Art is everywhere, if you just look for it!

Have you been downtown in Manhattan and noticed the faces in the Riley County Courthouse façade, the intricate metal work of the portico above Harry’s entrance or the new art installations on our downtown sidewalks and buildings? With the new self-directed Art and Architecture Scavenger Hunt that we are offering from Manhattan Public Library, you and your friends or family can discover these and more objects d’art. Take a walk downtown with our scavenger hunt and look for the photo clues. You just have to match pieces of art and architecture to their location.

With the incredible changes in the Downtown corridor over the years, I focused on not just the unique, older aspects of some of the buildings, but also the new art installations that inspire the overall atmosphere and vibe of our community. With this activity, we really hope that people can get out, maintain social distance and have fun (and maybe a little learning) while searching out these treasures just waiting for you in Downtown Manhattan.

If you’re an art and architecture buff like me — Thank you, mom, and your love of all things Frank Lloyd Wright— then enjoying the aesthetic of art and buildings isn’t quite enough for you. Even though the stacks are closed for browsing, you can still request and check out books, audiobooks, documentaries and digital resources for every aspect of art and architecture. You’ll find a small sample of what we offer to inspire and educate listed below.

“The Human Planet : Earth at the Dawn of the Anthropocene” by George Steinmetz looks at the changes that humans have made to the environment with our “quest to build shelter, grow food, generate energy, and create beauty through art and architecture.” Through beautiful aerial photographs and scientific writing, learn how our human footprint has changed the architecture of the earth.

Maybe something more mystical is where your interest lies. “Marcel Duchamp and the Art of Life” by Jacquelyn Baas looks at Duchamp’s life and all of the aspects of it that grew to be a part of his artistic life. From mathematics to philosophy, his art “asks us to unlearn what we think we know, both about art and about life, in order to be open to it.”

“Frida in America: The Creative Awakening of a Great Artist” by Celia Stahr looks at how Kahlo’s time in the United States helped to shift and grow her style of painting and the way she looked at life as a young artist exploring a new country. This in-depth biography dives into the young formative years of her creative passions while living in a strange land, fueling an even stronger sense of her Mexican identity.

Of course, you know I’m going to mention Frank. We have several books, fiction and non-fiction, that look at the life of this influential American architect whose creative force has inspired generations to look at architecture and art as part of the environment that surrounds it. “Frank Lloyd Wright: in the Realm of Ideas” by Gerald Nordland is a collection of essays and illustrations that enlighten the reader to some of the aspects of creativity of the man and architect.

If you’re looking for something to inspire your future architect, check out “The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond” by Patrick Dillon. This children’s book looks at explanations of building concepts (what is cantilever?) and also how and why buildings have evolved with how we use them.

All of these books are available at Manhattan Public Library. Please check out more books, ebooks, audiobooks, and documentaries on Hoopla, Sunflower elibrary, Kanopy and more! Stop by the library atrium to pick up your Art and Architecture Scavenger Hunt or print it off from our Event Calendar on our website, mhklibrary.org, now through November. When you bring it back for the answer, you will get a fun prize.

Happy Adventuring!

Johnson is the adult programming and outreach librarian at Manhattan Public Library.

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