Places to Go - Family Day Open House for the Artisphere's 2nd Anniversary Weekend


On Sunday, we decided to spend the very rainy afternoon at Arlington Artisphere's free family open house (I love events where the words "free" and "family" coincide). Upon arriving at the festival, we ran out front to watch a juggler on stilts, which immediately piqued the interest of all my children. While the juggler didn't put on a performance per se, the children loved just talking with him. P, in particular, lit up when he said he liked the blue streak in her hair.


Once we entered the building, Jennifer Stephens (aka "the Bubble Faerie") mesmerized us all. Honestly, this may be one of the most impressive, yet random circus-type acts I've ever witnessed. The faerie dips her hands in the bubble solution, blows gently and creates several different floating wonders - sometimes she makes bubbles inside bubbles, other times she goes for size or quantity. It's all sort of amazing. I wonder if she does birthday parties.


Eventually we meandered upstairs to check out the Artisphere's newest installation - Beyond the Parking Lot: The Change and Re-Assessment of Our Modern Landscape. If you haven't visited the Artisphere yet, this exhibit is more than enough reason to hurry up and get there - miniature landscapes, a huge bending painting, a video piece, etc. - both the art and the display rival anything you'd see at a major museum. So wonderful to have such an amazing space in my own neighborhood.


We didn't have as much time to linger in the Parking Lot exhibit as I would have liked because F was so so excited for mural painting (or should I say "MURAL PAINTING!!"?) in the education lab. Upon arrival, each child chose their favorite paint colors from a huge rainbow of offerings and received a giant paint brush to go with his/her palette. The presentation was fabulous - the gift of color itself seemed better than any toy one could offer.

F and P set in right away decorating corners of the mural. Unfortunately, even a corner was hard to come by as the wooden mural was SMALL - cool but way too small for any real collective art to occur. Actually, the whole room was rather small - especially when you add in ACRYLIC PAINT and tons of children. Most parents tried to rally, but eventually the majority of us older folk clung to the walls, scared of the permanence of the rainbow of colors attacking everything around us.


Eventually, we made it to the black box theater to check out Emma Jaster's "Suitcase Story" performance piece. Again, the space was small for the crowd - additional chairs needed to be obtained, whereas those of us sitting on the floor were asked to squish closer and closer together. Regarding the "play" itself, at moments Jaster soared - connecting with the audience through gesture and mime, P especially loved when the paper feet became a fluttering butterfly. And F couldn't stop smiling when the paper heart bridges into the audience and Jaster had us all chorus into the sounds of a choo choo train. But all in all, the piece was a little too long and ambiguous for such a young audience - 45 minutes sitting on the floor with a toddler in your lap makes for some long viewing. Two, approximately, 10 year old girls sitting in front of us probably summed it up best - the girl asked her friend "do you like this?" and her friend replied "I don't know." "Well, then do you want to leave?" "I don't know that either."

After the Suitcase Story ended, my mom and the kids watched David London's Wandering Wonders Act as I headed upstairs to pick up the children's artwork. By this time the crowd had picked up somewhat and the art room had become claustrophobic (plus, it saddened me somewhat to see that F's hard work on the mural had already been covered up by a new group of children's paintings, as there was not enough room for everybody's contribution to remain).

Unfortunately, we never had a chance to visit the dome theatre where WSC Avent Bard was conducting free theatrical workshops. Hopefully next year.

All in all, we had a good time at this free event, but it would have been nice if the kids themselves had more room and space to create. Tables, chairs, and couches fill the lobby - had these these tables been full of art supplies, I think the staff itself would have been impressed with what our kids could come up with - maybe an entire wall of children's thoughts, ideas and inspirations. Now that would really be something.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...