Ultimately, what we do or don’t do as parents will determine whether our kids are content to take their cultural cues from MTV shows or to explore the meaning behind a classic Monet painting. That being said, living in New York City â€” a place where culture, history and pursuits other than watching the tube are everywhere â€” all we need to do is make it a priority to avail our families to these events.
The Children’s Museum of the Arts is New York’s only children’s museum that brings artists and children together to create, exhibit, and celebrate children’s artwork. The mission of the museum is to extend the benefits of the arts to all children and their communities and to secure the future of the arts by inspiring and championing the next generation of artists and art lovers.
The current exhibit on display now through June 5, is called “Art Within Reach: from the WPA to the Present.” This intergenerational art exhibition appeals to children ages 7 and up and explores the connections between growing up in New York City during the Great Depression and growing up in the city today.
‘Art Within Reach’ features a rare selection of Depression-era children’s paintings of New York City created in Community Art Centers run by the Federal Art Project. The 19 original works are juxtaposed with 21 new paintings created by today’s children (ages 9-14) in CMA’s Young Artists’ Residency program. When showcased side by side, the works not only document the evolution of New York City’s landscape over the past 75 years, but also raise questions about the public’s access to art during economically challenging times.
The museum has a variety of programming and hands-on activities surrounding the exhibit, including watercolor and gouache workshops, curator-led gallery discussions, print-making workshops and multi-media animation. A full calendar of exhibit-related workshops can be found here: http://cmany.org/wpa/workshops.php
Address: 182 Lafayette St. (between Broome and Grand streets)
Hours: Monday and Tuesday CLOSED
Wednesday through Sunday 12pm-5pm
Admission: $10/person (1 to 65 years), Pay as You Wish Thursday 4-6 pm www.cmany.org
What will kids enjoy most about a visit here: The Children’s Museum of the Arts champions the artist in every child and believes that making art is fundamental to each child’s development. We provide an authentic hands-on art experiences for children with artists, in our art-filled interactive museum. We have professional teaching artists lead our workshops with the hopes of inspiring the artist within each child. With projects ranging from drawing and painting, to installation to animation and film, families have a chance to explore a variety of media.
Why should parents plan a visit to this museum with their kids: The Museum consists of two floors of artwork, art-making activities, and art-based play for children and their families; it is an organic, vibrant atmosphere in which children can experience unlimited creativity. CMA promotes an open-ended structure, allowing each child’s interests to serve as his or her guide. Every activity promotes parent-child interaction. We encourage all parents to participate in the projects as well as the kids.
CMA also has a gallery which features rotating exhibitions. Our exhibitions highlight children’s art, child-friendly art by adults, and other culturally-relevant shows. One of the key purposes of these shows is to encourage a dialogue between children and their parents. Art is hung at the children’s level, making the art accessible and geared to kids.
Overall: At CMA, they give all children and families access to the creative tools that promote self-expression and esteem through the visual and performing arts. We honor the artist in every child through hands-on art programs taught by trained, working artists; through our on-going collection and exhibition of children’s art. The museum experience is always a vibrant one because they combine the powerful elements of quality materials, excellent teaching artists, and innovative exhibitions and programming. No two days at the museum are the same – projects change daily.