The LSU Museum of Art is proving that you can start your art journey at any age with its new Toddler Thursday art program that embraces the creativity of young minds.
Kiddos ages 5 and under are encouraged to come by the museum with their caretakers to enjoy an art lesson on the first Thursday of each month. The first Toddler Thursday, which began on Sept. 1, was all about portraiture and allowed students to draw their likenesses. The upcoming editions of the program will cover topics like abstract and landscape art.
The museum’s educator and public programs manager Brandon V. Lewis says the idea for the program came from Michelle Schulte the museum’s curator and director of public programs who had seen a similar program at another museum she had worked at. Lewis says the program aims to meet the needs of those with younger children.
“We have a lot of stay-at-home moms and caretakers who are always looking for something for the smaller children to do throughout the day,” he says. “The program is a good start at meeting that need across the city. It’s just one event, but it’s something.”
Each month’s Toddler Thursday introduces a new theme and project related to a type of art from the museum’s exhibits and presents a basic art principle to the young artists. By tying in the museum’s current art exhibitions, the program also caters to the adults who accompany the children.
“It educates the parents as well,” Lewis says. “We want the adults to be engaged in whatever exhibition that we have going on. Then, the children will have a take-away of something based off of that exhibition or that piece that we may have in the gallery.”
As a former classroom art educator, Lewis says programs like Toddler Thursdays are essential for young children to gain a creative outlook early on in life. Because art is not always prioritized over other subjects in schools, this program gives children the opportunity to unleash their inner artists.
“Art gives hope,” he says. “That is my belief. I’ve seen firsthand how art changes children’s lives. The earlier we get them into art exploration, the better… A lot of times, art is on the bottom of the totem pole in some traditional school settings, so it’s important for children to have an artistic outlet and what better place than the museum?”
Lewis says the museum also has plenty of opportunities for those with older children as well. He encourages families to take advantage of free admission on the first Sunday of every month and every Friday afternoon from 5-8 p.m. The museum offers plenty of interactive and engaging artwork along with an educational gallery where children can create artwork and make crafts.
The LSU Museum of Art is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Check out the museum’s website for more events. Each Toddler Thursday begins at 10 a.m., and upcoming dates and themes include:
Oct. 6: A Screaming Fun Time – Scream Art Creation
Nov. 3: Fall into the elements of design – Abstract leaf art creation
Dec. 1: Landscapes and learning – Abstract and collage tree art