For most parents, the idea of bringing little ones—and their sticky, curious fingers—to an art museum probably sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. (Don’t touch that priceless painting! Stop climbing that centuries-old sculpture!)
But there’s good news. The Cincinnati Art Museum’s Rosenthal Education Center (a.k.a. “the REC”) was designed especially for kids to engage with art in a safe, interactive space.
“The reason that the Rosenthal Education Center was created was to show that the Art Museum is a space for families and for kids,” says Alex Otte Callon, coordinator of the REC.
Opened in March 2015, the REC boasts an interactive side with twice-yearly rotating themed stations as well as a permanent studio space that encourages free-play art-making.
From November 2018 through May 2019, the interactive side reflects the theme of “Creating Community,”with activities such as embellishing fleece-tie blankets to donate to the SPCA, making bird feeders, and contributing to a collaborative grid mural.
In the studio space, kids help themselves to the Art Bar, an ever-evolving assortment of old art magazines, fabrics, yarns, stickers, and other supplies. There are prompts, Otte Callon says, if kids need a little inspiration, but “I also understand that I was a kid who just wanted to have access to art supplies and make whatever I wanted.” So, anything goes.
And because the REC caters to all ages, there’s even a“soft space”with pillows, books, and toddler-appropriate toys for the youngest art aficionados.
The REC is always free and available for drop-in play without reservations. Or families can join for one of the regularly scheduled programs: Wednesday Story Time, Wee Wednesday, Family First Saturdays, and Baby Tours.
Rosenthal Education Center, 953 Eden Park Dr., Mt. Adams, (513) 721-2787, cincinnatiartmuseum.org