Bart's Artventure Grand Opening: Birmingham Museum of Art

The Birmingham Museum of Art will open the doors to Bart’s ArtVenture, its new interactive gallery designed specifically for children and families on May 19. The colorful, modern space combines high tech art-making tools with hands-on creation stations to give kids and families the opportunity to begin and develop their art education in a creative, communal environment. With its opening, Bart’s ArtVenture becomes one of only a handful of art museums across the nation with a gallery dedicated to kids and families.

“Bart’s ArtVenture is going to transform our Museum experience for visitors with children,” said Gail Andrews, the R. Hugh Director of the Museum.  “This kind of space not only gives families the freedom to create and share art in a safe and fun environment, it also fills a significant void in our community that has been created where budget cuts have eroded many arts programs in our schools. Bart’s ArtVenture offers children the chance to discover art, some for the very first time,” she said.

Somerset, a Huntsville-based design group, worked closely with the Museum’s education department to devise an engaging, modular space divided into two galleries– one children for ages 1-5 and the other for children ages 6-12. Both galleries feature large “art bars” where children can create their own art.

“Our goal with Bart’s ArtVenture is to relate its design to our collection while implementing activities that would encourage group participation and inspire conversation between kids and families,” said Curator of Education, Samantha Kelly. “We want the Museum experience to be fun, easy and accessible for families with children of all ages and see this space as a place where art comes alive, one which serves as a bridge for families to further explore our Museum together.”

Each station surrounding the art bars in the gallery purposefully reflects some aspect of the Museum’s diverse permanent collection. The colorful entrance wall to the space includes art derived from Roy Lichtenstein’s sculpture Brushstroke V.  A green screen lets visitors to virtually step into one of the Museum’s works–such as Albert Bierstadt’s iconic painting Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California–and then email the digital image to themselves. Texture blocks designed for younger visitors are based on objects from the collection, and children can decorate masks nearly identical to those preserved on display in the African, Native American and Pre-Columbian galleries. Even the large customizable image of BMA family mascot Bart The Art Bat, is itself derived from a Pre-Columbian gold artifact on display at the Museum.

The hallway linking the two galleries “Bart’s Art Cave” will be a showcase for local artists, offering various “sensory-based” works during the course of a year. The Museum worked with Bare Hands, Inc. to identify artists for the space that bring the right level of stimulation, innovation, and children-centered art and ideas. The first on display is Heather Spencer Holmes’ ethereal installation of floating jellyfish called Smack.
“Opportunities for young visitors to create their own art, be inspired by new artists, and to be engaged with the masterpieces at the Museum means that Bart’s ArtVenture offers a kid-friendly environment like no other,” said Kelly.  “We want it to provoke conversation about how art, creativity, exploration, and discovery can be a part of your life after the Museum visit.”

Bart’s ArtVenture Grand Opening Celebration Schedule

May 19, 2012 // 11:00am – 3:00pm
FREE and open to all ages

Join Bart the Art Bat for the Grand Opening of Bart’s ArtVenture, the Museum’s cool, new hands-on gallery for kids of all ages!  Be among the very first to explore the cutting –edge technology and art-making opportunities. Step into one of the Museum’s masterpieces via green screen technology. Make an abstract painting with your body on a giant digital canvas. Create your own art and feast on Bart’s birthday cupcakes as we follow Bart on a new Museum ArtVenture! Visit for more information.

10:00-11:00 // Member’s Preview

Become a member today to be the first to see the new gallery!

11:00 // Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Gallery Officially Opens to the Public

11:00-3:00 // Free Family Activities
Art Activities
Bart’s Cupcakes
Family Yoga
Stories in the Galleries
Musical Entertainment
Scavenger Hunts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *