this I swore I would be more conservative in our use of water.
Next up was a short visit to the Science Lab to observe and learn a little more about some snakes, a tarantula, a lizard, turtle, some fish, and more. This part of the Science Lab is dedicated to education and is visited frequently by school children who learn more about science. During our visit, it was set up to teach the kids about gravity with a variety of different props and displays.
Kids will also enjoy the Discovery Pavilion which has a variety of interesting and educational exhibits including a film, climbing wall, and "Watershed" which is an interactive, award-winning exhibit that guides children through processes such as the water cycle. The Museum also includes an Art Studio and like the Science Lab, the varieties of activities for children of all ages changes on a weekly basis.
During our visit the revolving exhibits included an exhibition of artworks by San Antonio sculptor Danville Chadbourne, the "Geometry of Light" by Cathy Cunningham- Little, and "The Elements of Progress: Dreams Escape" by Ken Little. Danville's exhibit featured 51 works of art that included both large and small-scale wood and ceramic sculptures, a series of suspended works, wall-oriented works in ink and acrylic on wood panels, and several large-scale outdoor sculptures in ceramic and stone. His work is often "likened to a body of cultural artifacts. The visual and ritual impact of these beautiful objects is made more complex by their provocative, poetic and often paradoxical titles. They are, in essence, monuments to irrational ideas and human impulses." Guess that pretty well sums it up.
The Geometry of Light by Cathy Cunningham was amazing. She utilizes glass, neon, light, wire, and other materials in a variety of ways to "explore the phenomena of perception, both the visual interaction of color and light, and the mental aspects of perception." In layman's terms, it was an interesting and fascinating display of light and colors displayed on a wall in a wide variety of shapes and forms.
Ken Little is a nationally recognized artist who has been granted two Visual Arts Fellowships by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1982 and 1989. His work in various media has been shown extensively both nationally and internationally - and his "The Elements of Progress: Dreams Escape" was very different and unusual. Ken re-purposes found objects to create works that are imaginative, sometimes biographical and packed with ideas. I'm still trying to figure out what he was trying to represent with his works of art - strange and off the wall. For example, pant legs made out of $1 bills, a taxidermy deer head painted red and covered with shoes, a belt that makes a sinewy path across the body of “Javelina;” its buckle becoming an eye, bronze sculpture shoes and leather on animal armatures, and lots more unique and interesting works of art!
There are 5 fine art galleries where visitors can view works ranging from 19th century French Impressionist to 20th century Mexican modernist paintings. In one of those galleries, the Tiffany Gallery, was "Sacred Visions: Stained Glass Windows" which is a stunning compilation of 20 beautiful stained glass windows of religious iconography that depicts scenarios of angels, saints, and more
Outdoors, kids will really enjoy Rioscape which is an interactive science play pavilion where children can learn about energy, sound waves, and the Rio Grande river as it flows from the Colorado Rockies to the Gulf of Mexico. It's a well done mix of multi-level mazes, bouncing bridges, tire swings, and rope ladders. A unique way to get kids to learn about the Valley's main water source and it's most precious natural resource.
The International Museum of Art and Science also has a cafe and a gift shop.
If you're in the area, IMAS is well worth a visit.