From the organized chaos of Free First Saturday to the eloquent discoveries of Arty Pants: Your Tuesday Playdate, it has been quite a year in Family Programs at the Walker. With each event carefully orchestrated by the devoted Walker staff I am reminded of the incredible company that surrounds me, working hard to provide an unmatched contemporary art adventure to kids and their parents in the community.
Highlights from Free First Saturday include the Animation Station, a Free First Saturday activity led by Schell Hickel and Katie Maren. Kids sculpted their own characters out of clay and put them to work in their own stop-motion animation. In April Robin Schwartzman’s sculptural play space was set up for kids to interact with in the activity Jump On In!, an event accompanied by a slapstick puppet performance. Chris Larson joined the kids in the Art Lab hot-gluing wooden structures for a project reminiscent of his piece in the Spectacular Vernacular exhibition. July teemed with hip hop splendor during a full day of dance workshops led by Kenna Camara-Cottman, beat boxing, and graffiti demonstrations. The summer culminated in a memorable LARP (Live Action Role Playing) battle on the field, featuring an exclusive visit by the Corporate Wizard, an event planned in conjunction with the Soap Factory. Amanda Lovelee joined us for a day of community building in early Autumn, teaching us not to hesitate to meet our neighbor in a square dancing bonanza on Open Field. October began with a bang when the Bakken Museum came to show kids how to construct rockets and build electric circuits while November and December were all about performance and design, Kaleena Miller and company performing the vibrant, tap dancing piece, Fleet and Kindra Murphy teaching the kids a thing or two about typeface design.
Arty Pants offered one imaginative enterprise after another this year including multiple interactive installations that transformed the Art Lab into a Sol LeWitt inspired string entanglement, a paper jungle, a Mark di Suvero influenced arachnid terrarium, and a functioning fishing pond. There were notable visits from children’s book authors including Nancy Carlson and countless story times. Brittany Shrimpton led a number of inspiring movement activities including Dance by Chance, a movement game based on Merce Cunningham’s “chance” dances. Multiple films were screened including a short film animated by children entitled I’m Hungry and The Gruffalo based on an award winning children’s book.
Costumes were created, creatures were made, battles were fought, rockets were launched and a good time was had by all. Join us in 2012 for another slew of inventive adventures.
View the Walker Art Center’s Flickr site for a full gallery of images.
Surprise kids favorite exhibition of the year: Nathalie Djurberg’s The Parade
Rendered below by a young artist on a visit to the Walker.