Teaching children to interact with the world through art might seem like a daunting task for parents, especially those who are linear thinkers. Thankfully, the Vancouver Art Gallery offers Family Fuse weekends, an opportunity for parents and children to experience art through performances, workshops and hands-on activities.
Speak Loud was the latest edition of Family Fuse at the Vancouver Art Gallery on March 5 and 6. The purpose? To teach families how to be heard in the world through creative forms.
I had the privilege of observing the various workshops and was inspired by how families were able to create art in a way that allowed them to understand the exhibits at the gallery.
In the Dance Loud session, art agent Caroline Liffman had parents and children examine art and then try to explain through words the focus of the piece. They then had to use movement to express the art.
Portraits by Mona Hatoum of individuals with static-filled hair inspired one family to dance around spastically, arms and legs shooting in all directions. It was beautiful to watch as it dawned on young children what the artist was trying to convey through their work.
Caroline pointed out to me that kids are fidgety and can’t always take in art by just standing. Movement leads them towards an interactive learning experience.
Dance some more
In another workshop, families watched the Project Soul Crew street dancers perform a high-energy dance routine. The kids (and parents) were then taught some basic break-dancing moves that they could bring to their own sidewalks.
And sing out loud
The Woodward’s Community Choir created a blend of joyful songs to counteract the negativity of Ken Lum’s work: Mirror Maze With 12 Signs of Depression.
Singers were positioned outside and within the exhibit, a powerful display of how joy can speak into dark places. The songs were simple and observers were invited to join in the chorus.
Plan to attend
Family Fuse had age-appropriate activities for even very young children. My son, who is almost two, loved Shape World where cut out felt pieces were used to create colourful art on the floor of the gallery.
He also enjoyed the unique opportunity to experiment with graffiti art on the windows and walls of the fourth floor of the gallery.
The Vancouver Art Gallery offers Family Fuse three times a year, but it’s not the only family program they have. Be sure to check out their website to find out more about all the family activities you can take your kids to and watch for their next Family Fuse event.
Michelle Gadd is a wife, mom and the creator of Elasticpantcity.com, a blog dedicated to examining how motherhood has shaped, stretched and influenced Michelle’s LIFEstyle.