One Sunday a month there is fun for family both inside and outside of Jule Collins Smith Museum.
The K-12 Art Clubs, led by local art historian John David Carcache, offers a place for kids and their parents alike to learn about the museum exhibits and the skills necessary for the success of their own artistic expressions.
Children pile into the small café that, on Thursday nights, often serves as a place for adults to partake in poetry and red wine. Despite the very different atmospheres, there is an excitement in the air as children and adults chatter with their neighbors. David and his assistant scurry around the café preparing table with place matts and water colors. In ten minutes, the tables are full and Carcache is visibly surprised by the crowd.
“Last time we had 16 people show up,” Carcache said. “Today we have something like 32.”
The children quiet down and Carcache leads them to the museum lobby where they sit in a circle under a mammoth, pastel-colored blown-glass chandelier, “Amber Luster,” by Dale Chihuly. In the circle, Carcache explains the tedious process of blowing glass and gives backstory to the piece and its artist, but he children get more excited when it’s their turn to talk.
Carcache says an important goal of these youth programs is giving a voice to the children and establishing the language for them to appreciate and talk about art. “How does this make you feel?” he asks the circle of 5-7 year olds. “Happy?” asks one girl. “It makes me feel silliness,” adds another. Soon the group is off to a running start.
Carcache leads the kids and their families back into the café which is at once loud with chatter. The children aren’t the only ones painting and their parents join in. Carcache and his assistant are busy immediately, talking to the kids about what they are painting and even instructing them on technique.
There’s a crash as one kid spills his water across the floor. “Are you getting this?” Carcache’s assistant asks. By the end of the day, she is relieved and surprised that with 32 kids in the museum café, there was only one spill.