Stepping Out

Thinking outside of the brick

Build a 'museum' during the Heckscher's anniversary celebration

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Heckscher Museum of Art is undertaking a big construction project as part of its 97th anniversary commemoration this weekend. No, the Heckscher is not undergoing any renovation.

This project, on Saturday, involves the museum’s visitors, who will work with artist David Haliski and LEGO® building blocks to create a unique sculpture in honor of the museum.

Participants in the July 8 workshop will be building a “micro” Heckscher Museum from a custom-designed set created by Haliski. Twenty five of those sets will be given away free to the first 25 families who attend. Each set is a 2.5” x 3.5” miniature model of the museum designed with a minimal amount of LEGO® bricks. Each contains 116 LEGO® bricks consisting of 21 unique ones. All other visitors that day are welcome to join in the build, with plenty of loose bricks available for use.

“I really wanted a number of the participants to be able to take a memory home with them, which is how I gravitated toward this design,” says Haliski, who returns to the museum for his third LEGO® workshop.

His two other popular events, in 2014 and 2015, resulted in creation of his big model of the museum, which remains on display. “In 2014, I put together a workshop at the museum in which we worked on the early stages of my larger scale piece,” he explains. “That completed LEGO® model is 25” x 40,” contains over 3,500 bricks, and even has working lampposts. It’s still one of my favorite pieces — I really had fun replicating the architectural details in LEGO®. In 2015, for the 95th anniversary, I designed builds around items that existed when the museum first opened in the 1920s, like the Brownie camera and candlestick telephone. Participants were all able to build the candlestick telephone custom sets I designed on site at the event. It was really great to involve a little bit of a historical perspective, especially for such an important anniversary.”

For this anniversary, Haliski aims to continue to impart his artistic inspiration and enthusiasm for these imaginative building blocks with everyone who joins him.

“Parents have an equally fun time at these events as the kids. The tactile nature of building and sculpting that is so enjoyable for so many ages is why I got back in building myself.”

Haliski, a designer and art director when he is not busy with his LEGO® creations, has been building since he was a young child in Red Bank, N.J. Now based on the North Shore, he recalls his beginnings with handmade wooden blocks given to him and his brothers from his grandfather.

“As I finally got old enough I graduated to LEGO® bricks and our house was never the same. My bedroom, the living room floor, the hallway, just about everywhere you can think of were filled with LEGO® bricks. Our childhood cat Mandy even enjoyed them by crawling up and going to sleep in my boxes of loose bricks as I was playing. I was re-introduced to LEGO® as an adult in 2008 when my mom sent me a small set as a stocking stuffer for the holidays. That gift sparked my passion for those small plastic bricks once again and I never looked back. The mix of sculpture and graphic design is really what lead to my experimentation in LEGO® on a higher level, the pure consistent color and graphic feel made a natural fit to being a medium in creating contemporary art.”

“I like to feel the world is wide open to what I can create. I do enjoy creating pieces any audience can relate to and that are sure to bring a smile. My “Big Mac Meal,” “Tide” and “Pepsi” are pretty fun pieces and are recognizable from super young kids to adults.”

Haliski encourages everyone to join him for his latest build. “There is something very relaxing about putting the smart phone down and building, sometimes you have an exact plan, other times you let your mind and imagination wander. Outside of the instructions anything is possible, the world and your creations are as you build them. Happy building!”

Build a Museum

When: Saturday, July 8, 1-3 p.m.

Where: Heckscher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington. (631) 351-3250 or

www.heckscher.org.