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LEGO® bricks, the popular building toy that came to life in February in a major U.S. motion picture release, are the inspiration of a family-friendly, interactive exhibit that runs through September 28th at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

BUILD! Toy Brick Art at the Heard, presented in the museum’s Lincoln Gallery, features local American Indian, Mexican-American and non-Indian artists transforming their artworks using the versatile toy bricks. Named by USA TODAY as one of the “10 Must-See Museum Exhibits This Summer, the exhibit also features two LEGO® brick creations by well-known brick artists Nathan Sawaya and Sean Kenney.

Image reproduced from Beautiful LEGO, with the permission of No Starch Press. © 2013 by Mike Doyle

Native artists Steven Yazzie (Navajo) and Autumn Dawn Gomez (Comanche/Taos Pueblo/Navajo) and Mexican-American artist Lalo Cota are creating their first artworks with LEGO® bricks while local LEGO® brick artist Dave Shaddix has transformed Navajo artist Marlowe Katoney’s “Angry Birds” textile into a LEGO® brick mosaic. Also included are works by Cactus Brick, a Tempe-based LEGO® brick-building club.

Interactive activities — from June workshops to July “block parties” to an August building contest — combined with the exhibit’s already-assembled sculptures will bring to both children and adults a close-up demonstration of the bricks’ amazing capabilities of form, color and design.


As this is a special exhibit, the following adjusted admission rates will be charged to visitors May 24-Sept. 28. These rates include admission to BUILD! plus the rest of the museum: Adults $23, seniors $18.50, students with ID $12.50, children ages 6-12 $12.50, children ages 1-5 and American Indians $5, children younger than 1 and Heard Museum members free.

Those visiting the Heard this summer as part of the following programs and special entry days will still be required to pay a gate fee of $5 per person to visit BUILD!: Blue Star Families, Teacher Appreciation month, Target Summer Sundays, Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day, Culture Pass.

Those who purchase a Heard Museum Family Membership for only $75 will receive free admission to BUILD! all summer.

Other activities

Mark Mancuso and Joel Hornbeek (designers). Mark Mancuso and Mia Mancuso (builders), detail of LEGO® brick depiction of Action Comics No. 1 (June 1938 issue); approximately 120″ x 75″; more than 55,000 LEGO® bricks mounted on LEGO® plates, then on plywood frames. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Even more opportunities to BUILD! will be held on these Saturdays this summer. More details will be listed at heard.org/build:

• Builder “Play” Days: Sept. 6, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Watch local LEGO® brick builders “play” with everything from robotics to your not-so-typical bricks.

• Target Free Summer Sundays: July 27, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission (except for $5 per person gate fee to see BUILD! Toy Brick Art at the Heard) and access to a “block” party where visitors can dig right in and create their own toy brick creation with LEGO®bricks! “Block” parties are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Scottsdale League for the ArtsTM.

• Mike Doyle, author of Beautiful LEGO, speaks and signs copies of his book, Saturday, July 26, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 pm. The recently published Beautiful LEGO is about how the author — who has designed famous logos including one used on the Pepsi-Cola can — creates art with tiny toy bricks. Doyle will sign copies of the book, which will be available for sale at the event. For more information, please call 602-252-8848 or visit heard.org/events. More information about Mike Doyle is at www.michaeldoyle.com.

• LEGO® Brick Architecture Competition: Aug. 2 — What do indigenous dwellings look like LEGO®-fied? See the crazy creations in person. We’ll have more details and information for those wishing to join in soon right here at heard.org/build.

Feature image: Navajo artist Steve Yazzie created this sculpture of a coyote using LEGO® bricks with the help of his young son. Photo by Caesar Chaves/Heard Museum.