Joslyn Art Museum’s newest permanent exhibit is good news for families. Art Works opens on Friday, and I want to shout from the museum’s rooftop that you should go check it out – with or without kids.
Think children’s museum meets art museum. And it’s FREE. All FREE!
My family got a chance to preview the exhibit last Saturday. I can’t wait to go back.
Art Works has nine hands-on stations where you can explore visual art:-You can sit at a drawing station and sketch a still life masterpiece; “paint” on a video screen; or try your hand at sketching on a vase.
It truly is an all-ages space – toddlers up to adults will find something there to play with and create.
My kids’ favorite was also mine – the stop-motion Animation Station. It’s quite simple to do and once you try one video, you’ll want to do more.
Or if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself helping your youngster make a movie and then feel the urge to take over because a 3-year-old filmmaker’s vision is so bizarre and needs the visionary guidance of a 30-something.
Or something like that.
Here are the stations to explore
Audrey’s Spectrum Sculpture – Think that cool Chihuly sculpture you see in the window as you walk up to the museum’s entrance.
Choose colorful shapes to lock together, creating a glowing 3D sculpture.
Simon’s Animation Station – The fun part of this station is choosing the props to set your scene. To create your movie, you photograph your story, bit by bit. And then you can see the completed mini-animation on the “big screen” (and then email it to friends and family, or post it on Facebook). It’s so simple that my 3-year-old got the hang of it, with some guidance. Turns out, she’s partial to the Grant Wood backdrop.
Eloise’s Portrait Gallery – You can create a self portrait by drawing on glass with dry eraser or using magnets.
Wally’s Pattern Place – This was another favorite because of the incredibly loud sound the jumbo beads made when kids lifted them off the rods.
A helpful volunteered attempted to explain to my children how they could try to recreate a design from one of Joslyn’s American Indian beadwork pieces. They ignored all guidance and went their own route. Either way works.
Freddie’s Techno-Canvas – This hi-tech painting studio is incredible and I foresee long waits to create at this station. It’s all digital and you use artist’s tools to “mix, drip, brush, and push paint” on the wall – or floor!
I want to go back during the day and paint without my kids.
I was particularly impressed with the floor canvas and how you can “pour” a bucket of paint onto your canvas and spread it around. It was realistic and mess-free.
I loved that. My kids probably missed the mess element.
Charlie’s Observation Studio – This still life scene will change from time to time. At opening, it highlighted Dutch still life (in honor of the museum’s Rembrandt portrait and two Dutch still lifes).
Mooch and I sat to sketch and got about 45 seconds into it before she was ready to move on. I’m using that as an excuse for how sad my still life drawing turned out.
Jack’s Vase Space – This spot was the station that first caught my eye. You can use dry-erase crayons to draw on faux ancient Greek pots.
The pots are custom painted to look like works in Joslyn’s collection of ancient Greek pottery.
Both kids fluttered past this station. Perhaps I’ve said a few too many times that they can’t draw on things in our house.
Katie, Roger, Kate, Drew, and Meredith’s Creativity Table – Farley could sit at this table for an hour and be content. This is the make-and-take station (or you can leave your art to be displayed).
All materials are provided and there are images to inspire creativity. The first two featured activities reflect the modern works found in the current temporary exhibit, “In Living Color.” You can create a figure in the style of Keith Haring or use painter’s tape to create a design spired by Joseph Albers’ “Homage to the Square.”
It was the square project that captured my preschooler’s imagination. He was proud of his finished artwork.
Barbara’s Curiosity Corner – This adorable reading nook with puppets and books was a spot Mooch kept returning to.
The area also had different architectural toys like blocks and magnetic pieces both kids enjoyed.
If you go
Where: Joslyn Art Museum; Memorial Building, lower level east, 2200 Dodge St.
When: Open during all regular museum hours (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Mondays and major holidays)
– Children must be accompanied by an adult
– School groups are not permitted (teachers are asked to encourage parents to bring children on weekends and Thursday evenings since they will not be visiting during their school tours)
– Strollers are not allowed in Art Works (stroller parking is provided just outside activity space)
Stay tuned: Keep an eye out for an upcoming post about two temporary exhibits at Joslyn Art Museum, “In Living Color: Andy Warhol and Contemporary Printmaking” and “BAM! It’s a Picture Book: The Art Behind Graphic Novels.”
Disclaimer: Joslyn Art Museum invited my family to preview the exhibit before it was open to the public.
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