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Long Island City Museum Workshops Help Tiny Tots Find Their Inner Artists

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | September 12, 2012 11:56am

LONG ISLAND CITY — “All children are born artists,” Pablo Picasso said, and the Noguchi Museum intends to help the little ones stay that way as they grow up.

This fall the Long Island City museum, founded by a prominent Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, is holding art programs for children as young as three months, letting them peruse galleries and play with different materials to stimulate their senses.

“All of our workshops involve making art and looking at art,” said Rebecca Shulman Herz, head of education at the Noguchi Museum.

The newest program launched by the museum this year, open only to members, is meant for children only few months old (Beginning with Art I is for children three to 12 months and Beginning with Art II is for kids 12-24 months).

These programs “are really focused on engaging kids in interacting with art and art materials and engaging parents in watching and learning about their kids through this interaction,” Shulman Herz noted.

During the workshops parents will learn how to notice what their children are drawn to in a gallery and how they react to seeing various objects.

The workshops are also meant to experiment with materials and engage the senses. Kids will play with materials like rocks, sand or water, feeling differences between them.

There area workshops for older children as well.

Art for Tots (for kids ages two to four) and Art for Families (children ages five to 11) — have various themes, like “Line, Dot, Dashes: Making Marks,” “Twist, Turn, Tear: Sculpting Paper” or “Dig, Cut, Carve: Transforming Materials.”

During the classes children will explore the galleries and get to play with various materials, like clay or paper.

The museum’s educators will also engage them in exercises related to the workshop's themes. For example, “if they were doing something with different shapes and clay, then they might go and look for shapes in the gallery,” Shulman Herz said.

Beginning with Art is for museum members only. Other programs are available to non-members as well and cost $10 per family (free for members).

The workshops are so popular that there is a limit of two classes per season per family.

The museum also holds Open Studio, a drop-in program every first Sunday of every month, inviting families to visit the galleries and create art in response to their experiences. No registration is required for this program.