It is a common sentiment that children do not belong at art exhibitions and classical concerts. They are loud, unpredictable and uncensored. For parents who enjoy cultural experiences the fear of judgment, if Little John were to throw a tantrum, is enough to keep them away from the hallowed halls of museums. If you are a parent wondering what to do in Vancouver to stay culturally engaged, Culture Babes is your ticket to visiting the latest gallery exhibits with your kids, minus the glare of strangers who prefer to view art in peace and clean air (Let’s be honest, the smell of stinky diapers lingers).
What is Culture Babes?
Culture Babes was started in 2011, by Hilary Letwin, art historian and mother. When Letwin and her husband were anticipating their first baby they wanted to meet other parents interested in staying involved in the Vancouver art scene, kids in tow. Culture Babes schedules most events so that parents and children have the venue to themselves without having to worry about ‘family noise’ disturbing other patrons. An event is organized once a month, often including a talk by a guest lecturer who can share more about the exhibition or concert.
Visiting The Rennie With Culture Babes
My one year old, Jethro, and I went on our first Culture Babes excursion to The Rennie to view the Andrew Grassie exhibit. We arrived ahead of schedule and were greeted by another early bird family who invited us to have a cup of coffee with them. From this first encounter and all that followed I discovered Culture Babes is where to meet the friendliest families in Vancouver. Once we were gathered, an art student led us through the exhibit, patiently talking over the noise of a multitude of little voices.
On our Culture Babes tour I learned a couple rules about taking a child into an art venue. I gave Jethro a little squeeze bag smoothie in the gallery and was getting a few sideways glances from other parents. Finally, Hilary told me we were not allowed to have food in the gallery. Duh! I was so used to slipping Jethro a snack at the first sign of fussiness that I did not stop to imagine what sticky hands could do to the starch white walls of a gallery. At another point in the tour a rogue toddler snuck through the crowd of parents hovering in front of an Andrew Grassie painting. There was a collective gasp as his hands smacked the painting. Touching the art is also a no no.
What to do in Vancouver for Kid-Friendly Culture
By the end of our tour I felt alive. I was out of the house with my baby, meeting other parents and appreciating art. And the art wasn’t even finger painting! If you’d like your own cultural experience, taking in a Culture Babes event is what to do in Vancouver.
The next Culture Babes event is a tour of the Ian Wallace Exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, on Friday, December 7, 2012 at 10:00am. Tickets are $30 per adult and children are free .Tickets for each event need to be purchased in advance. To find out how to buy tickets and information on other upcoming events, visit www.culturebabes.ca.