LEGOS. They provide your little builders with hours of entertainment while you sneak in some down time. They are also responsible for one of the funniest animated family movies of all time. And now, until May 29 your family will have the opportunity to be inspired by them as appear on display in the form of fantastical sculptures at OMSI’s new The Art of the Brick exhibit. Read on to find out everything you need to know about this must-see, magical display.
The LEGO Master
Once a Lawyer living and working in New York, Nathan Sawaya is now an acclaimed artist who spends his time creating large-scale sculptures and works of art. His medium of choice? LEGO bricks. After realizing his passion for creating art out of the small colorful toys, Sawaya took an artistic risk and left his life in the world of law to build jaw-dropping works of art—brick by brick. The result has been nothing short of amazing. Now an award-winning contemporary artist, Sawaya travels around the world with his touring exhibit, The Art of the Brick, amazing and inspiring kids of all ages with his creations.
The Art of the Brick is on display at OMSI through May 29. It is the world’s largest exhibit of LEGO art featuring more than 100 works of art and there is a little something for everyone in the family.
For the Art History Buffs
Sawaya has created re-imagined versions of masterpieces like Van Gogh’s Starry Night and da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. He has even created three-dimensional versions of some famous works like Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, allowing your family’s art lovers to get a glimpse of what the unseen parts of the subjects in the original paintings might look like in real life.
For the World Travelers
Visitors will also have the opportunity to travel around the world as they view re-created version of classic sculptures and iconic landmarks from Greece, France, China and the Easter Islands. Get ready to meet Michelangelo’s David in person, and you will experience awe when you come face to face with the the Easter Island icon Moai.
While Sawaya has recreated classic and iconic works of art, he also displays his own original pieces. You will have the opportunity to view what is arguably one of his most well known works, the yellow man sculpture, and your tiny toy lovers will undoubtedly be drawn to the 20-foot long T-Rex suspended from the museums ceiling.
The photographer in your family will be captivated by Sawaya’s multi-media photography collaboration with photographer Dean West. And the display IN PIECES, gives viewers the opportunity to match life-sized LEGO Sculptures with the paintings they appear in.
Just for Portland
Originally from Oregon himself, Sawaya unveiled his new sculpture, Homecoming, created specifically for the OMSI exhibit. It features a life-size person made out of colored bricks that create the PDX airport carpet’s pattern. The special tribute to his home state, statue will resonate with very Portlander who lays eyes on it.
Go on a Hunt!
OMSI offers an interactive scavenger hunt designed to help visitors learn about the sculptures while keeping the smallest museum-goers engaged.
The exhibit ends at the Brick Lab. This area is designed for lots of hands-on play for both littles and bigs. With 1,500 square feet to play with LEGO and Duplo bricks, the whole family can take their inspiration from the exhibit and try there own hand at creating brick sculptures. The brick lab is equipped with more than 60,000 LEGO bricks and will feature rotating activities focused on STEM topics like biology, physics, communication, engineering and math. So get ready to play and learn all day.
Curious about how Sawaya builds his creations? It can take him two to four weeks to build a life-size human form. That same form typically has 15,000 to 25,000 bricks. You can see how many pieces each piece took to build on the attached information cards. Because Sawaya’s exhibit is on the move, he glues the bricks together to keep them from falling apart. And your little LEGO lovers won’t be surprised to find out the the biggest thing Nathan has ever build is the T-Rex which required more the 500,000 bricks to make!
1945 SE Water Ave.
Dates: Through May 29
Cost: $19.75/adult for exhibit and museum admission, $15/senior and $13.50/youth (3-13). Members: $5.50/Adult, $4/senior and $3.50/youth (3-13).
What is your family’s favorite thing to build out of LEGO bricks?
—Article and Photos by Annette Benedetti