Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Arty Facts

We've had a bit of an arty day today, so art is on my mind. I'm afraid I can't take credit for these creatures though. We found them lurking in the Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery when we visited this morning.

We went to see the Picasso exhibition, which features beautiful prints from the Histoire Naturelle series. From a five year old's perspective we saw spiders, toads, frogs, dragonfiles, butterflies, horses, cows, birds and about ten other animals\insects that I can't now remember. From my perspective it was a real treat to see an element of Picasso's work that I had never come across.

There was the added interest of seeing the beautiful pottery exhibits in the Animal Fantasies exhibition, which was featured alongside.

Art Galleries are great for children and we are lucky to have one that welcomes them (and I mean, REALLY welcomes them) . My five year old has been used to visiting our local gallery ever since he was two years old and he loves it. The trick I find is to crouch down at their height and ask them what they can see. Behind the fun that you can have spotting new things is the more serious element of of the communication process. Engaging in conversation about the colours, shapes, sizes, content and materials used helps to develop a wide ranging vocabulary.

The Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery is a real gem. Not only does it have regular exhibitions that are accessible to children at a level which they can interpret, but it also has an art lounge which has a drawing table and lots of wooden toys and books to keep their interest. There is currently an extra creative corner, which focuses on the exhibition and encourages children to create animal drawings or to have a go at creating a plasticine model.

Having the opportunity to engage in art & craft activities helps children in many ways including sensory experiences, communication skills and even developing their sense-of-self, not to mention the importance of developing their fine and gross motor skills. Of course, these kind of things are a key feature of early years and primary school experiences but providing extra opportunities outside an educational setting is always beneficial.

The Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery certainly provides such opportunities and with an entrance fee of just £1 per adult (children go free), it is an excellent experience all round. It also has a comprehensive range of reference books and magazines available in the Art Lounge, where you can even relax with a tea or coffee.

My only regret is that having spent time enjoying the exhibition and taking a few snaps, I completely forgot to take a photo of the stripy cat that we made out of plasticine (It's the purple blob to the right of my little one's arm). Never mind, it gives us another great excuse to go along again. If you live near Bury and fancy a trip along to the exhibition, you'll be pleased to know that it is on until 9th September. If you have a buggy in tow, don't be put off as there is a lift.

At the start of the post, I said that we'd had a bit of an arty day. Being inspired by the gallery as ever, on the way home we popped into the local art shop to buy a new watercolour set...so I'm now off to have a dabble with the paints...wish me luck...as I am certainly no Picasso...


Erica Douglas said...

That looks like a really fun museum!

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Erica - yes, it's one of my favourites. In the past I have run some art activities there for pre-schoolers which have been fun. They are really accommodating and have paid attention to the tiny details like steps in the loo. It gets my vote everytime!