Hidden Fun at the High Museum of Art

Ann McDermitt - Atlanta
February 22, 2012

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta is on the list of top destinations to visit in Atlanta. Too often the word 'museum' conjures up quiet, stuffy spaces, but the High actively strives to disprove that myth for visiting families on a daily basis. The High's museum staff plans diligently to not only display the highest quality art, but also help raise young future artists and art lovers in the community. We've found five ways for you to explore the High with your kids and become an art-Savvy family:  

Green Family Learning Gallery - Created specially for families to explore the museum in a hands on way, the Green Family Learning Gallery is a delightful 'please touch' introduction into the world of art concepts. Depending on your day's plans, you can begin or end your day here. Try to recreate the High Museum's architecture by using blocks and shapes with your junior architect. Listen to your child tell stories with characters found in the museum's art pieces. Other areas include the perfect kid easels to 'make your mark'and large sculptural pieces meant to facilitate the creation of spaces. All of the centers are frequently refreshed with ideas, characters, and activities which relate to the current art exhibitions at the High. Special Family Museum Tours depart from the Green Gallery on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Also along the wall are a series of self guided family tours and suggestions for theme visits to explore at your family's own pace. The gallery is located on the first floor of the Stent Family Wing. After entering the admission area follow the windowed bridge-like path to the right to the first room on the right.

Discovery Backpacks - Pre-planned gallery adventures are free and available from the Wieland Pavilion Coat Check. These Discovery Backpacks are designed to engage your child with connection building activities for 30 - 45 minutes. Two Discovery Pack themes are available: Sculpture and Modern and Contemporary Art. 

Regular Fundays and Playdates - Thursday mornings draws preschoolers and their parents to the High for an artistic playdate. Carefully planned curriculums which follow seasons and highlight art in collects immerse little learners into the museum. The Toddler Thursday Playdates begin each Thursday at 11 am and run until 3 pm. On the second Sunday of each month a Second Sunday Family Funday provides hands-on activities for the whole family. In March the focus will be on the modern human figure in artwork with explorations which include a modern dance workshop, Cubist-inspired face creation, comic workshops, and artists who come alive in the galleries. (March 11, 1:00-5:00 p.m.)

Self-Guided Family Tours - Inside the Green Family Gallery you will find a row of guides along the wall which explore themed topics and guide you to specific pieces of art within the High. With themes like decorative arts, American Art, and the famous Richard Meier architectural design, your family can become art specialists with insight you develop. Collect all of the guides and use them to plan future trips by doing research in advance of your trip. Additional resources for research can be found in the Educator's link for Teachers. 

Learn from the best - For centuries artists have tried the replicate and sketch from the great master's artwork in an effort to learn about composition and technique. Why not do this with your child? Bring a backpack filled with traveling art supplies which will allow you to be inspired in the gallery by the actual artwork. The rules are simple, sketching is allowed in the galleries when care is used. This is a great time to teach your child that it is possible to learn from the priceless works without damaging them. Your child will be fascinated by the fact that you are allowing them to draw in a new place surrounded by museum pieces. Such a different experience than being dragged from painting to painting with no interaction. Older children will enjoy joining the regular third Friday Drawing in the Galleries program which occurs during Friday Jazz. (6-9 pm) The model and supplies are provided for enjoyment of the drawing process.

The Highly Hands-On Blog is an insider look at how new installations and activities are created. Recently they featured photos from the installation of Brian Donnelly's Companion sculpture (KAWS exhibit) which was installed on the Piazza by a crane. Follow the High's own Family Programs page for details concerning these and other activities your family can enjoy. An event calendar is also available to conveniently see all events by dates. Ticket purchase and information concerning special discounts can be found through the High's Plan Your Visit pages. The High is located in Midtown and be easily accessed from Marta's Arts Center station.

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