We want to stay connected and creative with our community during these unprecedented times. 

Our first opportunity we are sharing is our Virtual Pop-Up. For the next few weeks, arts instructor Elisabeth Herrera is sharing virtual activities to keep you inspired. Follow along with each activity and share your creations with us on Instagram (@atlantacontemporary) with the hashtag #ACMAKES

We look forward to seeing everyone’s creations and continuing the excellent conversations we usually have in person in a digital space.

This week’s art making activity: Prototypes and Pencil Holders

Charles Williams Pencil Holders

• Charles Williams created hundreds of pencil holders, sculptures of all sizes and forms, with holes drilled to accommodate all sorts of writing instruments, mostly gleaned from the desk drawers of IBM employees after they had gone home for the day.

• Williams describes his pencil holders, “Plastic melts off the machine and it takes certain forms when it hits the floor. It becomes solid with weird shapes. I put them on a stand and paint it, keep it in its unique weird stage, and some of them forms looks like an animal’s brain. Makes you think of a brain.”

    This week’s art making challenge asks you to consider everyday inspiration

    • Charles Williams was inspired to create his pencil holders because of the materials he had available to him. He combined materials in innovative ways to create unique compositions.

    • When thinking about your art making consider what you have available and what needs you may have that require creative solutions.

          Use what you have to solve a problem.

          • So many of us have spent our time social distancing trying to organize our homes and use the supplies we already have to guide our art making practice.

          • I always have my tools lying around and was inspired by Charles Williams’ Pencil Holders to create my own unique way to stay more organized.

              Make something you enjoy making.

                • I’ve been waiting to be inspired to begin building with a pack of oven-bake clay I’ve had for a long time.

                • Sculpey is a great tool to utilize for all ages, it bakes in a standard oven, and doesn’t tend to leave a mess behind.

                • Want to make your own clay? Check out this tutorial.

                • Not interested in working with clay? Use a media you enjoy.

                Not quite working? Think of each attempt as a prototype.

                • Prototyping is the process of creating multiple attempts to troubleshoot and improve a product or process.

                • Great artists, like scientists, experiment with processes and materials to make adjustments along the way.

                • After my first round, I found that the clay became lighter when baked and had trouble standing pencils up. For my next attempt I added bases.

                • Each prototype reveals areas in need of improvement and provides opportunities to play around with solutions.

                    Left image: Prototype 1 without bases
                    Middle and Right Images: Prototype 2 without bases

                    Share your creations!

                    • We encourage you to share your works by using the tag #ACMakes on social media.

                    • Share what inspired your work or process to help inspire others.

                    • In need of inspiration? Check out our amazing digital archive and share the works that inspire you.


                        Teaching artist Elisabeth Herrera-Very is giving away this pencil holder to a virtual pop-up participant who shares their creations and inspirations for this challenge. To win this cute little pencil holder use the tag #ACMakes on social media with your artwork and what inspired you to create it (pen not included).


                          Elisabeth Herrera-Very

                          Elisabeth Herrera-Very is an art educator working in Atlanta. After nearly a decade as a public school visual arts teacher she shifted her focus to community engagement and museum education. As a teaching artist she develops programming that provides inclusive, thoughtful, and relevant art experiences for all participants. Her programming at Atlanta Contemporary encourages patrons of all ages to explore their own creative process through contemporary art making practices and thematic instruction.


                          Share your creations with us! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram @atlantacontemporary and use the hashtag #ACMAKES. Click here to watch a video tutorial of the collagraph process.

                          Upcoming Events

                          May 20 / 7:00pm
                          Special Event

                          Open Studios

                          1 for $1K


                          Join us as we spotlight our studio artists, see their work firsthand, and support local working artists in Atlanta. 1 for $1K is a great way to add to your collection while also supporting local artists and the Studio Artist Program.

                          May 22 – May 23
                          Special Event

                          Open Studios

                          Virtual Studio Tours


                          Join us as we spotlight our studio artists, see their work firsthand, and support local working artists in Atlanta.

                          May 29 / 12:00pm
                          Contemporary Talks

                          Screening: A Queer Rebirth in Three Parts

                          PHYSICAL BODY OF WORK; a love letter to an evolving self, the trilogy


                          A screening of the trilogy PHYSICAL BODY OF WORK; a love letter to an evolving self followed by moderated discussion and audience Q&A with artist Shane Dedman.

                          Imported Layers Created with Sketch.

                          We encourage you to share your images using #atlantacontemporary. Read our full photography policy.