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New BFG-Inspired Public Art Trail Honors Roald Dahl

Much of author Roald Dahl’s work is about bits of magic hidden in the real world, so it’s appropriate that, in conjunction with the silver screen release of The BFG and the 100th anniversary of Dahl's birth, a new public art trail is serving to do the same. It’s opening up across the UK this week, and turns the aspirations of famous figures into giant dream jars.

Sophie Dahl, Steven Spielberg, Stephen Hawking, The Duchess of Cornwall, Buzz Aldrin, Helen Mirren, Naomi Campbell, and other celebrities lent their dreams to support the project, which is helping to raise money for Save the Children, as well as a specialist nursing program supported by Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. The BFG Dream Jar Trail opens on Saturday, July 9 and will remain on display until August 31.

Each giant Dream Jar (up to six feet tall) will contain a sculpture representing the ambitions of one of the 50 famous participants. Thirty-four jars will be part of the initial rollout, with others added in the coming weeks. They’ll form a trail in London and across the UK, at places like The Museum of Modern Art in Glasgow, The Hayes shopping area in Cardiff, and the Tower of London, before they are auctioned off later this month.

The Duchess of Cornwall‘s dream was rendered by art director Michael Howells. In a press release, she said, “The power of a good story is immense. It starts a voyage of discovery into different worlds that broadens and stimulates our minds. My dream is that every child learns to read and discovers the lifelong pleasure of books.”

Other dreams include swimming alongside a whale (Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams), a romantic hot air balloon ride (One Direction’s Niall Horan), and a jar based on the thoughts of an ancient Chinese philosopher, who questioned whether our dreams are actually reality (Hawking).

Check out VisitLondon.com to view some of the art, a trail map, and learn more about the project.

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.

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The Getty Center, Surrounded By Wildfires, Will Leave Its Art Where It Is
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The wildfires sweeping through California have left countless homeowners and businesses scrambling as the blazes continue to grow out of control in various locations throughout the state. While art lovers worried when they heard that Los Angeles's Getty Center would be closing its doors this week, as the fires closed part of the 405 Freeway, there was a bit of good news. According to museum officials, the priceless works housed inside the famed Getty Center are said to be perfectly secure and won't need to be evacuated from the facility.

“The safest place for the art is right here at the Getty,” Ron Hartwig, the Getty’s vice president of communications, told the Los Angeles Times. According to its website, the museum was closed on December 5 and December 6 “to protect the collections from smoke from fires in the region,” but as of now, the art inside is staying put.

Though every museum has its own way of protecting the priceless works inside it, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Getty Center was constructed in such a way as to protect its contents from the very kind of emergency it's currently facing. The air throughout the gallery is filtered by a system that forces it out, rather than a filtration method which would bring air in. This system will keep the smoke and air pollutants from getting into the facility, and by closing the museum this week, the Getty is preventing the harmful air from entering the building through any open doors.

There is also a water tank at the facility that holds 1 million gallons in reserve for just such an occasion, and any brush on the property is routinely cleared away to prevent the likelihood of a fire spreading. The Getty Villa, a separate campus located in the Pacific Palisades off the Pacific Coast Highway, was also closed out of concern for air quality this week.

The museum is currently working with the police and fire departments in the area to determine the need for future closures and the evacuation of any personnel. So far, the fires have claimed more than 83,000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people and the temporary closure of I-405, which runs right alongside the Getty near Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood.

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This 77-Year-Old Artist Saves Money on Art Supplies by 'Painting' in Microsoft Excel
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It takes a lot of creativity to turn a blank canvas into an inspired work of art. Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi makes his pictures out of something that’s even more dull than a white page: an empty spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.

When he retired, the 77-year-old Horiuchi, whose work was recently spotlighted by Great Big Story, decided he wanted to get into art. At the time, he was hesitant to spend money on painting supplies or even computer software, though, so he began experimenting with one of the programs that was already at his disposal.

Horiuchi's unique “painting” method shows that in the right hands, Excel’s graph-building features can be used to bring colorful landscapes to life. The tranquil ponds, dense forests, and blossoming flowers in his art are made by drawing shapes with the software's line tool, then adding shading with the bucket tool.

Since picking up the hobby in the 2000s, Horiuchi has been awarded multiple prizes for his creative work with Excel. Let that be inspiration for Microsoft loyalists who are still broken up about the death of Paint.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the artist's process in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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