Tacoma museum partnership introduces kids to art

Children’s Museum of Tacoma and Tacoma Art Museum are collaborating to launch a new partnership that will provide dynamic—and free—arts engagement for families, connecting our youngest learners through the arts. Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 25, up to 500 families each year can experience art at the two museums, receiving free entry to TAM after visiting CMT. The museums are neighbors, located less than a block apart along Pacific Avenue in Tacoma’s Museum District. Their proximity makes it easy for families to take advantage of the new program.

Children paint at Becka's Studio at Children's Museum of Tacoma. A collaborative effort with the Tacoma Art Museum will enhance the family experience at the two museums, beginning Jan. 25, 2017. Credit: Children's Museum of Tacoma / TAM

Children paint at Becka’s Studio at Children’s Museum of Tacoma. A collaborative effort with the Tacoma Art Museum will enhance the family experience at the two museums, beginning Jan. 25, 2017.
Credit: Children’s Museum of Tacoma / TAM

How does the new program work? Young children and their families will be introduced to works of art, various themes, and different creative processes through hands-on art activities in Becka’s Studio at CMT. These activities are inspired by select works of art on view at TAM.  Families then receive a free Family Pass to visit Tacoma Art Museum and experience these works of art in person. They can check out a Family Explorer Pack that will engage the whole family in the galleries.

Visiting two museums in the same day may be more than some families can accommodate, so the TAM pass is good for one year.

The first TAM exhibition to be highlighted in the CMT-TAM program is The Beauty of a Shared Passion: Highlights from the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. This exhibition includes 60 iconic works in sculpture, paintings, and studio art glass by Northwest and world-renowned artists.

It is a preview of the full Benaroya collection of 225 works, which will go on view in a new wing at TAM opening in late 2018. The works inspired activities for children and families at CMT. Visitors to Becka’s Studio can create driftwood sculptures, investigate the movement of line through Sumi painting, tell stories through art, and more.

These activities help children’s social and emotional development through collaborating with others; improve fine motor and eye-hand coordination as they work with artist’s tools; and build basic awareness of design and composition. In Becka’s Studio, parents can learn to connect with their children through art while supporting innovation and creativity with common materials.

CMT’s environment fosters creativity, imagination, and allows children to be children while giving parents the option to relax or interact. To ensure that parents and caregivers feel comfortable and confident visiting a fine art museum with young children, TAM created three new Family Explorer Packs designed to guide families through fun, easy, and age-appropriate activities. Families can check out one or more packs based on materials found in the exhibition The Beauty of a Shared Passion.

There is a Glass Pack, a Brushes and Paper Pack and a Bronze Pack. Each pack provides tips for looking at two works of art to find details, offers touchable materials to explore, and includes a related picture book to read together. Families are invited to explore at their own pace, and the packs are designed to be completed in 15 to 30 minutes.

“An art museum can seem like a daunting place to parents of little ones, but Tacoma Art Museum wants to connect people of all ages through art. We’ve worked with Children’s Museum of Tacoma to develop a program that provides a fun, easy, and relevant experience to inspire even the youngest learners. We think families are going to get a lot of out of this new partnership, and we’re excited to be able to introduce kids to the art museum at a young age,” said Samantha Kelly, Director of Education and Community Engagement at TAM.

This partnership program is funded for a two-year period. It is supported by the Hoffman and Driscoll families in honor of their late grandmother, mother, and wife, Susan F. Hoffman, who taught art to children in Cleveland, Boston, and Seattle. She later pursued a doctorate in communications at University of Washington, and established the company Intermedia Inc. to distribute education media materials.

CMT offers “Pay as You Will” admission, Wednesday-Sunday, allowing families to donate what is right for them. TAM’s current admission rates are $15 adult, $13 student, children 5 and under free, or $40 per family with two adults and up to four children under age 18. The new CMT-TAM partnership results in a savings of $15 – $40 per family at TAM.

– Tacoma Art Museum