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The Joys of Family Programming

by Debora McDell-Hernandez, coordinator of community programs and outreach
My position at the Memorial Art Gallery gives me direct access to one of our most prized audiences?families! Childhood exposure to museums increases the likelihood of continued museum visitation in adulthood, so MAG’s very young visitors have the potential to become future regular visitors or members.
The Gallery presents as many as six family-friendly programs featuring free admission annually. These programs feature a variety of well-trained and respected artists and scholars from the community who use hands-on art projects, art talks, storytelling, music, and dance to connect people to art. Children usually spend a great deal of time in art classes in the Creative Workshop. I am tickled to see the determination and independence of visitors as young as three or four years old who insist on making art projects without the aid of their parents. The fun is not reserved just for children, as the adults enjoy storytelling and dance workshops as much as the little ones.
The praises that we receive regularly from children and adults are heart-warming. Many parents recall their younger years as students in the Creative Workshop and are delighted to bring their children to MAG for Workshop classes and Family Days. One mother of two that I recognized as a regular Family Day attendee approached me during the Make It! Take It! Sculpt It! Family Day on June 13 and commented that her family loves Family Days and attend all of them to ensure that the programs continue to be offered. Affordability, quality and a welcoming environment are just a few reasons that keep families coming back. Children usually identify specific things that they like.
At left is a thank you note that we received from seven-year old Samantha Conrow who attended the Make It! Take It! Sculpt It! Family Day. She especially enjoyed a dance workshop presented by Elizabeth Clark Dance Ensemble. Other highlights from the event included the exhibition Albert Paley in the 21st Century, Gallery tours, 3-D art projects, and a performance by John Marshall High School’s band, Urban Steel. Seeing young children and adults tapping their feet and dancing to steel drum tunes made me smile. It was also a treat to see a sense of amazement in children’s eyes as they looked at Albert Paley’s monumental sculptures.
MAG was also involved in two fabulous events on July 10 that attracted young and old. We were one of Nazareth College Arts Center’s community partners for Dance Walk on ARTWalk (pictured: attendees dancing with Inlet Dance Theatre). The event served as the kick-off for Nazareth’s 2010 dance festival and began on MAG’s front lawn with an opening ceremony and performances by Cleveland-based Inlet Dance Theatre and Chinese Dance School of Rochester.
Later, MAG welcomed children and adults back for Faces of Rochester Fun Day with indoor and outdoor activities. The event was presented in conjunction with ArtDrop, the Democrat and Chronicle’s public collection area for images, poems, stories, videos and art. Families danced to the rhythms of Bush Mango Drum and Dance and made art together. One visitor lives across the street from MAG said that she and her son came when they heard the sound of the drums. After enjoying the music and face painting activities outdoors, they were surprised to learn that portrait-making classes, storytelling and a tour were offered inside, free of charge.
The next Family Day is October 3 and celebrates Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month. We hope that you can join us!

by Debora McDell-Hernandez, Coordinator of Community Programs and Outreach

My position at the Memorial Art Gallery gives me direct access to one of our most prized audiences–families! Childhood exposure to museums increases the likelihood of continued museum visitation in adulthood, so MAG’s very young visitors have the potential to become future regular visitors or members.

fatherdaughterThe Gallery presents as many as six family-friendly programs featuring free admission annually. These programs feature a variety of well-trained and respected artists and scholars from the community who use hands-on art projects, art talks, storytelling, music, and dance to connect people to art. Children usually spend a great deal of time in art classes in the Creative Workshop. I am tickled to see the determination and independence of visitors as young as three or four years old who insist on making art projects without the aid of their parents. The fun is not reserved just for children, as the adults enjoy storytelling and dance workshops as much as the little ones.

The praises that we receive regularly from children and adults are heartwarming. Many parents recall their younger years as students in the Creative Workshop and are delighted to bring their children to MAG for Workshop classes and Family Days. One mother of two that I recognized as a regular Family Day attendee approached me during the “Make It! Take It! Sculpt It!” Family Day on June 13 and commented that her family loves Family Days and attend all of them to ensure that the programs continue to be offered. Affordability, quality and a welcoming environment are just a few reasons that keep families coming back. Children usually identify specific things that they like.

samanthaAt left is a thank you note that we received from seven-year old Samantha Conrow who attended the “Make It! Take It! Sculpt It!” Family Day. She especially enjoyed a dance workshop presented by Elizabeth Clark Dance Ensemble. Other highlights from the event included the exhibition Albert Paley in the 21st Century, Gallery tours, 3-D art projects, and a performance by John Marshall High School’s band, Urban Steel. Seeing young children and adults tapping their feet and dancing to steel drum tunes made me smile. It was also a treat to see a sense of amazement in children’s eyes as they looked at Albert Paley’s monumental sculptures.

inletdancetheaterMAG was also involved in two fabulous events on July 10 that attracted young and old. We were one of Nazareth College Arts Center’s community partners for Dance Walk on ARTWalk. The event served as the kick-off for Nazareth’s 2010 dance festival and began on MAG’s front lawn with an opening ceremony and performances by Cleveland-based Inlet Dance Theatre (pictured, leading visitors in front of MAG) and Chinese Dance School of Rochester.

facepaintingLater, MAG welcomed children and adults back for “Faces of Rochester” Fun Day with indoor and outdoor activities. The event was presented in conjunction with ArtDrop, the Democrat and Chronicle’s public collection area for images, poems, stories, videos and art. Families danced to the rhythms of Bush Mango Drum and Dance and made art together. One visitor lives across the street from MAG said that she and her son came when they heard the sound of the drums. After enjoying the music and face painting activities outdoors, they were surprised to learn that portrait-making classes, storytelling and a tour were offered inside, free of charge.

The next Family Day is October 3 and celebrates Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month. We hope that you can join us!

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