Getting your children excited for a museum can sometimes be difficult, and that tends to go double for art exhibits. In a day and age when a child’s entire world is multimedia, movies and video games, looking at pictures and sculptures that don’t move or do anything interesting seems more like a chore than a fun activity. Fortunately, Baltimore has a thriving art community whose appreciation and enthusiasm drives it to make art both available and interesting to the next generation. Check out any one of these exhibits for a sure-fire win with the kids.
Children And Family Classes And Tours At The WAM
Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
Walters is a cultural experience for just about anyone. This art museum has every kind of art from every kind of culture from across time, including Greek sculpture and Roman sarcophagi; medieval ivories and Old Master paintings; Art Nouveau jewelry and 19th century European and American masterpieces.
So what makes Walters kid-friendly? Well firstly, general admission is always free; but more importantly, Walters hosts a vast range of kid- and family-oriented activities. For infants, try the Art Babies class and tour or any of the ArtCubs classes. For toddlers, it offers Art Tots; for pre-schoolers, ArtKids; and for kids of all other ages, try the Walk Wonder & Create tour or the Gallery Drawing Family Workshops. Each of these family-oriented classes are led by enthusiastic Museum staff and volunteers who invite adults and their children into the world of art via exciting, interactive courses that invite them not simply to look, but to also feel and create.
3134 Eastern Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21224
Date: Oct. 5 – Dec. 7, 2014
The Baltimore Creative Alliance is a non-profit arts program with the mission of making both the arts and the free expression of art available to the street-level Baltimorean. In the case of the Creative Alliance, art includes not simply visual arts, but also performing arts. This means, of course, that the Creative Alliance brings a non-stop parade of art to Baltimore; but it also means that the Alliance offers a number of opportunities for regular people to get involved with their own free expression. This goes double for children.
The Creative Alliance always has something cooking at its location in The Patterson, and this includes plenty of free opportunities for parents and kids to get in on the art action. The Creative Alliance offers both summer school and after-school events for children, with caring and creative staff members bringing children into the world of art by showing them great art, and then allowing them the tools, instruction and opportunities to make their own art.
During the October to December season, parents and children can drop in for free with no reservations for the Kerplunk! class on Saturdays, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. The class starts with a tour of the current art display, and then encourages participants to cooperate, creating a project based on the current display.
About as interactive as art can get, the Creative Alliance at The Patterson has something for everyone.
Related: Best Children’s Museums In Maryland
“Shake It Baby!”
5707 Smith Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21209
Date: Through Sept. 27, 2014
Baltimore Clayworks is equal parts art gallery and educational center. Always displaying the work of professional artists and class graduates alike, Clayworks is a fun and fascinating place to come and take in an exhibit. However, more engaging for children are its many classes. Any child who’s played with clay or putty knows how enjoyable it is to knead and mold whatever they can imagine. Claywork’s classes offer professional materials and expert, educational nudges to this already established childhood joy.
Clayworks offers summer camps to give children a fun and constructive way to spend their summers; but it also offers classes specifically for children, for teenagers and for parents and their children.
If your child is already into art, stop by and take in one of the exciting, haunting and dramatic exhibits. If your child isn’t interested in sculpture art, come in for a weekend class and change that for good.
The “Shake It Baby!” exhibit challenged its artists to come up with a unique delivery system for salt and pepper. The results are some truly innovative, artistic and humorous ways to spice up your meal. Come spice up your kids’ day with this display!
Free Family Sundays
Baltimore Museum Of Art
10 Art Museum Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218
Date: Last Sunday of the month
The BMA is a shoo-in for any list of Baltimore-area art museums, and for good reason. It is, quite frankly, one of the most impressive art galleries in the world. The BMA holds over 900,000 works of art ranging from19th-century to modern to contemporary.
All sound a little boring for children to take in? Thankfully, BMA thought of that. To start with, BMA’s website grabs the kids’ interest with its interactive game “Matisse for Kids.” With this ingenious and enjoyable introduction to art, the child is ready for the actual visit.
While there, BMA allows – nay insists – that children and their parents play one of its “art games,” each of which involves touring the gallery and interacting with the displays by playing imaginative scenarios such as “detective,” “tell a tale,” “what if it came alive,” etc.
For the very young, BMA invites parents to expand their learning by helping them pick out basic shapes and colors, always keeping in mind that exposure to fine art is a proven booster of intellectual development.
BMA may be a world-class art gallery, but it isn’t afraid to let kids be kids. Probably the best example of this is its Family Fun Sundays. Come in with your kids any Sunday and participate in a creative art activity led by an actual artist. Visit the last Sunday of any month for an informal talk with a gallery educator on a single work of art.
Joel Furches is a freelance writer and researcher for The Examiner and Logos Software, and also manages his own catalog of writing on Hub Pages. Joel is on the board of directors for Ratio Christi. He has a bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Education.