OWTK Philly Local: Art Splash at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

I don’t know what all the sculptures represent. I haven’t a clue about brush strokes. And I can barely dance my way around explaining impressionism to my kids. But I believe in art and I believe in art museums as exciting destinations for families with young children. Sometimes, you have to let them get giddy pointing and laughing at the naked butts on centuries-old statues, but there is always something fun to discover if you push aside any preconceived notions of stuffiness you may harbor toward big fancy art museums. In short, buy a few postcards from the gift shop and then go on a scavenger hunt for those paintings/antiquities/etc. Boom! A few awesome hours with kids in an art museum.

And then there’s programming especially designed for young children, like Art Splash at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In its 2nd year, the 10 week program will engage families with the exhibits by focusing on ten masterpieces, including Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, and musical events from kindie pop-rock greats Recess Monkey (Sunday, June 29 @ 1pm) and the bluegrass-y twang of Astrograss (July 6).

I got a special preview of the first annual Art Splash last summer and was in awe of how the museum was transformed into, not quite a playground, but a kind of grey beared fellow who, when speaking to a small wide-eyed child, crouches down, smiles, and listens intently to every single word she says as if every syllable was the most important thing he’d heard in his life. And that is beautiful respect for the wonder of childhood.

In short, get thee self to Art Splash at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this summer.

*Art Splash is included with museum admission, with is always free for kids twelve and under.

[press release stuff from here]

For ten weeks this summer, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will become a place where families can enjoy creative play together every day. Art Splash, now in its second year, will introduce children and adults to the Museum through a wide range of programs. Themed to ten important Museum masterpieces, from Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Eduard Charlemont’s The Moorish Chief to the Japanese teahouse, Art Splash will offer gallery explorations, hands-on studio art making, and performances.

Presented by PNC Arts Alive, Art Splash will begin at Art After 5 on Friday, June 27, with a Family Dance Party from 5:00 until 8:45 p.m. Grammy Award–winning musician Bakithi Kumalo, who has recorded and toured with Paul Simon, presents Keep the Beat!, which offers multilingual folk songs appealing to people of all ages. Over the weekend, the Sunflower Fest will celebrate van Gogh’s famous painting, and Seattle-based band Recess Monkeywill perform on Sunday, June 29, at 1:00 p.m.

Through September 1, families can drop in, pickup an Art Splash map, and discover activities in the galleries nearby each of the masterpieces. Twice-daily interactive tours both for younger and older children will be available. This summer will see the introduction of Gallery Games, with daily afternoon treasure hunts, sketching, and hands-on activities for 6–10 year olds, all led by Museum educators. The popular Early Bird Read and Look will invite visitors ages 3–5 to enjoy readings of gallery-related picture books and art projects on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The Museum will also offer a program designed for babies and toddlers—Baby Bird Playdate will feature circle time and art walks on Tuesday and Friday mornings.

The Splash Studio, a family home base for art making inspired by the masterpieces, will be located on the Great Stair Hall Balcony on Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Wednesdays and Fridays until 7:00 p.m. Visitors seeking to delve deeper can register for Family Art Workshops, in which adults and kids ages 6 and up will make art together.

Emily Schreiner, the Berton and Sallie Korman Associate Curator of Education for Family and Community Learning at the Museum, said, “Our goal is to give families a space to spend quality, creative time together. Art Splash allows the whole family to feel that they belong here at the Museum.”

Admission to the Philadelphia Museum of Art is always free for children 12 and under, and admission is Pay What You Wish on Wednesday evenings from 5:00 until 8:45 p.m. and on the first Sunday of every month.

Meet a different masterpiece every week:

June 27–29 (Opening Weekend): Splash into Summer

July 1–6: Red, White, and Glue

July 8–13: Arms and Armor

July 15–20: Wonderful Weavings

July 22–27: Art in the Garden

July 29–August 3: Mixed-Up Music

August 5–10: Mythological Mischief

August 12–17: Trip around the World

August 19–24: Medieval Worlds

August 26–September 1: Tea and Treasure

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