Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How Do You Play with the Art of Chagall?

The traveling exhibit Chagall for Children is here at the Museum through April 20th. I spent some time watching families explore a few days after we opened. Here are some excerpts of what I saw:
A girl, 4 years of age, was walking near Chagall's The Juggler. Suddenly she heard a horse neigh and ran over to see where the sound came from.  The volunteer, playing with the interactive, showed her the horse on the image and then said, Can you find the violinist?  The girl touched the violinist and the image moved. She heard a violin playing and she smiled. (Note: She got it!  Soon she's exploring many of the detailed images in this interactive.  She noticed art!)
At Chagall's The Circus, a boy, 5 years of age, stood in front of the wall-size replica, mimicking Chagall's interpretation of a circus character on a horse.  As he noticed his image on the screen across from the wall hanging, he pretended to balance on the horse.  (Note: He used his imagination, just as Chagall painted things from his imagination.)
A girl, age 2, was moving the color clings around at Light Garden.  Her mom pointed to the Chagall images above.  (Note:  A lot of Chagall's artworks are very colorful, so the Museum matched a set of clings to these colors.   DCM added three images to Light Garden, for an enhancement to the traveling exhibit.  We replaced Monet's Water Lilies in Light Garden with these Chagall images - L'Envol, Au Dessus de la Ville, and Flowers and Lovers.)
 Both children and adults can immerse themselves into the life and work of this master artist. A grandmother was observed reading facts about Chagall on the reading boards located at adult level while her grandchild napped in her stroller. It is our hope that both children and adults will develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the many forms of artistic expression created by Marc Chagall.  Stay tuned!  More observations are forthcoming!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Exploring the Art of Chagall with Children

The Museum is very excited to offer our visitors the opportunity to explore, touch, listen, to learn about, look at, wonder about and feel the art of Marc Chagall.  Based on the work of this Russian-born French painter 1887-1985, the exhibit includes 15 reproductions of Chagall works, most with interactive elements that allow children to explore their own creativity. The exhibit is located in our Creativity Connections neighborhood from January 15 - April 20, 2011.

"Recurring themes in Chagall's work," according to our Interdisciplinary Arts Specialist, Marcia MacRae, are his love of family, his town and the way he was brought up.  It's those kinds of memories we want to make for our children."

Here are some suggestions for exploring the exhibit together:

Use your senses. Most of the reproductions and all of the accompanying exhibit  interactive components are designed to be explored. Marc Chagall's art appeals to the senses - look with your eyes, pretend to smell the flowers, hear the music or feel the fine textures.

Encourage your child by asking questions. Ask your child to tell you what he sees, hears or feels. Whether he's pretending or describing a real action, these opportunities nurture the development of your child's thinking and inquiry skills.

Cultivate curiosity. Allow your child the opportunity to move at his own pace. Tune in to his interests and then support his discoveries by reading the labels or prompts.

Relate what you see to something familiar. Chagall was struck by the beauty of French flowers. Talk about the flowers in your garden or home. Recall a time when flowers were purchased for a special occasion.

Extend the learning. Where else in our Museum do you see artwork? Explore and talk together. How is the artwork the same as Chagall's? How is it different? Pretend to be one of the characters in a Chagall painting on the main stage in our Interact with Art Gallery, Play's the Thing: Act II, located on the second floor.

Please take time to visit this inspiring exhibit. Leave us a comment or send us a picture through this blog! What did your child notice first? Extend the learning at home by challenging your child to draw a picture as Marc Chagall did.

The Chagall for Children traveling exhibit was developed by Kohl Children's Museum and premiered in July 1996 in Wilmette IL.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Learning to Look

Quality art and design are everywhere you go! Learning to look at art and design not only helps develop art appreciation, but can also foster many important skills children need for lifetime learning! Make it a new year's resolution to look at art and design with your children. Here's some great tips from our Interdisciplinary Specialist Marcia MacRae:

Learning to Look Everyday
Start by hunting for simple colors or shapes with young children. Note every time you see the color red while running errands. You'll be astounded by how much your child will find. Building powers of observation and concentration will go a long way in developing study skills.

Older children are ready to make comparisons and judgments about objects. For example, help your child notice differences by inviting comments of the windows of the houses and shops near home. You'll be surprised at how many different types of windows you may discover in your neighborhood.

Helping children develop judgment and aesthetic sense fosters an ability to form opinions. At any age, point out a building or sculpture and tell your child what you think of it. Ask their opinion and let them know it is OK to disagree. Showing your children that their ideas are worthwhile, even if different from yours, helps them respect the opinions of others.

Learning to Look in the Museum
DCM is filled with art and designs for children to notice. All of our artwork is chosen to make connections with the learning goals of our exhibits. You can count along with Andy Warhol's 100 Campbell Soup Cans in Math Connections; trace the curving design of our cloud-shaped tables in AirWorks; build zigzagging ramps like the three different artistic interpretations of San Francisco's famous Lombard Street in Make it Move; or work on wonderfully textured surfaces in one of the exhibits in Creativity Connections.

Observation, appreciation of design, and good descriptive vocabulary are skills needed in science and math as well as art. Practice taking a new look at these things you see everyday. Talk about them with your children and they'll make new discoveries and connections in the world around them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Our ninth annual celebration to ring in the New Year (at noon) was a resounding success! I can't think of a better way to ring in the New Year than to watch the delight of children, parents and grandparents creating, celebrating and pretending together.

Singing along with Mr. Singer and the Sharp Cookies

Making a jet-pack to blast-off to 2011

Coloring in the "Galaxy Room"

Countdown to noon with Mayor George Pradel

Ringing in the New Year with bubbles

To view more pictures and read stories about our New Year's countdown to noon celebration, visit the Daily Herald and patch.com/NapervillePatch.

(Pictures are compliments of volunteer photographers Kelly Bridges, Caryn Kolodziej and Rick Beato)