Tag Archives: art for kids

16 ways to celebrate museum day

After drawing a picture at the Tucson Children’s Museum, this child decided to hang it on the museum’s bulletin board.

Plenty of museums are celebrating International Museum Day on May 18 with free admission and/or other special offers. Check out these ideas for exploring and supporting museums with your family and friends…

Visit children’s museums with your family. Arizona options include the Arizona Museum for Youth, Children’s Museum of Phoenix and Tucson Children’s Museum.

Plan a family vacation to a museum-rich region. Treat your kids to a weekend exploring museums in Prescott, Tucson or Phoenix. Head to museums in other parts of the country — Chicago, New York, San Francisco or Washington, D.C. Or enjoy time together in Florence, Paris or London.

Introduce your kids to museum-sponsored events. Tell your teens about this weekend’s “Teen Night Out” at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Take your children to see exhibits featuring works by youth, like “Visions” at SMoCA’s young@art gallery.

Make a donation to your favorite museum. Even small gifts are welcome because they add up to big results for museum goers as donations make new programs, events and exhibits possible.

Write letters in support of local museums. Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in praise of museums, or to a local legislator who supports museums and other homes for Arizona arts and culture.

Shop for gifts, games and more at your local museum. Visit the Musical Instrument Museum for child-friendly instruments, the Heard Museum for artwork by American Indian artists or the Arizona Science Center for hands-on activities.

Sign up to get museum e-newsletters. Request e-alerts from your favorite museums so you’ll be the first to know about new programs, family-friendly events, special exhibits and more.

Take friends to see a museum film screening. Catch “Gerard Richter Painting” (May 30) at the Tucson Museum of Art or “Between the Folds” (June 2, featuring ten paper artists) at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Enroll your kids in museum classes or summer camps. Check out offerings at the Arizona Museum of Natural HistoryShemer Art Center and Museum and other museums.

See an arts-related musical or play. Take older teens or friends to see Arizona Theatre Company’s production of “Red” (a John Logan play exploring Mark Rothko’s work) at the Herberger Theater Center.

Read books about great artists and museums. Pick up a couple of art books at your local museum shop or head to the library for titles about artists exhibited in the world’s famous museums and galleries.

Explore museum galleries online. Spend some time enjoying Google Art, or visiting online exhibitions from local and international museums so your children can see works by diverse artists.

Get a culture pass from your local library. Head to participating libraries to snag passes for free admission, and watch for museums offering free/discounted admission as part of International Museum Day.

Invite friends to dine at a local museum cafe. Enjoy lunch at the Phoenix Art Museum’s Palette, the MIM Cafe, the Heard Museum North Cafe or another museum restaurant.

Sign up to volunteer with a local museum. Train to be a docent, help with kids’ art classes or greet museum visitors.

Help your child’s teacher arrange a museum field trip. Suggest a few of your favorite museums for class field trips, and offer to help with legwork or actual field trip planning.

Learn more about Arizona museums from the Central Arizona Museum Association and the Arizona Museum Association. Click here explore Blue Star Museums, a national program that provides free summer admission to participating museums for active duty military personnel and their families.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to read a list of Arizona museums offering free admission compiled by the Scottsdale Public Library. Always check museum hours, admission costs and such before attending.

Coming up: Art from a recent United Nations exhibition of works by women


A city inside a museum

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I first fell in love with children’s museums when my young daughters, like hundreds of fellow citizens, got involved in developing the Children’s Museum of Phoenix (then dubbed the Phoenix Family Museum) at the grassroots level. Today it’s recognized by Parents magazine as one of the country’s top ten children’s museums.

Both daughters, and our son, are now grown and attending college — one of them in New York City. Each time I visit her, I make a point of exploring another bit of NYC’s vast expanse of arts and culture. I reported on the art of Occupy Wall Street early in the movement’s history, saw “War Horse” and “The Book of Mormon” before they earned Tony Awards for best play and best musical and explored places like the Poets House in Battery Park.

Lately I have the museums of NYC on my radar, wishing I’d discovered them several decades earlier somehow. Many years ago I visited MoMA and the Met, but lately I’ve been focusing on smaller fare like the Morgan Library & Museum in midtown Manhattan (a favorite for one of my friends at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts), which is currently exhibiting drawings by Rembrandt and a look at animals throughout art, literature and music.

Top of my list for next time is the Brooklyn Museum. I missed the opening of their Keith Haring exhibit by just two days last time around and am still experiencing the museum-goers version of mourning. I didn’t really favor Haring’s work at the height of his heyday, but nowadays I’m simply mesmerized. I’m also hoping to enjoy the Children’s Museum of the Arts.

I hit the Brooklyn Children’s Museum during my last trip to visit daughter Lizabeth at Pace University. She’s been busy with rehearsals for an upcoming production of “Our Lady of 121st Street,” so I’ve had more time to kick around NYC on my own. Typically adults aren’t allowed to visit the museum without children, but they graciously let me do my press thing with camera in tow so I could share reflections and images with Arizona readers.

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum was “the first museum created expressly for children when it was founded in 1899” — 15 years before Arizona achieved statehood. Still, I first encountered one of its offerings — a traveling exhibit called “Pattern Wizardry” — during the fall of 2009 at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa (proving that you should never overlook the treasures in your own back yard).

I found two remarkable things at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. First, a city within a museum. And second, the world. My favorite exhibits featured rooms devoted to various cultures found in the diverse neighborhoods of Brooklyn, and an expansive upstairs gallery highlighting objects and people from around the globe. I’ve come to love the Brooklyn Children’s Museum for the same reason I love New York City — diversity.

I get the feeling, when I’m there, that differences are to be embraced rather than feared. That living amidst diverse cultures helps us to appreciate both our own heritage and the heritage of others. That human beings from all walks of life can love, respect and empathize with one another. That mere tolerance falls short when what we need is true celebration.

— Lynn

Coming up: Prison meets performance art

What I learned at summer camp…fair

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Remember all those back-to-school essays teachers used to assign after summer breaks — most expecting a gripping account of summertime adventures. I’d have written far better answers had I attended all the camps I’m exploring at this weekend’s Raising Arizona Kids Magazine Camp Fair, where I’m learning all sorts of things.

I discovered on Saturday, for example, that it’s impossible to tell which of two napping ferrets is named “Romeo” and which is named “Juliet.” It’s best, I think, to let sleeping ferrets lie.

I learned that Linda Pullinski, a painter who works with the Scottsdale Artists’ School, longs to try her hand at the flying trapeze — something Nigel of the Independent Lake Camp says they offer as part of their circus camp (kids can circus now, but an adult circus experience is in the works).

Pullinski reminded me of something I’d known but forgotten — that kids can get creative with the simplest of objects. While some art camp exhibitors opted for paint, she let kids play with all sorts of animals and such made with colorful pipe cleaners. It’s all good, of course. The more art experiences the better.

A bevy of bunnies atop the Crazzy Wasewagan’s Camp & Retreat table reminded me that bunnies, whether California or Arizona-grown, love to munch on juicy apples. At other booths featuring animal fare, I discovered that reptiles and octopus are more mum about their snacking habits.

I watched a woman at the Northern Arizona University table showing children different marks made by various creatures in a couple of logs and bits of bark she’d brought along, and remembered how important it was to know such things when my children were little.

I discovered that kids will be baking Hamentashen stuffed with chocolate, raspberry or apricot at the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center today as they learn about the history of Purim and its traditions. And that they’re holding a Passover celebration called “Chocolate Seder”on April 1.

Lee Cooley with Valley Youth Theatre shared the news that VYT alumnus Nick Cartell will be rocking the swing thing when a revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar” opens on Broadway in March. Soon they’ll need to turn their poster featuring famous folks who’ve trained and performed with VYT into a wall mural.

And I learned from Linda with Montessori Academy Smart Camps that they’re working to become trailblazers of sorts — having kids grow the food they prepare in a culinary program on site in their very own community garden. Michelle Obama, take note.

By now I’ve surely supassed the length of your average “what I learned at summer camp” essay, so I’ll save the rest of my 2012 Camp Fair musings for future posts — and hope you get a chance to make some fun discoveries of your own at today’s Camp Fair session at Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler.

— Lynn

Note: I’ll be updating this post with more photos after attending Sunday’s Camp Fair in Chandler — and writing more about arts camps who participated in future posts.

Coming up: What a ham!, Got glass?

Art classes for children and teens

Student at the Scottsdale Artists' School youth academy

As resources for school art classes continue to dwindle, art programs in our communities become increasingly important. Thankfully, Valley families can draw upon art classes offered by various community centers, museums and private studios.

In Old Town Scottsdale there’s something called the Scottsdale Artists’ School, which offers art classes for children and teens through its youth academy. It’s near museums, theaters, restaurants, shops and a lovely library so parents who drive kids to and from classes have plenty to do in between.

Teen taking an art class at Scottsdale Artists' Academy

“Inspiring Artists” classes for ages 6 & up are being held for a series of eight Saturday mornings Jan. 7-Feb. 25, 2012. Students explore a different project, and a different medium, each week. They’ll paint trees, create journal/map art, make pop art portraits, craft treasure boxes and more. “Inspiring Artists” classes meet from 9am-noon and cost $40/class — which includes all supplies (though students should bring their own sketchbooks).

A new “Young Masters” program for youth ages 11 & up takes place Saturday afternoons from 1-4pm during Jan., 2012. These classes are also $40 each, and include all supplies. Class themes include translating sketches into paintings, simplifying nature for impact, finding the pattern of light and exaggerating colors.

The “Underground Art Club” for teens ages 13-19 takes place Thursday nights from 6:30-9pm from Jan. 12-Feb. 23, 2012. These classes are offered on a drop-in basis to accommodate teens’ busy schedules, according to Linda Pullinsi, youth academy program manager for the Scottsdale Artists’ School — who says the club also holds periodic art shows at the school.

Student works on drawing during a class at Scottsdale Artists' School

Class themes include still life, live costumed model, portrait, landscape and more. Single classes cost $30 (a 3-pack of classes costs $25/class and a 5-pack of classes costs $20 class).

Scottsdale Artists’ Studio notes that their fine art program is taught by professional working artists, adding that it’s designed to help students “discover new concepts and master basic skills while gaining confidence, pride, and self-discipline through their efforts.”

Art classes give kids a chance to meet others with similar interests, express themselves in positive ways, enjoy breaks from everyday stressors and spend time free from technology. Ah, the power of the paintbrush…

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about art classes for adults, and here for scholarship information

Coming up: Civil rights take center stage, Some enchanted evening

I-Spy: Animal art

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Next time your children are restless, consider a friendly game of “I-spy” ala art — encouraging them to look for art in everyday places, perhaps picking a kid-friendly theme like animal art.

Most of the photos in this post were taken during my everyday travels, but one — featuring the live snake — hails from the ASU Art Museum. Folks who attend the museum’s Nov. 5 “First Saturdays for Families” event can see the anaconda pictured above.

The snake is part of an exhibition titled Juan Downey: The Invisible Architect. “Diablo is pretty magnificent,” says the museum’s Deborah Sussman Susser, “and worth a visit.” How lovely to be on a first name basis with a reptile that’s morphed into an objet d’art.

I’m told that Jean Makin, who curates the museum’s annual family exhibition each summer, has put together another show titled “Just Animals” that runs through December.

“Kids’ view of their world includes furry, feathery and sometimes scaly friends,” says Makin. “They are part of a child’s family.” So seeing prints of fuzzy cats or fluffy dogs brings “instant recognition and comfort.”

“Art,” adds Makin, “can be very complex and unapproachable to a child, but packaged in an image of an animal, it is understandable. Little kids can draw animals from their memory and heart, conveying a sense of what that animal means to them.”

Families who attend the Saturday event will enjoy opportunities other animals can’t experience — like spin-painting and making musical instruments out of recycled materials.

Parents familiar with the Blue Man Group, performing at ASU Gammage through Sunday, know that some humans actually get paid for doing such things on stage.

I suppose that if my kids were little again (they’re all in college now), I’d challenge them to imagine a world where animals had the cameras and humans were the subject of all their photos.

Then I’d turn them loose with art materials so they could play with ideas about what those animals might capture with their cameras. Something tells me we’d make hilarious subjects.

— Lynn

Note: Animals lovers should check out the “National Geographic Live! Speaker Series” at Mesa Arts Center and an upcoming Childsplay production featuring “Lyle the Crocodile.” Click here for information on the Arizona Animal Welfare League, and here for information on the Center for Native and Urban Wildlife at Scottsdale Community College (which offers tours for 4th graders).

Coming up: A loaf of bread

The Big Draw

We’re fortunate in Arizona to have several museums and organizations dedicated to preserving and sharing American Indian culture, including the Heard Museum — with locations in both Phoenix and Scottsdale.

So I was curious, during a recent trip to New York City, to see the National Museum of the American Indian. While there, I stumbled on one of their educational programs called “The Big Draw” — which featured music and dance performance, as well as drawing opportunities, for children and families.

I’m hoping some of my pictures from that day will inspire new drawing adventures in your own home or classroom — and serve as a friendly reminder to visit our own local museums, which I’m convinced are some of the best in the country.

Entrance to the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City…

One of several Big Draw participants getting tips on her artwork…

One of many families who were seated around the room drawing together…

Visitors see this foyer, where I found visitors’ art on display, as they enter…

These panels hold children’s art created during The Big Draw event…

One of several pastel works displayed near The Big Draw activity area…

Another piece of art created during The Big Draw experience at the museum…

Another art selection created during The Big Draw experience…

This piece of art from The Big Draw appears to be a sign of the times…

Click here to explore the National Museum of the American Indian, here to find other Smithsonian museums, here to learn more about the Heard Museum and here to visit the Central Arizona Museum Association.

— Lynn

Coming up: The fine art of Wall Street?

Shakespeare, shoes and soldiers

When I discovered the latest issue of Phoenix Art Museum’s membership magazine in my mailbox today, I decided all those pesky bills nestled alongside it could wait. After all, I had urgent matters to attend to — like alerting you to the museum’s “National Theatre Live” series, kicking off in a just a few days with a live broadcast of “One Man, Two Guvnors.”

Seating for these babies is limited, so consider yourself warned. And mark your calendar for future adventures in British theater coming to the Phoenix Art Museum — including broadcasts of “The Kitchen” (Nov 13), “Collaborators” (Jan 15) and “Comedy of Errors” (March 18).

I found this fun image at 44th St. and E. Thomas Rd.

But it’s the bit about shoes that really got me worked into a frenzy. Seems the film “God Save My Shoes,” which debuted in Paris, will have its Phoenix premiere Fri, Oct 28 at the Phoenix Art Museum. I’m told it “explores why shoes are the most seductive and addictive item in a woman’s closet.” Apparently Parisians don’t keep chocolate in their closets.

Turns out there’s plenty for kids to enjoy at the Phoenix Art Museum next month. The museum presents an “Under 21” event for teens Fri, Oct 7 from 6:30-8:30pm. “Fashion’s Passion” gives teens a chance to explore the museum’s latest fashion exhibition and “draw from a live model during the First Friday festivities.”

The next “PhxArtKids Days” event takes place Sun, Oct 9 from noon-3pm. “Drawing Disoveries” for ages 5-12 (with an adult companion) is a participatory art experience that’ll help kids explore “how art is more than just paint and paper.” Kids will also get to draw their own masterpieces using they’ve learned.

Don’t overlook the obvious while you’re there. The Phoenix Art Museum has all sorts of exhibitions on the horizon, including the following:

  • The West Select. Features landscapes, still-lifes, wildlife and much more. Oct 23-Nov 20 in the Steele Gallery.
  • Ray Wielgus: The Art of Engraved Firearms. Features embellished modified, antique firearms. Through Dec 26 in the Lyon Gallery.
  • Iconic AZ. Features a visual tour of famous places and iconic symbols. Nov 12, 2011-March 4, 2012 in the Norton Photographic Gallery.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century. Features drawings, scale models, furniture, films and photographs. Dec 18, 2011-April 29, 2012.

Veterans, retired military, active duty service men and women and their immediate families can enjoy complimentary admission to the Phoenix Art Museum Fri, Nov 11 in recognition of Veterans Day.

A special program called “The American Spirit” kicks off at 3pm that day with VFW Post #6310 presenting the colors and leading the Pledge of Allegiance. It features master docent Sherry Koopot giving a “visual tour of the American landscape” that includes “images of the land American soldiers have fought for and continue to protect.”

— Lynn

Note: The Phoenix Art Museum invites Arizona lovers to submit their favorite sunsets, landmarks, street scenes, state parks or other subjects that answer the question, “What’s your iconic Arizona?” Visit www.phxart.org\centennial after Nov 1 to upload your favorite photos. Photographs will be included in a digital slideshow on view in the gallery and online.

Coming up: More art meets patriotism