July 1, 2011-September 5, 2011
Peek into a box of crayons, and you’ll see a range of colors. From Caribbean Green to Robin’s Egg Blue, Crayola now produces over 130 different crayon colors. Impressive, but a closer look at the play of light and color in our daily world reveals an infinite array of colors, the envy of any Crayola palette: The twinkling rainbows reflected in drops of dew, the bright golden glow of halos around streetlights, the dappled patterns and greenish hues of sunlight traveling through a tree’s foliage.
Get ready for this summer’s ColorFest at the Exploratorium, where you’ll experience light and color in unexpected ways. From perception to pigments, this two-month extravaganza will feature a full spectrum of over 30 color-related exhibits, a six-part film series, weekly color science demonstrations, DIY-oriented adult seminars, and After Dark events that mix color and cocktails.
In ColorFest Adult Seminars, learn the language of color from industrial designer Beatrice Santiccioli, the color genius behind the Nano-chromatic iPod. Or, develop your own paint colors with Alex Warren, artist and founder of the pigment company, Sinopia. He will also present free demonstrations on Saturdays on the craft of making pigments. And don’t miss visiting Oaxacan artisans demonstrating traditional dye-making techniques using the Cochineal insect to create a vibrant red hue.
Other adult-only ColorFest events include After Dark on the first Thursday of every month. Featuring cocktails and colorful exploration, July's After Dark explores red, the color of passion and pageantry. Stay tuned for more on August's blue-themed After Dark.
Staff scientists will also be doing regular demonstrations throughout ColorFest, including chemist Julie Yu’s stunning color experiment: Using acid-base indicators, a series of flasks containing clear liquid are turned every color of the rainbow, and then back again to clear. Physicist Ron Hipschman will give a talk with demonstrations every Saturday on the physics of color, titled "15 Reasons for Color."
On the first Saturdays of each month - July 2, August 6 and September 3, from noon to 4 p.m. – visitors will be greeted outside the museum entrance with Do or Dye, a free public how-to dye experiment station. Learn to use henna and natural dyes, play around with tie-dye and create a unique keepsake – or leave something on the communal wall of color.
ColorFest will transform the Exploratorium floor into a hands-on exploration of light and color featuring a number of all new exhibits like Nicole Catrett’s Mirrored Pixels which transforms shadow and light into a pixelated kaleidoscope. Discover how the first color photograph was produced 150 years ago using the three-color process and visit some classic Exploratorium exhibits that investigate light and color: At the Sun Painting, one of the museum’s quintessential and always dazzling exhibits, visitors witness sunlight streaming from the museum’s ceiling as it travels through a series of mirrors and prisms. The result is projected as an exploding rainbow of color onto an ever-changing canvas. Discover the colors hidden in white light at Colored Shadows and confront the strange specter of your shadow dancing in six different colors. A visit to Disagreeing About Color reveals the subjectivity of color perception: eleven dots, composed of different mixtures of red and green light, surround a central dot of color. Try to choose which surrounding dot matches that center dot, and chances are you and each of your friends will have a different response.
As Colorfest draws to a close, the Exploratorium presents an end to this summer-long festival with a chromatically-themed afternoon fair. From noon until 4 p.m. on August 28th, a dazzling Color Fair will feature a rainbow of hands-on science activities, demonstrations and local artisans selling colorful wares. The open-air market ambience of Color Fair takes place outside the museum, near the rotunda of the Palace of Fine Arts, as well as inside the Exploratorium. Live demonstrations will range from the craft of how-to dye fabric by color connoisseurs, chemistry experiments that play with the visible spectrum and much more.
For more information on the Colorfest schedule of events, buy tickets, shop for a rainbow of color-making items - or just learn more about the spectrum and physics of color perception, visit the Colorfest web site at: /colorfest/index.php
Read more about ColorFest for Adults, the Oaxacan Dyes and Textiles Demonstration, the ColorFest Chromatic Cinema Series, and Color Fair.