New Victory Arts Break: Air Art

Whether you’re catching the Acrobuffos’ modern circus spectacle Air Play in person at the New Victory Theater or looking for some fun activities to accompany Air Play on demand, New Victory Arts Break has you covered. From visual arts to dance, this week we’re exploring different ways of getting creative… with air! Are you a fan?

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New Victory Arts Break: Air Art

Some of the videos in this Arts Break were filmed at the New Victory Theater. We acknowledge that New Victory resides on the seized homeland of the Lenape people and the intertribal territory of many First Nations. We celebrate and pay deep respect to all Indigenous peoples, past, present and future.

Watercolor and Wind
There are so many ways you can make art. Even materials that might seem a little out of the ordinary have the potential for creative magic. Can you imagine using air to make a painting? Let’s join New Victory Education’s Siobhan Santini Pellot as she pairs air with watercolors to create a piece of surrealist visual art.

Materials: Paper, a paintbrush, water and watercolors, a straw, a black marker for outlining

Step One: Lay a piece of paper down on a flat surface. Grab your paintbrush and dip it into your cup of water. Then dip your paintbrush into one of your watercolors.

Step Two: Drop the color onto your paper. Do not rub it in—it should almost float on the paper like a droplet. Then grab your straw, take one deep breath, and blow onto your little droplet of color. Do this a few times to move the paint around. Experiment with what direction you blow from, and how hard, for creations of different shapes and sizes.

Step Three: Once your paint is dry, look at the shapes it made. What do you imagine within these shapes? Take the black marker and outline all of the different things you see.

BONUS: For fun, try creating air art with a friend. Take turns making a watercolor creation and spotting different shapes in each other’s paintings!

Catalonian surrealist Juan Miró was a big artistic inspiration for the Acrobuffos’ Air Play, and his artwork also inspired this activity. Surrealism is all about letting your imagination loose and creating art without boundaries! For more surrealist fun, check out this painting activity from Art Classes for Kids, also inspired by Juan Miró.

"The Magic of Colour" by Joan Miró
Joan Miró, Painting (The Magic of Colour), 1930, The Menil Collection, Houston © Successió Miró/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.

Anything Air Can Do I Can Do Better
The Acrobuffos, the artists who created Air Play, use air as the basis of their performance, in collaboration with air sculptor Daniel Wurtzel. Inspired by their process, let’s explore air and all the things it can do! In this activity, we invite you to become a household air sculptor with your family and friends.

Step One: Daniel Wurtzel is the artist who created the air sculptures in Air Play. Check out more of his amazing work on his website.

Step Two: Watch the sample videos below of fun air experiments, using materials you may have at home.

Materials: Ping pong balls, a blow dryer (set to cold)

Hair dryer floats a ping pong ball

Materials: A duvet cover, a large electric fan

A fan inflates a duvet cover

Step Three: Do you have some of these materials at home? Great! Round them up and test them out to see how long you can keep your items in the air or inflated. What other items do you have at home that might interact with flowing air in fun ways?

Step Four: Try capturing a video of your different air masterpieces. Play with video speed and different filters to explore your work’s beautiful potential, and check out this clip from Air Play for more inspiration!

Air Dance!
Dance is, quite simply, bodies moving through the air. But while we’re moving, the air is moving, too! In this activity, we’ll take inspiration from the different ways that air moves and choreograph our own air dances.

Step One: Grab a piece of paper and list all of the things you know air can do! Here is our list—can you think of anything to add? Air can…

  • Fly
  • Whirl
  • Blow
  • Freeze
  • Warm
  • Drop

Step Two: For each word on your list, assign a move. Work together with family or friends to think of the smallest or largest move you can for each word. Practice each move until you have them all memorized. Here are a few moves from New 42 Youth Corps members Keyleen, Robert and Yesenia!


Step Three: Now put on your favorite song and have someone shout out each air move from your list. Can you keep up and perform each move as they shout them out? Take turns playing and challenging each other to go faster and faster until you’re winded (air pun intended).

If you find that you need a little help coming up with moves, it may be time to call in the air dancing professionals. Follow along with our beloved air dancers, Ron and Yvonne! You can copy their moves, or join their troupe with your own gravity-defying choreo.

New Victory Arts Break Supporters

New Victory Arts Break is funded, in part, by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council,and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.