Young Creatives Make their Own Hands-on Light Painting at the de Young Museum


Adobe teamed up with the de Young Museum in San Francisco to bring art and technology together and create a new kind of museum experience. In early January, we sponsored the third annual de Youngsters Art Party, where we set up a hands-on light painting for the young and “young at art.”

Adobe employee Emmy Huang and family at the de Youngsters Art Party

Adobe employee Emmy Huang and family at the de Youngsters Art Party

As part of a fundraiser for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, more than 600 De Youngster guests created light paintings in the museum they could actually take home. Here’s how it worked: guests were invited into a photo booth filled with light sources including flashlights, light sabers and light-up hula-hoops. The guests (artists) moved the lit objects around to create drawings in the air. They watched as their creations appeared on screens in real time, and when they were satisfied, photographers captured their pictures.

The photos were then sent to iPads, where the budding artists turned them into elaborate creations using “Paint Can” and other Adobe apps. Once the artists were finished with their pieces, they sent it to a printer, which turned their one-of-kind creations into stickers to take home.

The best part of the party was the kids’ reactions. One attendee said, “[My grandson’s] comment was, ‘It was the best thing in the whole world!’”

Lisa Podos, director of advancement and engagement for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco added, “Adobe’s projects model how everyone can be an artist, and be inspired by art. Moreover, they engage visitors in a language kids understand, using tablets and fingers in the creative process.”

The light painting exhibit is part of a developing relationship we have with the de Young, with the goal of creating an experimental art and digital media lab for museum visitors. We’ll work together to build an installation in the museum’s Wilsey Court later this year, which will use Adobe apps to give museumgoers a hands-on introduction to the de Young’s collections.

Adobe employee David Salesin and family at the de Youngsters Art Party

Adobe employee David Salesin and family at the de Youngsters Art Party

The partnership with the de Young has also inspired new ideas for the Adobe Labs research team by connecting our researchers with the artists, and artists-to-be, who use our products. Watching the de Youngsters’ excitement when they tried Paint Can and other Adobe apps inspired our teams to think about further hands-on “mini-experiences” to inspire the imaginations of young creatives.

“Working with creative and inspired people was really energizing for me. The hacker artist mentality—think crazy, and build something fun and beautiful—is, I think, exactly what our company should be about, and connecting directly with this energy has made me feel more connected to our customers and creativity business,” said Geoff Oxholm, research engineer in the Adobe Creative Technologies Lab.

Light painting was initially kid-tested last December during the Hamlin School for Girls’ visit to Adobe, and then refined for the de Youngsters. Keep an eye out: our teams continue to develop the experience further, and we’ll be bringing it to more community partners later this year.