Children and art come together at BYU’s Museum of Art with the Second Saturday Art Tales program.
The program, designed for children ages 4 to 9, introduces young art connoisseurs to exhibits and then encourages them to create art of their own, all for free.
Krisanne Hastings, school and family programs educator at the MOA, created the program last fall, shortly after starting at the museum. Her supervisor wanted to see more family programming and allowed Hastings free reign in producing one.
“It’s been a really positive reaction,” Hastings said.
Second Saturdays give a layered experience to children by including an art-looking and an art-making experience.
I try to make [the art-looking portions] really interactive and creative,” Hastings said. “It’s just fun, so it keeps them looking — especially when we do games…we don’t always do games but when we do a game that really kind of forces them to look closely at the paintings and look for certain details and people.”
The program has grown in recent months largely through word of mouth, allowing the museum to host two sessions each Saturday.
In February, the Second Saturday program focused on the MOA’s Weir Exhibit and French Fairytales. Children listened to a version of Cinderella before visiting to the exhibit. There, Hastings provided the children with clues before setting the children loose to search for versions of the story’s characters in the paintings.
Despite their young age, the children easily follow the hoops of museum etiquette, Hastings said.
“I think they’re having such a good time, they don’t mind sitting behind the gray line or not touching what they see,” she said.
Following the art-viewing portions, children receive the opportunity to let their creative natures shine with an art-making session. This month, children made their own fairytale paper puppets.
Rebekah Padeken, a 5-year-old who came with her mother Camille from Eagle Mountain, decked her princess puppet out with glitter before dubbing her Rupenzel.
Camille Padeken said she enjoys exposing her children to the art.
“We don’t come down very often but we thought it was a fun chance for the kids to see the museum and do some crafts,” she said.
Erin Askar, a resident of Spanish Fork, brought several of her children to Second Saturday for the first time this month.
“It was really fun,” Askar said. “I liked how they took the kids around to the different paintings and let them see kind of from a child’s eye view … otherwise [the kids] just kind of skip along and pass by.”
Hastings said she is constantly surprised by the insightful observations the children make about the art.
“I love their comments,” she said. “Some of the four year olds will say some of the most profound things about the art. … Every single time they notice things I never noticed before. I love that. It just goes to show that any age can gain something valuable from looking at art.”
Parents can now sign up for next months Second Saturday event “Sharing Middle Eastern Animal Fables in Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture“ by calling the Museum of Art. Spots fill quickly; so reserve your spot early.