Art appreciation, how and when does it happen? For me, sometime in my mid 30’s. It all came together when I decided to learn to speak french. Easier said than done. College classes, tutors, two weeks in Montreal living in a stranger’s house, eating meals together with other students and taking classes was how it began for me. I was still at the beginner stage. Next a month in the Loire Valley, living in a château, taking more classes, and best of all, drinking red wine every day for lunch. I moved up to the intermediate level. Returned home hired another tutor and studied every day. It was a gradual process. Two years later I fulfilled my dream, which allowed me to travel/work exclusively to Paris. I became consumed with everything French…art, food, wine and most of all, chevre chaud! Gratifying and proud of myself I discovered an avocation.
When my kids were little, hoping to propel them into the love of art and everything french was always part of the plan. Language videos and book readings in french were everyday habits. I never hesitated taking them to museums. First stop with the kids, Musee d’ Orsay in Paris – all the beautiful paintings of ballerinas by Degas, a sure winner. While it might not have been the perfect day and the lack of enthusiasm for the fine arts wasn’t what I was hoping for. I didn’t give up…
Next up, The Rijksmuseum, Van Gough and Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, The Art Institute in Chicago, The Museum of Natural History in New York, The Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Victoria and Albert and Science Museum in London.
I had mastered the art of visiting a museum with kids. Make it interactive. Run around outside first. Have them bring their own sketchbooks. Let them guide the way, and when I noticed glazed eyes… time to leave.
When my kids were in middle school I was a volunteer for a program called Gallery Time. Once again trying to foster an interest of art appreciation to all the kids in the school. Taking the opportunity to present a story about an artist to a classroom of 11 year olds and helping them develop and complete their own art project, always proved rewarding! Once again allowing me to continue my interest in art. Taking this photo let me fall back into time, reflecting on my volunteer days.
The ultimate pay off came this Presidents Day when my 16-year-old asked if we could go to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC! Yes!!!!
My daughter had a plan in place for herself that day! As we meandered through the Greek and Roman art wing this time it was ‘me’ who was dragging behind. It was ‘me’ who wanted to sit down and rest my legs and it was ‘me’ who wanted to wander out into the fresh air and grab a coffee. I was smiling!
Feeling grateful after this long weekend as I was fortunate to have been in Barcelona on Friday exploring the work of Gaudi throughout that art filled city and then spending Monday at another prodigious art institute only an hour from home. Reminding myself how precious time is with your kids and realizing what they will cherish on their own.