I was recently asked to shed some light on the many amazing art resources available to Minnesotan families for mnartist.org’s e-journal, access+ENGAGE. Be sure to check out the MASHUP collection to see which art organizations spark your child’s curiosity.
Raising a creative kid must sound daunting to any parent. Isn’t there enough pressure just raising a kid? I’m a non-breeder myself, but seeing the pace of life my sister keeps between taking care of her two girls and holding down a career makes me wonder how much time parents really have to research and plan for an outing to an art center or museum.
Any parent, whether they’re an artist or not, can find simple and easy ways of enjoying the arts with their kids. There are so many exciting,varied, and (most-importantly) cost-free opportunities here in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota available for families–you just need to know where to look. This MASHUP collection reflects a wide-ranging sampler of art organizations that welcome families to learn and engage in an artful experience.
Here are some tips to getting the most of these arts resources: Pace yourself. The number of things to see and do can be overwhelming, so take in bits at a time. First, you might select from a variety of free family events that cross over multiple disciplines to find what interests your children most. Museums like the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Rochester Art Center offer free family days each month (typically related to exhibitions), while smaller institutions like Highpoint Center for Printmaking and Minnesota Center for the Book Arts occasionally offer free and more specialized art-making workshops for families. An additional bonus to these programs is they’re led by some of the most talented local performing, visual, and teaching-artists. Be aware however, that free family days are popular, so arrive early to beat the crowds.
If you’re looking for a less hands-on adventure, try Childish Films–a program of classic, independent, and new world cinema (for ages 3 and up) held once a month at the Minneapolis Central Library. Avid theater-goers don’t have to sacrifice their ticket when they can’t find a sitter: bring the whole family along to any one of the internationally-acclaimed theaters in Minnesota. The Children’s Theatre Company is a favorite for families–showing wildly popular shows like Disney’s High School Musical; and the Guthrie Theater invites kids 4-11 to partake in play dates and discount matinee family tickets. Looking ahead to next June, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts showcases a bonanza of international performing artists at the annual Flint Hills International Children’s Festival. Smaller theater and dance organizations not to be overlooked include Youth Performance Company, Stepping Stone Theater, Zenon Dance Company and School, and Young Dance.
Once your little one decides he’s/she’s going to be a puppet-maker, sculptor, circus acrobat, filmmaker, musician, or photographer, then its time to invest some time and money into classes, equipment, and a studio space! Good luck parents, and don’t freak out if you see a lone 30-year-old woman without kids looking like a tourist at the next Baby Loves Disco. It’s probably me doing “ field research”.