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Monday, August 9, 2010

Elmhurst Art Museum

Place: Elmhurst Art Museum
Location:  150 Cottage Hill Avenue in Elmhurst, near Wilder Park and the library.
Type of Place: art museum.
Secret: You won't find this on the website, for some reason, but during the summer you can go to the art museum on any Wednesday or Friday between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm for a quick drop-in art lesson and art project!
Appropriate ages: Preschool and up
Cost: Kids are always free, and everyone is free during the months of July and Augarust. During the rest of the year, it is $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for students. Tuesdays are free.

I've been wanting to take the kids to the Art Institute, but for me its easier said than done. For one thing, I'd have to drive in the city, which is something I'm not great at. Second of all, the price is pretty hefty. Third, the Art Institute is usually crowded with school and camp groups and families, especially on the free days! It seemed a little overwhelming, and with my squirrely three, I wasn't even sure it would be worth the two hour round trip car ride. A trip to the Elmhurst Art Museum sounded like something I could manage much more easily... especially if I combined it with some playtime at Wilder Park, which shares a parking lot with the museum. The museum also participates in Passport To Adventure, so we could get another stamp in our booklets!
We went on a Friday, because during the summer they offer a free mini art lesson and art project for kids on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. This month they were doing a project based on some of Holly Renald Cohn's paintings. They had lots of circles and half-circles cut from cardboard, and the kids were supposed to place multiple shapes onto their papers to make a design, trace them, and then color in the spaces. Here is Little Bear's work of art! (Pufferfish, who is only 3, just scribbled on the paper.)


Then, the kids agreed to take a walk around the galleries. The art museum offers a brochure with scavenger-hunt-like questions for kids, such as "how many trees do you see in such-and-such painting." But Little Bear doesn't really even have the attention span for that... she was already bouncing off the walls by this time... so I made it a little more simpler and asked the girls to pick out their favorite works of art in each room. This at least encouraged them to check out each painting or sculpture and decide which they liked best.
The girls seemed to be drawn in by paintings that were a little freaky, such as this painting of a skull on a table...



... or this picture of a lady with a frightening face.



Here are a few more they liked...



I loved our trip to the Elmhurst Art Museum because it was an easy way to introduce Little Bear and Pufferfish to the concept of viewing art. The museum was small enough, and close enough, that we could make it a short visit, and end it with some time at the playground to burn off energy. We'll definitely be going back there!

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