The Denver Public Library is pleased to host the annual Denver Public Schools K-8 Art Exhibition from April 5 to April 19. Come see these wonderful works created by Denver’s elementary and middle school students. While you're downtown, visit some other art institutions around Denver. Then bring out your child’s (and your) creativity by making art from materials found around the house.
Participation in the arts provides many benefits for children of all ages. According to Americans for the Arts making art strengthens critical thinking and problem solving skills, bolsters self-confidence, and improves memory. After viewing the Denver Public Schools exhibit on Level 5 of the Central Library, take advantage of Denver’s active art community and spend a day immersing your child in visual art.
You'll find kid-friendly games and art-making opportunities throughout the Denver Art Museum. The museum offers free entry on the first Saturday of every month and children 5 and under get in for free every day. Be sure to visit the Kid's Corner in the North Building's elevator lobby. The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver on 15th Avenue has programming for children and a fun craft area in the Fox Family Idea Box that cantilevers over 15th Ave. Children under 6 enter for free.
There are plenty of places in Denver to see art without going to a museum. The Denver Public Library hosts rotating exhibits on levels 5 and 7 at the Central Library. Outside the Central Library on the north side you'll see “The Yearling,” a fiberglass pony standing on a 21-foot-tall red chair. You'll find many more public art pieces throughout the city. The Denver Office of Cultural Affairs offers a comprehensive map of public art in Denver and the surrounding area, with a section listing works that appeal to children.
When you get home from your day of art exploration, encourage your child to make his or her own masterpiece. Dig through your recycling bin for free 3-D art supplies, like egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, and empty cereal boxes. If the idea of playing with recycling grosses you out, raid the pantry. Pasta makes great beads for a necklace or add food coloring to whipped cream for a little messy and edible painting. Kids’ Art Works! Creating with Color, Design, Texture and More by Sandi Henry and I Love to Paint by Jennifer Lipsey have more involved projects for late elementary and middle school kids.
Creativity abounds in young children. Their lack of inhibition allows them to make art without worrying about the end product. As they age, children gain sensitivity to other people’s expectations of what art should look like. Many children lose confidence and shy away from creative pursuits as a result. Let your child know that it's okay if his or her drawing doesn't look like an older sibling's or friend's drawing. Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg reminds us to embrace accidents and let creativity fly.
Dancing Giraffe by Aileen Lopez