Oakland Museum Visit!

I don’t remember my mom ever taking us to the museum, but it’s probably because we couldn’t afford it. I do remember my God Mother Alyce taking me to museums when I visited my grandparents in New York for the summers. I have to give Alyce credit for my love of Art and Museums. My mom inspired us to be creative, but I think she was more concerned with just surviving. Later in our lives my mom and I visited museums and galleries every weekend. We took painting classes together too. I do remember visiting the Art Museum in Balboa Park when I was in fifth grade. I won an award for a print I made of a horse. I was in a Young Artist show that was to travel somewhere, I can’t remember where. A lady bought my piece of art and was getting it when the show was done traveling. I was so proud. That was my last good year. After that everything went downhill for the rest of my school years. I wish someone would have encouraged me to focus on art. I guess in those days since we didn’t have money that just wasn’t going to happen.

Jack and Fiona visited their first Art Museum yesterday, the Oakland Museum of California. I wish I took notes so I could remember the specific works that really caught their attention. Danny and I let the babies do some walking with hand holding. Switching to carrying when they really wanted to get free from our grips! It was hectic and exhausting, but worth it. I didn’t feel the babies could really get a good sense of the museum experience locked up in their stroller. The OMOC is one of my favorite places to visit. The museum recently closed for a remodel and is now reopen again. It has a beautiful garden area for picnics, a great café, A Gallery of California Art, my favorite, with works by bay Area Figurative Artists, such as Joan Brown, Nathan Oliviera, David Park, and Manuel Neri. There’s a Gallery of California History, which I didn’t visit this time, but is really cool. It has a nice 1960’s exhibit.

The first Gallery we visited was The Gallery of California Natural Sciences. We examined the Sea Birds, stuffed Otters, butterflies and jars of leaves. There wasn’t a lot for jack and Fiona at their age, but they’ve re- done this section of the museum so it’s totally interactive. For adults and older children it could be loads of fun and learning time. The star of the day was the Art Gallery. Jack and Fiona beamed with excitement. Jack gasps when he sees Clayton baileys Ape Guardian, a robot sculpture whose eyes turn red and mouth opens every so often.  We walk around going from a Barry Mc gee painting to a piece of ceramic sculpture. I tell the babies everything I know about the artist and the work of art. “That’s a Joan Brown painting, do you see her doggy? She loved her doggy like we love Billy.” The pointing and saying “That” becomes meaningful and tolerable. It’s a lot more fun when I don’t have to talk about the same things going up the stairwell at home over and over again!

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I think the babies will teach me more about being interactive with art in a museum than I’ve ever been able to do on my own. They are truly looking at the art and asking questions. It transforms the space into a conversation. There is no longer the feeling I can hear a pin drop. I did miss the quiet stillness I used to relish in when I would visit the museum on my own, the inspiration to go home and paint right away. But it’s not about “Me” anymore it’s about “Us” now. So when we got home I pulled out the finger paints and let jack and Fiona create! I feel recharged now. Maybe inspiring creativity in others can be a sense of fulfillment for me? I love how Jack and Fiona get super excited about cool things like I do! It makes me excited. I wonder how much of these early experiences will stay with Jack and Fiona?

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