I’ll begin by saying this: Albright-Knox Art Gallery calls it a "toddler" art class – but it is for 3 and 4 year olds – so perhaps it’s more of a preschooler art class. Either way, it is actually pretty cool.
The classes are held on the first Friday of each month (which is First Fridays at the gallery). The cost of the class is $10 (free for members), and you really do get what you pay for here. The class is from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and it's a full hour.
There were seven kids with their parents (or caregivers) in our class. The group split up at two tables, both with plastic tablecloths.
Each child got an art smock to wear with brushes, paper and other materials given out during the class. They began with a little coloring and moved on to more advanced creations.
The teacher, Ms. Heather was very sweet. She was great with the kids and started off talking about colors.
The colors of the day were blue, yellow and green. The first mission was to find those colors. We all left the classroom and roamed the gallery for a bit looking for paintings that had the trio of colors in them. The kids loved playing "color detectives."
After a 15 or so minute tour, it was back to class. Just long enough for the kiddos.
Ms. Heather first demonstrated what the kids were going to do. She did it all one step at a time which was easy for the kids to understand. After each step demonstration, she handed out the needed materials. The kids seemed to really get into it.
Emma was very serious about her art – and took her time, even asking Ms. Heather a few questions – as did some of the other cuties. They all went along - step-by-step.
In the end, the kids made a neat piece of art with the colors of the day (blue, yellow and green). While their masterpieces dried a bit, the kids washed the paint off of their hands. And faces. And arms. Yes, it was a bit messy. In fact, despite the smock Emma did get some paint on her shirt. We’ll keep that in mind for next time.
The children had fun and made a few extra little paintings and drawings at the end of class. Then, the kids thanked their teacher and happily took their creations (which were nicely wrapped in plastic since they weren't quite dry yet) and were on their way. Ms. Heather went out of her way to make sure each child knew they did a fabulous job.
It was interesting to see how well the kids listened to direction. They got to have fun with paints, but also learned how to work step by step. They saw what layering the colors meant.
They used a variety of fun materials like brushes, rollers, a gel board and even bubble wrap to make their designs. The kids had a blast and parents - of course - were bursting with pride at how well their little artists were doing.
- They do not allow you to bring additional children – younger or older – into the classroom during the program. It was a good thing we left baby Ella at home with Grandma.
- Call ahead to be sure there is room in the class. Space is limited –so, registration and pre-payment are required. Call 270-8292.
- You might want to have your child wear something that you wouldn’t mind getting paint on.
- Give yourself time to wander around the museum before or after the class. I was pleasantly surprised how much Emma seemed to like looking at the beautiful artwork, particularly the abstract art.
There was no downside at all. It was an hour – so just enough time. Any longer would have been too long – any shorter and they wouldn’t have finished.
Emma loved it. We framed her painting and hung it in her playroom. She couldn’t wait to show it to her daddy and sisters.
It is a nice, relaxed atmosphere and it'll surely give your little one a good dose of culture and fun. And who knows, maybe someday it will be their artwork hanging on those famous walls.
Albright-Knox Art Gallery Toddler Art Class
Where: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave.
When: Every first Friday of the month from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $10 for the class, everything else is free (the first Friday of each month is free Friday) including parking.