Boxy, but good 

Fill a box with 18 random items. Give it to a team of employees from local businesses. See what happens.

Science Museum Oklahoma has done just that with its second Out of the Box exhibition, featuring the creations of 11 local businesses whose task was to take those random items — such as springs, hinges, air filters and metal balls — and create a piece that could perform at least one of five simple tasks, such as turning on a light.

Scott Henderson, director of the museum’s Satellite Galleries, said last year’s inaugural competition was much different in its focus.

“Last year, it was more about aesthetics; the companies had to create a sculpture,” Henderson said. “This year, we wanted to have more of a challenge. These pieces have to accomplish a specific task,” although some of the finished pieces can perform all five.

Attendees to Saturday’s free opening reception — complete with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar — will be able to vote for their favorite. Among the participating firms are the Oklahoma City Barons, The Boeing Company and Buy for Less/Uptown Grocery.

Darren Ransley, director of creativity and entertainment for the Barons, said the Out of the Box challenge gave him and his colleagues a chance to improve their communication skills.

“We learned to communicate better in a close environment,” he said. “It’s hands-on work rather than communicating through email. It’s a very powerful learning experience.”

The Barons’ piece naturally features hockey sticks and nets, but also highlights the group’s use of multimedia by not only switching on a light, but LCD screens and DVD players.

Ransley said the event is also an opportunity for attendees to become more familiar with the faces behind local businesses.

“It makes the people involved with large companies human,” he said. “It gives you a chance to talk — not just about business, but to have a chat.”

Henderson said the initial Out of the Box exhibition was such a success, he hopes to make it an annual event, introducing a new challenge each time. His favorite part of being involved is seeing what the entrants come up with.

“You never know what you’re going to get,” he said, noting viewers may be inspired. “I hope they’ll realize that no matter what task is put in front of you, you can achieve your goal.”

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Alyssa Grimley

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