EVERY CHILD IS AN ARTIST

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat. Art Institute of Chicago.

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat. Art Institute of Chicago.

Every child is artist. But why is every museum not for kids. Ever took a kid to a museum? It’s everything that’s antithetical to being a kid. Hands off. Lower your voice. Even a Library has a kid section.

That’s what I love about the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville. It has a children’s section that engages kids and parents. Kids paint, imagine, build and explore. I believe it instills a lifelong love of the arts. It could break down the barrier so many adults feel about the arts.

Museums should encourage a child’s creativity not stifle it! They should instill a lifelong love of the arts. Museums should break down barriers not create them. It may be the only interaction with the arts a person has. A museum visit should be a dialogue not a monologue.

Being an artist and a parent, I always took my kids to art museums. I felt compelled to help my children feel comfortable about the arts. Studies show that exposure to the arts enhances overall learning. Children exposed to the arts score higher on tests.

You don’t have to be an artist to teach your kids about art or help them enjoy a museum visit.

For example, I recently sent my grandson a postcard of Sunday Afternoon at La Grand Jatte by Georges Seurat. I made it into an activity. I asked him to find the monkey, girl running, sailboat, etc. You can even ask kids tell a story about a painting or art postcard.

As a provisional docent at the Chrysler Museum, I learned how to do themed tours. Many museums offer family friendly themed self-guided tours. Whether or not museums offer themed tours, parents can use hide and seek and other childhood games as a method to engage their child. Parents can create themes based on geometric shapes, colors, animals, etc. By coming familiar with the museum’s collections and reviewing the website prior to the visit, parents can instill in their children a lifelong appreciation for arts.

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