Artsy Babies

I am lonely.

We moved so far away from family to a place I still know nothing about (I’m trying) and while Rad keeps me company – and I mean that, it’s awesome – I’m still lonely. I would love thriving friendships, I would love to drop in at my parent’s place for lunch (and dinner, and coffee …) I would love to be continuing to develop connections in my community instead of building them again.

So, what do I do? Some weeks I just take to tasks around the house to keep us busy (Rad is definitely cool with unfolding the laundry that I have folded) but I also find lots of things for us to go do, to discover, to try out.

If you have a larger city nearby or if you live in a city, go right now and check out the websites of the local art museums. What you will definitely find are cool activities for families but what you will likely find are stroller tours. I first found out about stroller tours while writing an article on free family activities for Ohio magazine. The Toledo Museum of Art has a Family Center in its Education Wing where loads of stimulating and entertaining activities take place including Baby Tours, where children 18-months and under and their parent or guardian are taken around to large colorful paintings. I lived in Cleveland at the time, so I turned immediately to the Cleveland Museum of Art to see what was offered there. And, twice a month, themed tours take tots and their adult counterparts to visit and discuss various works of art.

Searching for a little art therapy in our new town then became a priority for me and I happily found a place for Rad and I at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. Four times a year, a guide takes the newest of art enthusiasts and their parents or guardians on a tour of the museum’s latest exhibition.

Elly, the tour guide, strikes up engaging conversation with the adults on the tour and also carries around a basket of tactile items for the babies to experience the exhibition with. (i.e. Yesterday, we were looking at an installation of flags in the museum’s Ideologue exhibition and before we started a discussion on the installation, Elly handed a small piece of flag material to each baby so they could crumple it, wave it or have mom tickle it across their cheek.)

I have been quiet during the tours. I often can be shy with ideas when I am around people I haven’t met before but also sometimes my brain just isn’t functioning at a level where I have anything to share. Nothing to bother about though because the conversation between the other adults wakes up my mind and expands my thoughts and I spend the whole drive home and the rest of the afternoon letting my mind wander and wonder.

What I love also is that Rad will grow up seeing these different exhibitions in various museums and I hope that his mind too wanders and wonders.

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(No. Drinks are not actually allowed near the artwork. Mom mistake.)

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