The Arts Center’s current exhibit – New Year New Art – features the work of forty-one local and regional artists. All of the work was created since August, a requirement designed to stretch the artists and motivate them to create new things.
I will confess that when I’m thinking of activities to do with my three kids (ages six, four, and two), visiting an art gallery isn’t always high on the list. But that’s what makes the Community Arts Center so fantastic – it makes great art really approachable. Here are five reasons you should make a trip to the New Year New Art exhibit with the little people in your life.
#1 – There are some incredible collages. “The Portal” by Connie Beale is guaranteed to captivate any exhibit visitor, but I’ve noticed that kids are particularly entranced by it. The array of visual imagery is awe-inspiring, ranging from the Sydney opera house to a pink poodle to military tanks to chubby cherubs in the clouds. My four-year-old son is particularly taken with the disembodied hand that appears to be emerging from a large rock. “Is that person getting smushed!?” (I can never tell if his tone conveys concern or glee…)
#2 – You can make your own art together. The Arts Center tries to create hands-on opportunities that tie into the exhibits and right now, we have a collaborative collage project in Lisi’s Lab (the children’s art studio upstairs). For just $1 you and your kiddos can add to the group project or make a collage to take home. It’s a great opportunity for kids to connect with the exhibit and the activity itself is sure to kindle their imaginations.
#3 – There’s a three-dimensional mermaid, a painting entirely of glazed donuts, and multiple paintings featuring horses. What child wouldn’t love all of those things?
#4 – It’s free. Like most of the exhibits at the Community Arts Center, New Year New Art is free to the public. The great thing about a free exhibit is that you can experience it in small chunks if necessary, without breaking the bank on repeat visits. Not sure your little one has the attention span for all three galleries that are part of the exhibit? No problem! Spend ten minutes visiting one and come back another day.
#5 – The variety of pieces provide great opportunities to explore different art techniques and mediums with your child. You don’t have to be an art critic to notice that the exhibit has pieces ranging from quilts to pottery to photographs to landscape paintings. Talk with our child about what constitutes “art” – I recently overheard a great conversation between a mother and her son when he asked her why there was a (gorgeous) red jacket in the show. Also, try asking what types of work appeal most to him or her. The answers may surprise you. My six-year-old daughter was drawn to an impressionist-style oil painting of an outdoor French market because it reminded her of the farmer’s markets we visit during the summer.
The New Year New Art exhibit will be on display until February 20th. Stop by with your kiddos or borrow a friend’s (with their permission, please) and I promise you’ll look at the exhibit with new eyes.