Monday, August 27, 2012


Summer List Item #4 - Attend a free family Sunday at the BMA - DONE!

Notice my favorite word up there??


So I threw this item on our summer list, because I hoped it would be fun, free, interesting, free, educational, free, and a way for Sadira to gain appreciation of the arts.

And it was free.

The Baltimore Museum of Art (or BMA as its more affectionately known around here) is located on the grounds of the Johns Hopkins University campus, not too far from where my own alma mater is situated.

I've been wanting to take Sadira for awhile...but I wanted her to enjoy it, and not think that it was boring.  And let's be honest, when you're a kid, the museum is BOOORRRING.  I didn't really gain an appreciation for museums and the fine arts until I was seventeen, and visiting the Musee D'Orsay in Paris for the first time.  Sure I loved going to art class, and I loved doing arts and crafts, but I never had any interest in taking the time to sit down and look at a piece of art and try to understand the message the artist was trying to convey.

So when I heard of these free family sundays at the BMA where they have workshops, tours and activities geared towards families (which really means KIDS), I threw it on the list.

But our Sundays this summer have felt PACKED, and I couldn't seem to find the time to fit a museum trip into our schedule.

Until the weekend.

Sadie had spent the night at my grandmother's house on Saturday night, and I picked her up Sunday afternoon.  We soon realized that the day was going to be overcast with rain showers off and on...

...perfect museum day!

We arrived for the 2pm tour.

The tour guides explained that today's tour would focus on indoor and outdoor sculpture.  They provided the kids with a "Museum Search" worksheet and challenged them to see how many sculptures on the sheet they could find.

Of course this made Sadira's ears perk up.  Some kind of competition?  My girl's in. 

And like most children her age do, she quickly made friends.

The first stop was Auguste Rodin's Man Tebow'ing.  I mean, The Thinker.  

(Seriously though, why didn't I get a photo of myself Tebow'ing next to this guy??!!  It's virtually identical!)

The tour guide talked about how this sculpture was made from a cast, so there are several other replicas of it around the world.  We talked about the inspiration for the piece, and then he asked the kids what they thought the man was thinking.

There were many creative answers.

Next stop was this lovely lady, The Serpentine, by Henri Matisse:

We talked about how this lady is a thinker too, but this sculpture conveys a much different feeling than the other one.  We learned about the negative space between her body and the pillar she's leaning on.  And how, although there is no metal there, that space still makes up a vital part of the sculpture.

We did a short activity comparing the shapes in The Thinker to the shapes in The Serpentine, using photocopied puzzles. 

Next up was Sadira's personal favorite, Alberto Giacometti's Man Pointing.  Our guides gave us pipe cleaners and challenged the kids to sculpt their own "man pointing."

Our collection of activities thus far:

Next came the most exciting part for me...Edgar Degas' Little Dancer:

I have loved Degas' work since I literally ran face first into his exhibit in the Louvre in 1998.  I was so happy to see it once again.

And thrilled that Sadira appeared to be a fan, just like her Mama:

After a little more Degas:

And a little discussion about these two:

And one more activity (this time learning about how one dimensional flat paper can turn into a three dimensional sculpture - in this case, a pyramid):

Our tour was finished.  That's when the unheard of happened....

Sadira looked at me and said,

"Can we stay longer, Mommy?"

Say Whaaaaa???

"You really like learning about art, Sade?" I asked her.

"I love it."

And so we stayed at the musuem...for three more hours.

FIRST, we discovered that we could borrow a museum costume.  They had special dress-ups, that could only be used in the museum, but allowed you to dress up as your favorite work of art.

Naturally Sadira chose the Degas dancer outfit.  So we had to go back and take another photo with her:

SECOND we picked up some audio headsets...which came with a separate setting for Families (Read: KIDS) and gave interesting stories and information about select pieces of art throughout the museum.

This became Sadira's goal for the afternoon...find all of the artwork that had a story for her:

I love this photo of her carefully studying Anthony van Dyke's Rinaldo and Armida...even if it's only a pic from my crappy cell phone camera:

We met Monet:

And Picasso:

And really fell in love with the colors used by Matisse.

Sadira's favorite, Interior with Dog:

And my favorite, Purple Robe and Anemones:

But what shocked me the most was that Sadira's absoute favorite genre was abstract art.  And her number one favorite painting was this omnious painting by Joan Miro:

I think she enjoyed that she could see so many different shapes in the painting.  And while we think it's a painting of a woman, there are so many other shapes within the portrait.  We listened to the description on the headset.

When it was all over Sadira said, "I love that one so much, Mommy, can I listen to it again?"

And so she did.

And then just as we were about to leave, we saw this plaque...a story of a woman named Saidie May:

Some lines from the plaque:

"Saidie Adler May (1879-1951) grew up in Baltimore and became one of the Baltimore Museum of Art's most generous donors.  Her father was a shoe manufacturer who had made a considerable fortune, enabling her to pursue her interest in the arts and philanthropy. 

She amassed hundreds of Egyptian, Gothic, and Renaissance objects which were donated to the Baltimore Museum of Art after she closed her New York apartment in 1938.  Following her divorce in 1928, Saidie continued to pursue her art studies in Paris where she met young painter Alfred Jensen.  Together the two travelled throughout Europe and America, always eager to learn more about historic and contemporary art.

In her last year, she spent most of her time in California and South Carolina, no longer travelling to Europe.  Still, she continued to keep in touch with the New York gallery scene.  Due to Saidie A. May's interest in acquiring the latest works by European and American painters, her bequest assured the Baltimore Museum of Art a front rank in the presentation of twentieth-century art."

Well, you could bet Sadira was thrilled about this news.  Another Sadie, and she DONATED A BUNCH OF THE ART?!?!

She wanted a picture with Saidie May:

When we finally left, we were starving.  

So it seemed appropriate that after a day of studying sculpture and art, we had dinner at the Paper Moon Diner, which is filled with crazy sculpture and art:

It's also the best place to play I-Spy. :-)

Finally, when we came home, Sadie decided to top off our sculpture day by making sculpture out of Play-Doh:

My sculpture:

Sadie's sculpture:

At the end of the day, Sadie declared that this was her FAVORITE thing we've done so far on our Summer List.

And all this time I thought it would be boring to her.

Clearly, I have no idea.


Emily said...

What an awesome day! I love that she loved it so much. And boy was that a lot of Pez dispensers!

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