“Interpreting Paintings into Jazz” with the moving sounds of Dave Schulman’s electric violin
This past weekend, The Phillips Collection hosted its annual Jazz ‘n Fun Family Days, a prelude to the DC Jazz Festival (taking place June 9-18 this year) that welcomes patrons to enjoy music and art together at the museum in Dupont Circle.
On both Saturday and Sunday, museum-goers can enjoy performances throughout the museum, along with special programs for kids, including an instrument petting zoo, scavenger hunt, and art activities. It’s truly a treat for all ages!
The Kenny Rittenhouse ensemble jazzes up the Music Room
We enjoyed a few hours of art and music on Sunday. We got to watch the Kenny Rittenhouse Ensemble play a lively set in the Music Room. Then we joined “Interpreting Paintings into Jazz” in one of the galleries. There, David Schulman played electric violin inspired by different works in the room. He would have us look at a painting instead of watching him and let the music take us into the piece. It was fantastic! Owen was especially into it, saying the music and art together was “really emotional” and made him create stories in his head about the paintings. (I loved hearing that!)
Of course, we also spent time wandering through the rest of the galleries and viewing the art. There is currently a wonderful exhibit on display — Marking the Infinite showcasing works by contemporary women artists from aboriginal Australia</>. The pieces are both beautiful and an interesting reflection of their culture. I highly recommend checking it out.
The current aborgine art exhibit
So, even though the weekend event has passed, I still wanted to capture scenes from Jazz ‘n Family Fun Days in a post to highlight it for future years — and as a reminder of what a great off-the-Mall museum The Phillips Collection is in DC. You can read more about it in this post about one of our past experiences there. And you view more scenes from the event and museum in the images below.
Kids get front row seats
Hair to match the painting he’s playing to
We were instructed to look at the painting, not the musician
Van Gogh is the subject of this tune
It’s like he dressed for the art
A web of flies
Close up of one of the works
More aboriginal works
The Luncheon of the Boating Party always draws a crowd
Music and art are a great combo, and we recently got to enjoy the mix during Jazz ‘n Families Fun Days at the The Phillips Collection. Not only is the annual event is a great prelude to the DC Jazz Fest with live performances and special activities for kids, it’s a nice way for young museum-goers to experience the Dupont Circle art gallery.
Creating portraits at Jazz ‘n Families Fun Day
The Phillips Collection often isn’t on the radar of parents when it comes to museum outings with the kids. Besides not being located among the popular museums on the Mall, there’s an admission fee for adults (which we Washingtonians aren’t used to), and some of the art probably seems sophisticated for children. But it’s a wonderful museum, showcasing works by many of the masters as well as interesting contemporary artists, that even budding art buffs could appreciate.
Contemplating a Picasso
Van Gogh’s “The Road” gets a thumbs-up
So, while the weekend of free family days is a great time to go with kids for the waived fee and special activities, the Phillips is worth exploring any time. And they help kids connect with the art by providing Discovery Packs, which are available at the admissions desk. The set of cards features select works from the collection with information about the pieces, tips of viewing them, and other ways to engage in the museum experience. (More tips for families are also available here.)
Reading about “Luncheon of the Boating Party”…
…then seeing it up close
And if you want to enjoy the art and music combo, too, Phillips after 5 on the first Thursday of every month includes art, live entertainment, food, and a cash bar. There are also occasional music events at other times.
Interacting with the art
The Phillips Collection is located at 1600 21st Street NW, a short walk from the Dupont Circle Metro stop on the red line. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 12-7pm, and Thursday extended hours 5-8:30pm. Admission is $12/adult, $10/students & seniors, free for ages 18 and under.