To foster interest in the arts, museums across the country are developing children’s programming designed to encourage youth participation, in hopes that the engaged learning experiences nurture a cultural savvy in the next generation of society’s leaders.
This week, we visit with fashion icon Cynthia Rowley on how she combines her two biggest loves: family and art.
Photo Courtesy of Cynthia Rowley
“Most of our friends are artists, so the kids don’t really have a choice,” laughed Ms. Rowley.
Photo: Rowley-Powers clan, circa 2005.
The first Saturday of every month, the New Museum holds a free day for families with hands-on programs for children 5-15 years old. Families are encouraged to explore the exhibits, to have lively conversations about the artwork and to engage in related creative activities.
Sharon Vatsky, Director of School and Family Programs at the Guggenheim Museum, echoed Ms. Rowley’s sentiments. “Children are incredibly curious … It is not surprising that given a bit of encouragement, they benefit greatly from seeing that artists also do many of the things that come so naturally to them.” The Guggenheim’s family programs—among them Family Tour and Workshop, Open Studio and Just Drop In—are open-ended and encourage an active discourse. There are even self-guided activities “designed to allow families to explore on their own.”
Photo Credit: Enid Alvarez
Located in Queens, the Noguchi museum offers three family programs: Art for Families, Art for Tots and Open Studio. The goal is to encourage parents and caregivers to “learn strategies for engaging children in the museum experience through the exploration of art materials and visits to the galleries,” explained Ms. Herz.
The museum also takes a look at what art can teach about its time. Sinister Pop, an upcoming exhibit at the Whitney, draws upon the museum’s vast collection of Pop art to curate the “dark and unsettling ways in which artists looked at the cultural landscape of America in the 1960s and 1970s,” said Donna De Salvo, the Whitney’s chief curator and deputy director for programs. These foundations of a greater, deeper appreciation for the arts bring a cultural perspective to the forefront.
With all the distractions of the city, it seems there’s never really time for much of anything—particularly not for enjoying those very distractions. You and your kids have your hands in this and that, lending your limited and often sparse attention to a cultural event here, or a social gathering there, but when was the last time you forgot about the ticking hands on your watch face and took joy in the simple act of being together?
For the seven weeks, we follow families that do.
Each day, with every meal and chore, these New Yorkers take a step back from it all. From neighborhood outings to museum visits, we connect with parents and their kids about how they keep their busy schedules in check and make time for what matters at the end of the day, when soccer season is over and to-do lists are crossed off: each other.
We also look to Houston, Miami, San Francisco and Chicago to see what they have to offer families who are searching for ways to be a part of each others’ everyday lives.
When it comes to your family, who doesn’t have a moment to spare?
Week One: From the Comfort of Your Front Yard
Week Two: Fashion, and Family: A Lifestyle
Week Three: Art and the City: A Family Affair
Week Five: Around the World in So Many Ways
Week Seven: The Tradition of Coming Together