A friend of mine, attempting to explain what makes something “cute,” said that everything that’s at least 60 percent smaller than its usual size – a person, say – is necessarily cute. In Mini Art, an exhibition of miniatures, it turns out that this rule of thumb works for all ages – the cute little people thought small candies and small medical clinics were really cute. And we have to admit that it works for big people, too, for example, in the illusion of a world of dwarfs that takes shape before your eyes and looks more colorful and more friendly than the real world.
The exhibition, initiated and curated by Limor Margulis, is now in its second year at the Old Jaffa Museum of Antiquities. The models on show this year, some of which are for sale, are different from the previous ones. An entire room is devoted to miniature maritime vessels of different sorts, meticulously made by Shimon Shaham. Another section of the show consists of miniatures made by children of six and up. They were actually quite good, and proved attractive to my daughters, who suddenly realized that kids can do this stuff, too.
Models of houses that emulate the rural architectural style in Argentina are lit from inside, making them even more attractive and drawing the children to them like magnets. Stools have been placed next to each showcase for the little ones to climb onto for a close-up view, making it easy for them to enjoy the exhibition independently.
My girls, especially the older one, were very impressed by the models, notably those that include tiny sweets or other pink things. They wanted to know whether it would be possible to move into the small apartment carved out of a tree trunk, or to buy bags at the miniature booth. Enthusiasm reached its peak during a workshop for making miniatures, led by the artist Nava Steinmetz. The girls, each according to her ability, made little candy booths, and enjoyed every minute.
There’s no doubt that the models scattered all around afforded inspiration and made the children eager to try their hand. Even the impatient ones in the family sat for an hour and a half of precision work, using colorful Fimo clay, popsicle sticks and glue. The problem, as usual, is the price. The workshops are held in small groups at preset times, which are published on the exhibition’s website, and they are very expensive. A four-hour workshop costs 350 shekels (about $100), a two-hour one costs 150 shekels. Without the workshop, creative responsibility devolves on the parents; those with the necessary skill and patience can try to get the children to make tiny objects at home. The entrance fee to the exhibition, which runs until January 31, 2015, is 50 shekels ($14), 45 shekels for children three and up; 40 shekels per person for a family of four or more. There’s some solace in knowing that part of the revenue will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which makes wishes come true for children with life-threatening illnesses.
Old Jaffa Museum of Antiquities, 10 Mifratz Shlomo St., Old Jaffa. Open Friday 10 A.M – 2 P.M., Saturday-Thursday 10 A.M. – 6 P.M. Closed on Sundays beginning in September.