Have you heard about Crystal Bridges’ new public program, CB Babies? It’s a one-hour program for moms or dads (or other caregivers) and their babies, ages 3 months to 2 years. A Museum Educator directs the class, leading the group in experiencing works of art together, and sensory playtime. Alison Nation, the Communications Department’s Project Manager, took her youngest son, Fletcher, to the February CB Babies program and reports back to let us know how it went! –LD
Visiting the gallery with the sole purpose of sharing the artwork with my baby was such a treat. The wonderful museum educators walked us through the gallery and introduced us to artworks that babies would be most drawn to – artworks with high contrast, shiny surfaces, bright colors, and animals. At each artwork they had a little station with yoga mats and toys for the babies: really simple things like a shiny colander by the aluminum sculpture March Sentinel, by David Smith; animal puppets by Tom Uttech’s Enassamishhinjijweian, and brightly colored swaths of fabric at Alma Thomas’s Lunar Rendevous–Circle of Flowers.
The educators talked to us about giving our baby a chance to experience the artwork – and cues to look for to show us what they’re liking, like stopping and staring (visual fixation), pointing/gesturing, kicking of legs, and talking. Parents got to chat and share in their baby’s responses to the artwork and the toys at each station. Lots of laughs and smiles in the gallery.
My son was most fixated on Robert Rauschenberg’s The Tower (blinking green lights) and Lynda Benglis’s Eat Meat – boy, did he want to climb it. But his most favorite things were the gallery benches. The best part was having the license to walk around the gallery with my baby leading the way. We were able to make ourselves at home in our museum.
Parents learned that looking at art with their children, even at the youngest of ages, is fun! It’s a great way to teach your child, and learn new things as well. And, I’m pretty sure it blew his mind a bit – he took an extra-long nap after the program.
The next CB Babies program is scheduled for March 25. Register today and enjoy looking at art with your baby!