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Scream for 'Beetle Mania' of a different kind at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

| Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, 2:03 p.m.
Joan Danziger’s “Beetle Mania” art display, features almost 50 whimsical beetle sculptures will be mounted on the upper walls of the upstairs Waterplay space in the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
Courtesy Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
Joan Danziger’s “Beetle Mania” art display, features almost 50 whimsical beetle sculptures will be mounted on the upper walls of the upstairs Waterplay space in the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
Joan Danziger’s “Beetle Mania” art display, features almost 50 whimsical beetle sculptures will be mounted on the upper walls of the upstairs Waterplay space in the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
Courtesy Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
Joan Danziger’s “Beetle Mania” art display, features almost 50 whimsical beetle sculptures will be mounted on the upper walls of the upstairs Waterplay space in the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

Since kids love bugs and getting wet, your children might especially enjoy a new art installation opening at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh this week.

With artist Joan Danziger's “Beetle Mania” art display, almost 50 whimsical beetle sculptures will be mounted on the upper walls of the upstairs Waterplay space. This will give the look of insects crawling up a wall, just like they do in real life. Danziger's beautiful beetles — made with chicken wire, glass and more — range from about 10 inches to 5 feet, and are very lifelike, says Anne Fullenkamp, director of design for the North Side museum.

The beetles are “just sitting on the walls, but they look so lifelike and they're oversize,” Fullenkamp says. “When you're in your house and you see a bug on the wall, it's a bit eerie. But here, it's also stunning. It's remarkable.

“When you look at bugs up close, you can see how beautiful they are, and (Danziger) really captures that,” she says. “It's really engaging.”

Danziger ­— a New York City native who now lives in Washington, D.C. — will be at the museum Oct. 7 and 8 for the opening. On Oct. 7, the museum will hold a ribbon-cutting at 10:15 a.m. and Danziger will do art-demonstration sessions from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 7 and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 8. Museum guests will work with Danziger on a collaborative sculpture.

Her collection includes many sculptures of colorful scarab beetles, which symbolize good luck, immortality and power in Egyptian mythology, says Danziger, who is enjoying her second art show at the Pittsburgh museum.

“Beetle Mania” is coming to Pittsburgh from the Reading Public Museum in Berks County. It includes many sculptures of scarab beetles, along with other varieties like the Hercules beetle.

“The kids would come in and their eyes would get wide, and they'd say, ‘Look at all those beetles,' ” Danziger says.

“It appeals to every age,” she says. “It's really interesting when you're an artist and you do something that appeals so broadly to the public.”

Kellie B. Gormly is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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