Think you know MoMA? You may be surprised by all of the family-friendly offerings at the city’s main museum for modern and contemporary art. The institution comes through with a reliable and steady stream of classes, tours, artist visits, films and art workshops—designed especially for families.
The best part? They’re free. The nonexistent price tag isn’t the only thing that keeps local families coming back for more. The quality of the events and presentations is what you’d expect from a cutting edge institution like the MoMA, and parents are encouraged to participate with their kids. “Our goals are to engage families with works of art, to engage them with each other and to engage them with the institution,” Elizabeth Margulies, MoMA’s family programs coordinator says. “Through looking at art together, they can come up with a model for talking about art, whether it’s by attending a program, or using one of the family guides or audio guides or coming to our interactive space.”
May is an exciting month to attend, as the MoMA family program finishes up its spring classes and prepares for the summer programs that begin in July. Every Saturday and Sunday, 4- year-olds and their parents can attend.
Tours for Fours, a 45-minute gallery tour that caters solely to their age group. The tour themes change every month; May’s theme is “Places and Spaces.” Museum educators use these themes to guide families around the galleries. “A Closer Look for Kids” is the next stage of classes, for children aged 5 to 10. May weekends have kids looking at lines in the artists’ works, learning about movement and texture in abstract paintings, the creation of line in space with sculptures and even finding lines in design and architecture. Each week offers something new, with different artworks and galleries for families to explore together.
The museum’s current interactive space, The Line Lab, is also a draw this month; after a successful multiple-month run, the exploratory space closes on June 1st to make way for a brand new interactive area, which will feature a new theme and new activities. The lab is open almost all day during its last month, so families can take a break from the galleries and immerse themselves in books, building materials and special projects devoted to an important aspect of art—the line. Other distinctive aspects of the museum’s family programs include gallery talks, film screenings and artist conversations for families with older children. MoMA added Tours for
Tweens, for ages 11 to 14, several years ago, along with their “Watch This! Films for Tweens” Saturday afternoon film screenings. “It’s nice that you can kind of grow up with us,” Margulies says. The most popular programs by far, however, are the Family Art Workshops, two-hour events that combine both the artwork of the galleries and the artwork made by the kids in attendance.
The workshops for May, inspired by pop art from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, are for ages 6-8, and they filled up months ago. Margulies says these particular classes fill up within hours of being announced in the family programs’ online newsletter, which anyone can sign up for at moma.org. Registration for July’s workshop, an exploration for all ages of the work of artist Song Dong, takes place in June. Visit Moma.org or call the Family Programs Office at 212- 708-9805 for more information.
City moms can feel both pampered and cultured as they enjoy a special family outing this Mother’s Day at the Museum of Modern Art. The day begins in Café 2 before the museum opens to the public with an elegant buffet breakfast, including fare like mushroom and fava bean bruschetta and deviled eggs with caviar.
Then gather for a family-friendly group tour at 10:30 to see some of the iconic artwork displayed in the galleries—Monet, Picasso, Warhol, Van Gogh. May 10, 9am; MoMA, 11 W 53rd St. $60 for adults, $25 for children under 16. Reservations required. Call 212-708-9685 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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