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Art Improv at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston

We do love to travel and sample the local culture wherever we visit. Over the next few months, we plan to write a weekly travel blog to share our often unique logistical tips.

Art has been a life-long hobby of ours which started with our parents holding Friday night slide shows featuring works from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in NYC.  Since then, we have filled our lives with a steady diet of art museums and galleries several times a month.  When our children grumble about going to an art museum “yet again” we tell them that art is food for the soul. Hopefully, someday they will believe.

This past sunday, our gang really enjoyed the family day event at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX. We had to attend this event since our family was pictured in the event program (above).  So as you can imagine— the docents rolled out the red carpet and invited us to begin our “Art Improv” experience.

After a delicious and very reasonable lunch at Cafe Express in the basement, we headed to the first floor where additional docents greeted us with offers of sketch boards, pads, stools and an assortment of artist tools.  Then, our children zoomed around the Impressionist collection on the 2nd floor while “friending” their favorite work of art.  While running to keep up, we learned the amazing small world fact that the current Museum Director Gary Tinterow is the former Modern Art curator at the MET.  We knew we recognized the collection design!

Our Teen diligently sketched Modigliani’s portrait of Leopold Zborowski with his Grandpa. This painting reminded us of the Modigliani art exhibit we saw in Zurich with dear friends many moons ago. We were just thrilled that our Teen son had picked one of our favorite artists to draw.

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Our tween son struggled with deciding between “friending” a Brancusi or Giacometti Sculpture. In the end, he created a beautiful Brancusi-like collage out of gold and bronze.  Our little daughter put much enthusiasm into her rendering of Claude Monet’s Japanese Footbridge. She also helped Grandma create a beautiful tile of Kees Van Dongren’s The Corn Poppy.

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We find that many art museums across America feature a family arts and crafts event at least one weekend a month. During the many years we lived in Westchester County NY, we loved the Sunday Family Day the Nueberger at SUNY in Purchase. Many of these events have discounted prices or local businesses cover admission as a benefit to customers.  In fact, Bank of America offers its banking clients free admission to art and culture institutions in major cities the first sunday of the month. Also, the Smithsonian often holds free museum day events as well.

We owe a tremendous thank you to @MFAH for teaching our children about studying and creating art.  Art appreciation is a wonderful gift that we hope that our chidden will continue to nourish. We are also hopeful that they will catch the talent gene from the long line of family artists (exhibited above) because it sure skipped this generation!

Please let us know about any great museums your family has visited and what you liked  most.