There are many things that children are interested in when they are young, but art may not be one of them. They may love to make their own art, but they may not know how to appreciate the art that others have produced. That is why many don’t think to take their children to art museums, but that can be a mistake. There is a lot that children can take away from such a visit, and many different types of museums that they will love. You may find just what you need very close to home, or you can travel as a family to find something truly amazing.
My daughter likes art museums, and this is something that she first got when we took her to the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY. This is not your typical ‘paintings on the wall’ type of art museum, but rather, art made with glass almost exclusively. You would be surprised to see what can be done with glass. There are modern pieces, and there are some that date back centuries. Because there was a lot of interactive things to do, and many colorful exhibits, she was right into the experience and wants to visit more art museums.
No matter what type of art museums you choose, you can make sure that your children come away with something by engaging them at their level. Ask them what they think a painting is or what it means, and ask them to tell you what their favorite thing about each artwork might be. You can find art museums that are geared towards children, and they are always a good choice, but kids can enjoy all types of art when they are included in the process of choosing and viewing the art in question.
When your child comes home telling you that they are going to art museums for field trips, do all you can to act excited, and ask them a lot of questions when they get back. Art is essential for learning skills, and the more they love art the better they are going to do in school. When the children sense your excitement over art museums, they are going to take on some of that energy and enthusiasm into themselves. They may even decide to give some types of art a try, and that may lead them to discovering a talent or a hobby that will stay with them for life.
When I was a kid, I used to love marble sculpture. We would go and look at works by Rodin down at the Detroit Institute of arts. They only had a few of them, but they were absolutely exquisite. To this day, I have never seen a marble sculptor like Rodin, but there are many good ones. The Greeks, for example, had some extremely beautiful marble sculptures. Although some of them have been damaged or destroyed by the years, the features that remain intact are still quite gorgeous.
Thinking about the beauty of stone sculpture, I wonder why it is not done more commonly nowadays. When I look in a modern art gallery, I see very few sculpture marble examples. Most modern Art is abstract forms made out of contemporary materials. Perhaps they will use wood, perhaps plastics, but never stone. It is almost as if artists don’t have the patience to make marble sculptures anymore. If you talk to the artist, they may tell you that they make forms in the media that appeal to them most, but I think this is a load of hooey. The great thing about marble sculpture is that the artist has to put so much time and so much thought into it. Anyone can cobble together an abstract form out of plastics or cloth, but making a life size sculpture of marble really require some skill and some dedication.
Of course, you can find marble sculpture online, but most of it lacks originality. Basically, most of the sculptures marble that people are selling imitates classic forms. Instead of selling a contemporary marble sculpture, they will create one that is meant to look like Greek sculpture. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Greek sculptures, but I can’t imagine that our culture can’t come up with anything original in the medium of marble!
The only place where you ever find the original stone sculpture work is among Native American and Chinese traditional artists. Although marble sculpture is rare, it is still sometimes used. More common by far, however, is soapstone sculpture or jade. Marble sculpture isn’t really done much by either of these peoples, because marble is not very common in the areas where they live. Jade, however, is ubiquitous in China, and soapstone is quite common up north where the Inuit still ply their craft. These sculptures a unique and beautiful, unlike anything still made in Europe or America.