The Birmingham Museum of Art Opens First Children's Gallery on May 19
The Birmingham Museum of Art will open the doors to Bart’s ArtVenture, its first interactive gallery designed specifically for children and families on May 19. The colorful, modern space combines high tech art-making tools with hands-on creation stations to give kids and families the opportunity to begin and develop their art education in a creative, communal environment. With its opening, Bart’s ArtVenture becomes one of only a handful of art museums across the nation with a gallery dedicated to kids and families.
“Bart’s ArtVenture is going to transform our Museum experience for visitors with children,” said BMA Director, Gail Andrews. “This kind of space not only gives families the freedom to create and share art in a safe and fun environment, it also fills a significant void in our community that has been created where budget cuts have eroded many arts programs in our schools. Bart's ArtVenture offers children the chance to discover art, some for the very first time,” she says.
Somerset, a Huntsville-based design group, worked closely with the Museum's education department to devise an engaging, modular space divided into two galleries-- one children for ages 3-8 and the other for children ages 6-16. Both galleries feature large “art bars” where children can create their own art.
“Our goal with Bart's ArtVenture is to relate its design to our collection while implementing activities that would encourage group participation and inspire conversation between kids and families,” says Curator of Education, Samantha Kelly. “We want the Museum experience to be fun, easy and accessible for families with children of all ages and see this space as a place where art comes alive, one which serves as a bridge for families to further explore our Museum together.”
Each station surrounding the art bars in the gallery purposefully reflects some aspect of the Museum's diverse permanent collection. The colorful entrance wall to the space includes art derived from Roy Lichtenstein’s sculpture Brushstroke V. A green screen lets visitors to virtually step into one of the Museum’s works--such as Albert Bierstadt’s iconic painting Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California--and then email the digital image to themselves. Texture blocks designed for younger visitors are based on objects from the collection, and children can don masks nearly identical to those preserved on display in the African galleries. Even the large customizable image of BMA family mascot Bart The Art Bat, is itself derived from a Pre-Columbian gold artifact on display at the Museum.
The hallway linking the two galleries “Bart’s Art Cave” will be a showcase for local artists, offering various “sensory-based” works during the course of a year. The Museum worked with Bare Hands, Inc. to identify artists for the space that bring the right level of stimulation, innovation, and children-centered art and ideas. The first on display is Heather Spencer Holmes’ ethereal installation of floating jellyfish called Smack.
“Opportunities for young visitors to create their own art, be inspired by new artists, and to be engaged with the masterpieces at the Museum means that Bart’s ArtVenture offers a kid-friendly environment like no other,” says Kelly. “We want it to provoke conversation about how art, creativity, exploration, and discovery can be a part of your life after the Museum visit.”
Bart’s ArtVenture Grand Opening Celebration
May 19, 2012 // 11:00am – 3:00pmFREE and open to all ages
Join Bart the Art Bat for the Grand Opening of Bart’s ArtVenture, the Museum’s cool, new hands-on gallery for kids of all ages! Be among the very first to explore the cutting –edge technology and art-making opportunities. Step into one of the Museum’s masterpieces via green screen technology. Make an abstract painting with your body on a giant digital canvas. Create your own art and feast on Bart’s birthday cupcakes as we follow Bart on a new Museum ArtVenture! Visit artsbma.org for more information.
10:00-11:00 // Member’s Preview
Become a member today to be the first to see the new gallery!
11:00 // Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Gallery Officially Opens to the Public
11:00-3:00 // Free Family Activities
Stories in the Galleries
About the Birmingham Museum of Art: Founded in 1951, the Birmingham Museum of Art has one of the finest collections in the Southeast. More than 24,000 objects displayed and housed within the Museum represent a rich panorama of cultures, including Asian, European, American, African, Pre-Columbian, and Native American. Highlights include the Museum’s collection of Asian art, Vietnamese ceramics, the Kress collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the late 13th century to the 1750s, and the Museum’s world-renowned collection of Wedgwood, the largest outside of England.