Families are Focus of Mint’s New Educational Programming

New amenities let children draw inspiration from creative play

New programs and amenities geared towards younger visitors are making The Mint Museum a welcoming destination for children and families this winter.

The Lewis Family Gallery at the Mint Museum Uptown provides a creative outlet for children to play, explore, and learn about the Museum’s collections. Featuring actual works of art, the Family Gallery offers five activity zones and a soft-play Tot Spot area for crawlers and new walkers. Visitors can pose for pictures behind a wall of ornate gold frames in the Hall of Portraits or step into a Romare Bearden-inspired collage in the interactive Memories of Mecklenburg play house. Two art-making stations, Draw the Line and Imagination Station, allow children to experiment with mark-making and create artwork to take home, while the Inspired By station offers puzzle challenges for young minds. Geared towards children up to age 12, the Lewis Family Gallery is open during regular museum hours and is free with admission.

Beginning in January, families will be able to borrow an Art Pack at the “Mint for Families” station just outside the Lewis Family Gallery for an in-depth investigation of artwork in the permanent collection galleries. Art Packs are backpacks stocked with sketching, writing, and touchable activities and games geared toward school-aged children. Also available at the family station are ARTventure scavenger hunt postcards, which encourage children and their parents to explore a new theme in the Mint Museum Uptown
each month. Both of these projects are supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Mint will also launch two new education series for families in 2011: Art Studio Saturdays and Sunday Fun Days. In Art Studio Saturdays, children and adults can create art projects as a family using materials and themes provided by the Museum. This drop-in series will be held monthly on second
Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Mint Museum Randolph and is free with museum admission. The Art Studio Saturdays winter/spring schedule is:

8 January Painting Party!: Experiment with a variety of paints and materials to create a work of art, and see a masterpiece by Impressionist Mary Cassatt in the galleries.

12 February Dragon Puppets: Use crayon resist, markers, and embellishments to construct a dramatic dragon puppet to celebrate Chinese New Year.

12 MarchNative American Pottery: Explore ancient and contemporary pottery of the Americas and use hand-building techniques to construct a clay animal or vessel to take home.

9 AprilSpringtime Collage Cards: Celebrate the season by cutting, tearing, and layering handmade papers to create lovely collaged notecards, and visit the galleries to see how artists have depicted seasons throughout the ages.

14 MayMexican Tin Art: Draw inspiration from the bold, contemporary Maya textiles on display, and design and emboss a colorful, metal folk art plate.

Debuting in January at the Mint Museum Uptown are Sunday Fun Days. This monthly, drop-in series features family-friendly activities, including performances, artist demonstrations, craft projects, family tours, and more. Sunday Fun Days will be held monthly on third Sundays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Mint Museum Uptown and are free with museum admission. The Sunday Fun Days winter/spring schedule is:

16 January Glass Magic: Go on a family tour to view glass sculptures, make a sparkling sun catcher, and explore color and light at the Colorama Booth with Discovery Place ScienceReach specialists.

20 February Art, Supersized: Add your touch to a supersized mural, search the galleries for large paintings, and play “giant games” with your family members.

20 March Crafting Critters: Watch artist David Edgar morph recycled plastic into incredible sea creatures, take a guided “safari” in the galleries, and craft a critter to take home.

17 AprilEarth Day Art: See a special “green” performance by the North Carolina Dance Theatre, watch a pottery demonstration by artist Greg Scott, craft a recycled creation, and go on an Earth Day family tour.

15 May Wonders of Wood: Watch the wood shavings fly as artist Charles Farrar demonstrates the art of woodturning on a lathe, then go on a wood-themed scavenger hunt in the galleries and do a simple wood project.

All 2010-2011 education programs for children, youth, and teachers are supported in part by a generous grant from The Hearst Foundation, Inc.