Are you looking for something fun, free and cultural to do with your little ones? Check out this new Miami art show for children called “More than Meets the Eye.” It takes professional fine art to a whole new level with no piece of artwork hung or displayed more than three feet off the ground, so even small children can see everything! The opening-night reception for “More than Meets the Eye” is Friday, April 19, 2013, from 7 to 10 p.m., at Prints Giclee Shop, 8747 SW 134th Street, Miami, Fla., 33176. Food and refreshments for both children and adults will be served, and admission is free.
When I received a press release about this show, I was intrigued. The concept sounded so simple, and yet, so unusual. So I contacted the show’s creator and co-curator, Christine Lyall, a Miami-based artist (she also works full-time in corporate communications), to get more information. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: How did you come up with the idea for “More than Meets the Eye?”
A: The idea came to me when I saw a young boy at an art show straining to see a piece of my artwork hanging rather high on a wall. It occurred to me that it would have been nice if the painting were hung lower so the boy could see it more easily. And then I thought, what if an entire exhibit of fine art were designed so small children can see everything? Maybe it’s been done before, but I’ve never seen it.
Most art exhibits exclude children as viewers because the artwork is usually displayed too high. I think that’s why children often get bored when you take them to an art show or an art gallery or art museum. Granted, most art exhibits are designed for adults, but why should it be that way all the time? After all, it’s not hard to design a show for young children—you just move the nails down a couple feet.
With schools cutting back on arts education, and the government cutting back on arts funding, the responsibility lies with the rest of us to cultivate children’s appreciation for art. And the best time to start that cultivation is when children are young.
Q: What kind of art will “More than Meets the Eye” feature? Will it be geared specifically towards children?
A: The artwork is very “PG-13,” so people of all ages will hopefully enjoy it. You won’t find any pink ponies, purple dinosaurs or laser-weilding robots in our show. This was very important to me and my co-curators, Miami artists Aida Tejada and Gerardo Gonzalez-Quevedo (who also owns and operates Prints Giclee Shop). We specifically wanted to introduce sophisticated, professional fine art to young children, to expose them to a higher level of art. The only difference is, the art will literally be “lowered” to their level.
Q: Who is participating in “More than Meets the Eye?”
A: We have 14 South Florida artists participating in the show, with works ranging from traditional painting to digital painting and from photography to sculpture. We wanted a wide range of styles and media, so children can see the different ways that art can be created. The participating artists are:
- Aduni Abu Bakar—Sumi Ink Painting
- Leonel D’cröix—Digital Painting
- Jose Luis Dias Montero—Mixed Media
- Jaime Ferreyros—iPhonography
- Sandra Garcia-Pardo—Sculpture
- Raciel Gomez—Mixed Media
- Rigoberto Rosales Jalil—Colored Pencil
- Marilyn Lemay—Watercolor
- Adriano Nicot—Painting
- Jee Park—Mixed Media
- Edilberto Pelegrino—Painting
- Daniel Portnoy— Photography
- Clara Varas—Mixed Media
- Katarina Vicenova—Oil Painting
- Marivi von Feretova—Painting
Q: Are you worried about your young audience damaging the artwork?
A: Not at all. We want the children to get up close and really see the artwork. We want them to be able to see exactly what adults see, such as the brush strokes in a painting or the seams in a welded sculpture. Of course, we don’t want sticky fingers touching the artwork, but as long as there are adults present to supervise (and there will be), we aren’t worried about the artwork being harmed. Besides, most of the pieces will be framed, so there will be glass protecting them.
Q: Do you think children will respond to this show?
A: I do. I hope so! I think the conventional thinking is that children don’t really like or care about art unless it’s “childish” in nature. But I disagree. I remember when I was quite young, I used to spend hours looking through the art books that my parents had. I couldn’t get enough of them.
I think children have a natural appreciation for and curiosity about art. And they often “see” more in a piece than adults, since adults are often more critical and feel they must be “right” about a piece’s message. Young children don’t care about getting the message “right.” They just react from their gut, from a visceral level, and that’s often what many artists are going for, anyway.
Q: You chose to open this art show on a Friday night. Why? The more typical time to do activities like this with children is during the day on a Saturday.
A: My co-curators and I considered opening the show on a Saturday, but we finally decided on a Friday night because we wanted the show to be as much like a regular art show as possible. And in Miami, many art shows and art gallery walks take place on Friday nights. In fact, on April 19, several galleries in the Falls Arts District will be open in the evening for people to explore, so we won’t be “the only show in town,” so to speak.