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Children and Museums: You Can’t Start Early Enough

Cromartie said her background in art education had taught her that even very young children connect with abstract art. Yet the programming at Clyfford Still was geared toward adults and teenagers.

Seeing an opportunity to broaden the audience, she invited children from early learning centers and schools to pick their favorites among Still’s pieces. “The pandemic had hit, so we did virtual meetings where the kids selected works,” Cromartie said. Children who could talk recorded their interpretations of the works, which “became material for a kid-created audio guide for the show,” she added.

The exhibit, which opened in March 2022, led to two new programs. The first, an Art Crawl, is held three times a month for newborns through 14-month-old children, who can crawl freely through selected galleries and are encouraged to stop at each work to engage in an interactive activity.

Monthly Maker Mornings, for those 15 months to 8 years old, give children an opportunity to peruse the galleries and engage in activities such as painting a canvas in response to a piece and writing Valentine’s Day cards to their friends and family after reading ones that Still wrote to his children.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

The Fiber Makers’ Circle, aimed at connecting young people with other generations, is one of the newest and most popular programs at LACMA for children of all ages said Naima J. Keith, the vice president of education and public programs.

“We formed our Fiber Makers’ Circle to meet our audience’s desire for intergenerational programs where every member of the family, no matter their age or skill level, can connect, learn and create together,” Keith said. “We’ve seen 5-year-olds with their 90-year-old great-grandmothers attend, laugh and have a great time together, and many families have come more than once.”

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