Young At Arts Children's Museum gets kids to create, not just observe

arts / Article

The Stomp percussion exhibit at the Young at Art Children's Museum.

The ambitious and extraordinary Young At Art Children's Museum is about to be a hot summer ticket for South Florida families with kids. The cavernous and bright building is a riot of bright color and art at every turn, yet clearly organized with space for quiet time too. Art is organized into themed areas for everything from surrealism (René Magritte) to street art (Keith Haring).

Young At Art will be offering day camps as well as summer camps that include ceramics, painting and other diversions for kids. Based on my own price-shopping of summer camps in the area, their summer camp weekly rate is quite affordable.

I visited Young At Art with my daughter - who's five, attends kindergarten and has taken some art classes. She was most interested in the Stomp percussion room, the Hokusai wave climbing sculpture, and the Edouard Duval Carrie interactive art exhibit.  Carrie's installation was funded by a 2011 Knight grant and the museum itself was a Knight Arts Challenge first-year winner.

The museum's target audience is from toddlers through teens, and its content is geared for participation rather than just observation. Younger visitors will find giant soft sculptures and climbing activities, manipulables, a sand pit, painting and gluing activities. Elementary age kids will disappear into the huge Hokusai wave sculpture, curate their own art exhibits or interact with touch screen computers. Kids of all ages will engage with the Stomp percussion lab/garage/noisebox and the puppet theatre area. Older kids would appreciate the opportunity to spend more than a class period painting or sculpting.

Seriously the Stomp area alone is worth the trip, and my daughter's music class deserves a field trip to go explore it, and engage is jargon for you can't pry them out of there. The web site for Young At Art details the opportunity ahead:

Projected to serve 500,000 children and adults during its first year, the New YAA will feature four permanent galleries - CultureScapes, GreenScapes, WonderScapes and ArtScapes - where visitors engage in an exceptional range of authentic, arts-based educational experiences, developing a new generation of tomorrow's patrons, advocates and supporters of arts-based education; a Young At Art Institute that presents a curriculum in state-of-the-art equipped studios: painting/drawing, ceramics, printmaking, digital/ b+w photography and 4D video design; a cutting-edge Teen Center for YAA's 300+ volunteer corp; a Traveling Exhibition Gallery presenting national interactive exhibitions; and Artist-in-Residence Studios/Installations that includes Kenny Scharf, Pablo Cano, Edouard Duval Carrie, Kenichi Yokono, Leonel Matheu, who, among others, are collaborating with museum designers and fabricators to infuse their spirit and artful voice throughout the exhibition spaces.

Young At Art has a gala event with music and food tonight - Friday, May 4. Its grand opening is set for Saturday, May 5.

By Robertson Adams, communications associate/webmaster at Knight Foundation and parent

Related: Earlier post on Young At Art by Valerie Schimel on KnightArts.org

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