Tag Archives: Artful Conversations

The Weekend Round-Up: January 20-22

My favorite six-year-old


I have to start this weekend round-up with a special shout-out. It was six years ago yesterday that my  favorite little man arrived, and life became a fantastic adventure I never could have imagined prior to becoming a parent. My tiny baby, who was less than six pounds upon his early arrival and fit snugly in the crook of my arm, now reads, writes, runs fast, jokes around, expresses his dreams.  When I take a moment (when I have a moment) to digest it all, it’s pretty darn astounding. And I couldn’t be prouder of the boy he’s become. Happy Birthday, my sweet O.

And with my sentimental moment indulged, let’s talk about the weekend.  Museums programs and special events, children’s theatre, a clothing swap, and hoops action are among my recommendations for family fun. And with dreary weather in the forecast, the indoor list makes the round-up, too.  Happy Weekend!

Spy Fest 2012Is your child the next 007? Find out at the International Spy Museum on Sunday from 11am – 2:30pm. Recommended for ages 7 and up, the event will include mini missions, tradecraft demos, and a chance for guests to try their spy skills. Tickets are $10, and advance registration is required. Go here to sign up!

Celebrate Africa!Kids of all ages are invited to the Textile Museum’s 3rd Annual Mid-Winter Festival celebrating the art and culture of Africa.  On Saturday from 12-4pm guests can enjoy dress-up, storytelling, dancing, crafts, and more.  Try on contemporary clothing and accessories inspired by cultures of Central Africa, then pose for a professional photographer and walk away with your picture. Hand-sew a Kuba-inspired textile. Enjoy snacks of cassava chips and South African red tea while master drummer Joseph Ngwa leads traditional drumming and dance, and master storyteller Baba-C entrances listeners with interactive storytelling. Visitors will also entered to win great prizes.  Admission to the event is free.

Happy Lunar New Year!  – Usher in the Lunar New Year a little early at Rockville Town Center with a day full of lively festivities, including a parade hosted by VisArts, street performers, live music, martial artists, lion dancers, an 18-person golden dragon, VisArts exhibitions, vendors, crafts, and more! It’s all free and happening on Saturday from 11am – 4pm.

Multi-Prints Family DayPress, stamp, and rub to make an artistic impression during this printmaking family day at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  On Saturday from 11:30am – 3pm, artists from George Mason University will demonstrate a variety of printing techniques to kids of all ages, who can then visit our workshop tables to create a print of their own to take home! This free event will take place in the Kogod Courtyard of the museum located at 8th & F Streets, NW.

Farm to Table Family Day – The Kogod Courtyard is going to be a busy place this weekend.  Head there on Sunday as the National Portrait Gallery celebrates the arrival of the recently commissioned portrait of chef, author, and restaurant owner Alice Waters by artist Dave Woody. Enjoy live music, learn about the “farm to table” movement, and participate in hands-on activities. The free event takes place from 11:30am – 3pm.

Swap ‘Til You DropOr for a few hours, anyway. Saturday is World Swap Day and peace. love. swap. – The Original Maternity, Baby Kid Clothing & Gear Swap is celebrating with a swap event on Saturday at Jonah’s Treehouse in Glover Park.  Pass on your old clothes and gear and score some (sorta) new stuff!  Item drop-off is from 5-6pm, and the swapping is from 6:30-7:30pm. Admission is $5 if you register in advance, $7 at the door. Go here for more information and to register online

Rubber Ducky, You’re the One – The National Children’s Museum is hosting a joint birthday party for Ernie and his best pal, Rubber Ducky, at the Launch Zone on Saturday. From 11am – 4pm, children can take part in “Percussion Playtime” to celebrate Ernie’s love of playing the drums and make bubble art to celebrate Ernie and Rubber Ducky’s favorite pastime. No R.S.V.P. is required for this party, just drop in for a splish-splashin’ good time!

Wizards vs. CelticsHow about some hoops action on Sunday afternoon? Never mind that it’s not a winning season for the Wizards so far; the games are still exciting and a fun time for all ages. Our family caught the match-up against Toronto a couple of weeks ago – Sasha’s first basketball game, and the Wizard’s first W this season – and we all had a blast. Along with the on-court thrills, kids will love the games, entertainment, and giveaways during time-outs and halftime. Game time on Sunday is 1pm, and tickets start at $10.

Art History 101The drop-in program a the National Gallery begins  its Artful Conversations series and continues Stories in Art this weekend.  On Saturday, kids ages 8-11 and an accompanying adult, can attend the former to learn about a work of art and participate in a related poetry-writing activity. Sessions are at 10:30am, 12:30pm, and 2:30pm. Sign-in will take place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 10:00 a.m., and will continue until all spaces are filled. On Sunday, kids ages 4-7 can again learn about Henri Matisse through storytelling, discussion, and an art project. Sessions are at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm. Sign-in will take place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 11am, and will continue until all spaces are filled. Read a KFDC review of the program here.

Stage TimeThere’s a variety of entertainment to be enjoyed in local theatres this weekend.  The Snowy Day opens at Adventure Theatre, a rousing tale about the War of 1812 is the free show at Saturday Morning at the National, Peter and the Wolf and Tiny Tots are at The Puppet Co., and Mouse on the Move is at Imagination Stage. Find details on all of these productions in this post about winter entertainment.

The “In” Crowd – Looks like it’s going to be a good weekend to hang indoors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get out of the house. For sheltered adventures around town, check out this list.


Leave a Comment

Filed under All ages, Art, Class, DC, Educational, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Seasonal, Shop, Sports, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Drop in for Art and Fun at the National Gallery this Winter

Absorbed in a Stories in Art class last summer


When it comes to museums, the National Gallery of Art isn’t exactly a go-to venue for our family.  Besides a near disaster there a couple of years ago (think unwitting child almost putting his hand through a canvas), my kids, like many kids, prefer big, interactive exhibits over works of art hanging on walls.

Unless the art is presented to them in a cool way, as the National Gallery does in its free drop-in programs. Over several weekends during winter and summer, the NGA invites kids to explore art through a variety of classes designed for young museum-goers. And the next winter session starts this Saturday, January 15, with several workshops for kids to enjoy well into March.

Stories in Art introduces kids ages 4-7 to art through storytelling, discussion, and a hands-on art project (read a review here).  This winter, guests will investigate modern and contemporary art as three thoughtful stories are paired with three artists in the NGA collection (Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keefe, and Helen Frankenthaler). After examining how nature inspired each artist, guests will experiment with diverse media to create their own works of art. The hour-long classes are free, and no registration is required, but there is a limit to the number of children in each class. Sign-in will take place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 11am on Sundays, and will continue until all spaces are filled in each of the four time slots.  Visit the website for dates, times, and more details about each class.

Artful Conversations, recommended for ages 8-11, is designed for children and adults to participate in together. Led by museum educators, each program includes looking at one work of art in the galleries, accompanied by a poetry-writing activity. One-hour classes will take place on January 21, February 18, and March 10 at three different times each day. No registration or fees are required, and sign-in will take place in the East Building Atrium beginning at 10:00am and continue until all spaces are filled.

Family Workshops, recommended for ages 8-11, are also designed for children and adults to participate in together. Taught by artists and museum educators, each two-hour workshop includes an interactive tour in the galleries followed by a hands-on studio session. In this session, guests will investigate Edgar Degas’ wax sculptures of dancers and horses, and learn how to construct their own using a wire armature and clay. All workshops begin in the Education Studio, located on the East Building Concourse. Workshops are free, but registration is required. Registration begins at noon on January 11 — visit the website to sign up, and be aware that classes fill up fast!



Filed under Art, Class, DC, Educational, Free, Gradeschoolers, Museums, Preschoolers, Preteens, Seasonal, Weekend, Winter

Drop in at the National Gallery for Summer Art Programs

One of my favorite museum programs for children is about to begin! The National Gallery of Art’s summer drop-in series starts this weekend with art sessions for kids that are both educational and fun.

Stories in Art, geared toward ages 4-7, is a fantastic program that introduces kids to art and encourages them to use their imaginations as they discover different works. (Read about our experience at the program last summer.) This summer session will explore the Netherlands, using storytelling, gallery tours, and hands-on projects to teach kids about Dutch art.  Workshops are at various times on Sundays, Mondays, and occasional Tuesdays. This is a free series, and there is a limit to the number of children in each class.  Sign-in will take place in the West Building Rotunda, beginning at 10am on weekdays and at 11am on Sundays, and will continue until all spaces are filled. Visit the National Gallery of Art website for more details and the complete schedule.

Artful Conversations is for ages 8-11 and will take place on Sundays and Wednesdays starting July 17.  Designed for children and adults to participate in together, the program uses observation and discussion to explore works of art in the collection. Led by museum educators, each session includes looking at one work of art in the galleries, accompanied by a sketching activity.  Sign-in will take place in the West Building Rotunda, beginning at 12:30pm on Sundays and 12pm on Wednesdays, and will continue until all spaces are filled.  More details and the full schedule are available on the NGA website.

Note: The sessions fill up quickly, especially on weekends, so plan accordingly. Even if you get there early, you might have to sign up for a later session, so it’s a good idea to have another activity planned or museum exhibit to explore while you wait.


Filed under Art, DC, Educational, Free, Gradeschoolers, Museums, Preschoolers, Seasonal, Summer

Drop in at the National Gallery of Art

As much as I love the museum, I don’t get to the National Gallery of Art with the kids very much. Aside from Calder’s mobiles, some of the pop art, the sculpture garden, and the concourse between the East and West Buildings, there hasn’t been much that really captures their tiny attention spans right now.  But, admittedly,  that might be because I don’t quite know how to present it to them.

That’s why I’m excited about the new Summer Drop-In Program. Starting this Sunday, July 11, the National Gallery of Art will offer special sessions designed to engage kids with works of art from the galleries. The program is divided into two series—Stories in Art for ages 4-7 and Artful Conversations for ages 8-11.

In the Stories of Art series, children can learn about different works of art through storytelling—museum staff read a children’s book related to a specific work of art, then take a look at that piece, followed by a hands-on activity related to the art. The series will explore art from different countries every week, so check the schedule for details and times (which vary by date). Sign-in for Stories in Art begins at 10am on weekdays and 11am on weekends in the West Building Rotunda. Space is limited, so be sure to get there in time to reserve one.

Kids and adults are encouraged to participate in the Artful Conversations series together. Led by museum staff, the group will explore a different work of 19th- and 20th- century American or European art every week. Discussion and a creative writing activity will follow. The first Artful Conversations session begins July 18 and continues weekly through the summer. The one-hour sessions take place at 1pm and 2:30, and sign-up for both begin at 12:30pm in the East Building Atrium.

For more details on both programs, visit the National Gallery of Art website.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Educational, Gradeschoolers, Museums, Preschoolers, Preteens, Summer