UA Museum of Art to Host Family Day Saturday

UA Museum of Art to Host Family Day Saturday

By Alexis BlueUniversity Communications
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(Photo by Tim Fuller)
(Photo by Tim Fuller)
(Photo by Tim Fuller)
(Photo by Tim Fuller)

Museums may be great places to learn about art, history and culture, but their "keep your hands to yourself" vibe doesn't always appeal to children, or even some adults.

This Saturday, kids of all ages will be able to appreciate art and get their hands dirty with some artistic materials of their own during Family Day at The University of Arizona Museum of Art.

At Family Day, children and their parents will be invited to make their own clay vessels or sculptures of mythical figures inspired by the pre-Columbian artwork in the museum's current exhibition, "Ritual Beauty: Art of the Ancient Americas, The I. Michael Kasser Collection," which opens tomorrow and runs through Feb. 8 in the museum's main gallery.

The free family program, which takes place from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, also will feature a storyteller, who will share Mayan and Aztec creation tales, and live performances of traditional Andrean music by the local group Bwiya-Toli.

The entertainment and hands-on activities are geared toward getting children excited about art, said Diane Hartman, the museum's deputy director.

"It educates the adults as well as the children," she added.

Carol Petrozzello, the museum's assistant curator of education, said allowing children to create and take home their own clay pieces helps them experience how art is created while introducing them to artistic materials similar to what might have been used in pre-Colombian times.

The museum usually hosts three or four family days a year, and they each draw about 200 visitors, Hartman said. She said the museum's pre-Columbian art exhibition was well-suited to a Family Day because it includes several pieces – such as Chihuahua effigies and clay pots in the shape of human heads – that might be more visually interesting to children than average clay pots and bowls.

"The young children can get very enthusiastic about it," Hartman said. "You get a glimpse of ancient life, and the workmanship is great."

Museum visitors can also pick up a family gallery guide that provides information about the artwork along with educational activities to be completed while viewing the exhibition of about 170 pieces, including textiles, clay, stone and metalwork.

The storytelling portion of the program begins at 1 p.m. and the musical performance is at 2 p.m. For more information, visit the UA Museum of Art Web site.

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