There may not be such a thing as a free lunch in NYC, but there certainly is no shortage of free art. Getting out of the cold with a family friendly activity for free is one of the few miracles of living here. Two weekends ago I took my 6-year-old son to the “Families and Folk Art” series at the American Folk Art Museum, a free interactive program that happens on the first Saturday of every month. Children ages 4-12 (and their adult) have the opportunity to tour the gallery and take a guided closer look at some of the art, followed by some hands-on artmaking inspired by an object at the museum.
The current exhibit, “Mystery and Benevolence: Masonic and Odd Fellows Folk Art”, runs through May 8th. Kids seem to relate well to folk art, which encompasses art made by untrained hands, including indigenous cultures, tradespeople, and “outsiders.” This particular show explores art made by secret societies and includes lots of symbols, rituals and utilitarian objects like aprons and furniture. We took a brief walk around the small gallery before the program started, and my son pointed out all the hearts, arrows, and “eyeballs.” There was a carved stage on display that my son desperately wanted to act out a play on, but luckily the programming was starting. (more…)