It is no secret about me, that I love art. I am not a great artist… never will be, but that is the great thing about art… you can just be an appreciator, and that is how this #Dadventure began…
One of the great things about homeschooling is we get to have adventures that supplement what the kids are learning about. Recently in their art class co-op group the boys were studying some famous artists among those they studied were Vincent van Gogh and Alexander Calder who have works on display in Chicago. We have had some pretty fun talks around the dinner table and elsewhere about art, artists, and what each boy likes etc… and at some point I must have mentioned that we would take them downtown to see the The Art Institute of Chicago (@artinstitutechi), and they could use their sketchbooks to make some art there.
Last week as we were making out our family schedule we were reminded of that promise and it just so happened that we had a free Saturday so we made it official. Bright and early (okay not so bright and early) we packed some snacks and art supplies and made our way to a local gluten free cafe for a pancake brunch before hopping the train into the city.
I love firsts, and having a chance to be with my kids as they explored an art museum for the first time was exciting. It is so fascinating to see what their little minds gravitate to and what inspires them. After about an hour there we walked into the Asian art gallery and the boys saw a Buddhist pagoda and were inspired to create. After finding a nearby bench we broke out their art supplies and let them have at it.
Armed with sketchbooks pencils and crayons they set off for about 15-20 minutes making their own art. They were so proud of what they had done they each took a minute to share their creations with the security guard in the room who was gracious and patient enough to hear them out and give them praise for their efforts.
Next we made our way through the ancient Greek and Roman art, which was especially fun with the boys as we have been ready the Percy Jackson books together. They actually got to see a golden drachma and many of the Gods and Heroes we’ve read about depicted in works of art. There was also a really great map of the ancient world on the wall, and my wife showed them a bunch of the places that they have been studying in their social studies lessons and where they are in relationship to the world as they know it today.
We saw the Chagall windows and the replication of the Chicago Exchange floor. We made some more sketches in the room with the Medieval Armor and weapons. Saw the study for Alexander Calder’s “Flamingo” (We took a picture by it, and the real one which is just down the street from the Institute). Then we wrapped up the day with a stroll through the Impressionist wing. My wife got to see her haystacks, The boys got to see some masterpieces up close, and I was thrilled to see their minds expand as they took in new possibilities. The whole train ride home my 7 yo was either sketching or asking me questions about art and artists. It made me feel good that we have the opportunity to share this with our kids. I love that my kids are learning and being inspired through the adventures that we have as a family. (My high school humanities teacher would be so proud…)
Here is a little gallery from this #Dadventure: