I remember when I was a child, the first time I felt a connection with art was at the museum, during a school trip. My memories are fuzzy, but I distinctly remember my feet being sore at the end of the day…and how my curiosity was sparked all day. A new world was enfolding right in front of my eyes: despite my tiredness, I wanted to go back inside and explore more.
It wasn’t my first exposure to art. In fact, we often take part in artistic activities during our kindergarten curriculum. Many studies proved how useful these activities are for young children.
But this experience was different for little me. This wasn’t the same art that I was used to at school. It got me wondering: what is art in the first place?
And why was I so captivated by this visit to the museum ? Well, adult me can think of some answers.
A World of Wonder
One obvious answer to this question – my curiosity was tilted all day long. Novelty is what sparks curiosity. What better place to find new things, concepts, ideas than the museum? By being exposed to unique pieces of art, children’s curiosity will be stimulated in a healthy way. They will want to learn and discover more about the world, just like I did. Exposing their minds to uniqueness will also strenghen their creativity! Being inspired by others is the key to grow imagination.
Museums are temples of knowledge, opened for everyone. It is the place where children can learn about new artists, learn about historical events or people, new subject matter. The way they are exposed to knowledge will also help them to broaden their worldwiew. Being exposed to different realities will nurture their open-mindness! Some may even discover new passions while visiting. Everything is possible.
Moreover, museums offer the opportunity to take part in different kind of activities: interactive exhibits, hands-on-play. When going to the museum, you actively take part in the learning process. It is a very different exposure to knowledge that at school; through this, children will develop their own curiosity and will know how to gratify it. And the best part: the whole family gets to participate as well!
And this brings me to my next point. We often forget it, but going to the museum is also the best time to connect with your children. It helps strenghen your bonds with them by sharing a moment together, talking about works of art and different kind of topics. It can create interesting discussions between members of the family, bringing everyone closer. Children crave these connections, and museums provide for a nice opportunity to deepen your bonds with them.
The Power of Art and connections
Now, there’s someone else that would also gain something from visiting the museum with children.
I am not only talking about how going to the museum will help you expand your knowledge. It surely will, however there is something else we adults might overlook. It’s the special connection between children and art, and what it can teach us.
Martha Skogen, a designer and researcher, delivered a Ted Talk on this particular topic. To her, « art is a powerful platform for social interaction, meta cognition and meaning making ». She says that there is a special connection between children, emotions and art, and this special connection can help us adults reconnect with this part of ourself that was put to sleep.
Witnessing children interacting with art may help us reconnect with our own inner child. Don’t be afraid to discuss with children about art, about what they feel: this is the way to see things from a new perspective. To learn more about them, and about you.
When it comes to art, adults and children are equals. They can inspire us with their fresh take on the world; we can help them navigate the world of Art by letting them take part in artistic activities.
So, back to this first question: what is art?
Well, everyone has their own special answer. To me, art is connection. It is a way to connect ideas to create something new. A way to connect with others through a very unique langage. A way to connect with someone we all thought was lost: our child self.
After all, French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said it well in his famous work, the Little Prince :
“All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.”