The Beauty of Slowing Down: A Walk Through the Nature's Gift Exhibit, Currently On-Display at OMCA
Like a dream, an iridescent, rainbow lightshow greets museum goers just before entering OMCA’s newest sensory adventure—Nature's Gift: Humans, Friends & the Unknown
This world keep spinning around us, whether we’re cognizant of it or not. Time—our most precious commodity—once spent, is something we’ll never get back, nor replace or get more of. But, alas, you can savor those fleeting minutes and hours in Downtown Oakland, of all places. Jump off life’s hamster wheel for hot-second, take a deep breath; take not to appreciate the magnitude and boundless grace afforded by the natural splendors around us. OMCA’s Nature’s Gift exhibit helps museum goers do just that—reconnect with the spaces and structures and textures around them, all while slowing down Father Time’s relentless modern pace.
Once past the aforementioned rainbow lighting, visitors can expect to directly follow into what one could best describe as a minimalistic waiting room, circled with low-lying seating arrangements and movable beanie bags. And, should you be so inclined, there’s a small pop-up shop located in the far back corner of the museum that would be more than happy to sell you, for example, an LED-lit hula hoop or another equally luminous bit of craft.
(In fact, we spoke with the museum's Curator of Arts, Carin Adams, who encourages exhibit goers to immerse themselves in OMCA’s newest installation, reorganizing and moving the bean bags and other paraphernalia in and around the room-sized exhibit. Case in point: there are small, cozy nooks located in the center of the exhibit’s chameleon-like bounce house to take plush respite from your hectic workweek.)
But it should be noted that shouldered between the lush sitting area and bevy of hung hammocks—found on the right far-facing wall—l is the true, eye-popping centerpiece of the exhibit: a color changing, multi-dimensional inflatable matrix, latticed with inner worked walk-able pathways.
We found the cloud-like mass mesmerizing, if for no other reason than its behemoth size; a 3-bedroom apartment sized bouncy house that changed color palettes quicker than any mood ring sold today. Much like an English muffin, the main attraction of Nature’s Gift is pocketed with nooks and crannies, just waiting to be explored by both kids and adults alike.
The exhibit is unlike, say, the Ice Cream museum; it’s quite sedate and not overwhelming to the eyes, ears, or fingertips. OMCA’s newest attraction was, first and foremost, erected to be a calming space—with its AstroTurf floor, dim lighting, and ambient soundtracks of natural symphonies—that encourages you to slow down from the fast pace of everyday life and appreciate what’s, truly, all around you.
And that, dear reader, is exactly what you should do sometime sooner rather than later—savor the subtle nuances and slowed-down pace of life lurking within OMCA’s Nature’s Gift exhibit.
// For more information on the artists responsible for the exhibit and other interesting informative tidbits, be sure to see our earlier posting on the exhibit. Tickets will be going on-sale for Nature’s Gift tomorrow till the 21st of January. Photography by Roberto Lopez.