planning your family friendly visit to the FMoA

As we prepare to unveil a new exhibit, it seems an appropriate time to discuss what is involved when planning a visit to the Museum of Art— especially as you will most likely want to bring your little ones along— exposing them to an enriching world of art that they will want to come back for, again and again. Most aren’t fully aware of all the Museum has to offer once they open those double doors. Reading on will ensure you can make the most of your trip.

Firstly, become abreast of the Museum’s exhibition schedule. Many folks don’t realize that our exhibits change every 2 months– meaning you can plan a day of art and excursions and field trips right here in Fayetteville multiple times in a year. No reason to travel out of town! An added incentive is that the Museum is always free. Have a conversation with your children on the way to the Museum about expected behavior. Little voices, no touching, and no running are the most important instructions to pass on to your child. With a little planning you can have a full day of art at little to no cost!

Prep for your day. Bring snacks, drinks in closed containers to carry in a knapsack, something to keep print materials in, a camera (the Museum welcomes pictures with no flash). The Museum sits on a beautiful 5 acre lot with a stream, gazebo, bridges, and plenty of ducks. This will keep your child’s interest keen as their surroundings continue to change.

As far as the exhibits are concerned, you will first want to do your research. Typically the Museum has a three to four artist exhibit with a variety of different kind of works. Visit our website here- as this will be the most up to date resource on Museum programming (to include classes or workshops that may happen on the same day!). Additionally, making a phone call (910-485-5121) will ensure that the exhibit is actually open to the public (the gallery is closed during exhibit change-outs do to our limited space). You may also inquire to the friendliness of the exhibit to children. Some parents are more comfortable with their child seeing a nude or partially new art piece, others are not. (Though we don’t always or even often have such pieces. This way you can avoid surprise if we do.) We are regularly open Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm and on Saturday and Sundays from 1pm to 5pm.

With each new art exhibit we always have at least three print materials to make your visit to the Museum easier– these items greet you at the main entrance table. Please pick up our Gallery Guide (to review Artist Statements, price lists, etc.), a professionally designed invitation of the exhibit as a keepsake, and a youth activity to utilize during the visit. Typically the youth activity is a scavenger hunt. It connects the child with art in a fun and exciting way while also offering a small reward at the end. See the Receptionist after the activity is completed for a small prize (typically little notebooks, crayons, or beginner paints).

There are always other print materials available at the main entrance to include class registration brochures, our newsletter, or other event offerings. Take a moment to peruse to be sure if any catch your attention and perhaps offer another enticing adventure to the Museum. Exhibits will often incorporate sculpture, painting, mixed media, textiles, photography, etc into one themed show. This allows you and your little one to explore the different ways art can manifest itself to present a single, unifying theme of varying forms.

Once you and your little one have gone through the exhibit and completed the exhibit activity, be sure to drop into the Museum Shoppe for a memento or special art gift. Also, if you happen to make your trip during the week, our Hands on Art Gallery is usually open downstairs in our education department. This space provides art activities themed to each exhibit with the use of FREE art supplies. Your child can channel their inner Picasso and make their own fantastic works of art! You can also drop into the Art Library to continue the art instruction at home– even check out a Art Kit to use at home!(ALL FREE!)

Another print piece that is worthwhile to grab while in the Museum is our Sculpture Garden Gallery Guide. It provides a map with information about the 12 sculptures out on our grounds. Your child will love these larger than life size pieces of art and enjoy their own little “treasure” hunt for art!

Reviewing the current exhibit, perusing the wonderful works of art in the Museum Shoppe, enjoying the Hands On Art Gallery, scanning the shelves of the Library, and sharing a picnic or feeding the ducks after a tour of the Sculpture Garden seems like a thorough day of art for you and yours. You might even like it so much it becomes a family tradition!

AND, if all of this wasn’t enough, you can extend your art day by heading on down to Gallery 208 (208 Rowan Street across from Festival Park) and take in our satellite gallery’s terrific art. Typically this gallery (also the offices of Up and Coming Weekly Magazine) showcases two artists who call Fayetteville home.

Who said there wasn’t anything to do in Fayetteville?

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