18 May Played Hooky for Culture | Smithsonian American Art Museum
All of the posts we have written about art shows, live music, and festivals of all types, we decided it was time to take a trip to an art museum in Washington, DC. Sent notes into school, took off work, packed coffee and snacks and headed out early on a beautiful May morning. We may preach about the importance of culture, watch documentaries and talk about the arts, but nothing can beat seeing the arts in real life. I knew Nellie our 11 year old would love it, and thought Brodie, our 8 year old, would have some interest but not sure it would hold his attention.
This began as an idea months ago when I saw that there was an Annie Leibovitz Exhibition called Pilgrimage, and we discussed taking a weekend over the winter to see for ourselves. TIme has gotten away from us, and randomly decided this was the week we would go. Thankfully we did, as the exhibit ends tomorrow. Being someone that loves photography, I don’t consider myself a photographer just yet, I wanted to see her work in person. Unlike her beautifully lit portraits, these were shots of landscapes, personal effects and homes of iconic people in history. My favorite photos included a beautiful autumn shot of Thomas Jeffersons vegetable garden at Monticello, as the sun was setting, washing so much of the landscape in oranges. Another shot was of the outside of a building in New Mexico, where Georgia O’Keefe lived. The photo was somehow taken and looked very much like one of O’Keefes paintings, the lighting, colors & shadows. Inspiring…
After we walked through this exhibit, we wandered our way around all three levels of the museum, visiting the other special exhibits that the kids wanted to see. Brodie was in luck, his head just about exploded when we arrived at the Art of Video Games display. The rest of the museum was quiet, peaceful and reflective and not very populated with visitors, but once we arrived at this end of the 3rd floor it was full of middle school students on field trips to Washington DC. All the sudden, I had to keep an eye on Brodie as the rooms were dark, and larger than life video game screens were setup for visitors to play. A history of video game systems was on display and I never realized how many different versions there have been over the years. Both kids had the opportunity to listen to stories about video games, and try their hand at a larger than life game.
Throughout the museum there are quotes by famous people such as artists on display, politicians and other important figures. Some of these were just famous quotes that we have all heard growing up, some were song lyrics and others were quotes that were new to us, but all inspiring in some way. Nellie was so struck by one quote that she stopped to write it down and plans to include in her write up about the visit.
Beautiful portraits of people throughout history, those that may be famous as well as those we don’t know but were striking just the same. Historic depictions of landscape and war, incredibly beautiful statues that I never thought would strike me as they did, and thought provoking abstracts that even caused Brodie to stop and stare. If we expose our children to works of art, no matter the genre or medium, and let them speak their mind about the piece, it can open doors for them for the rest of their lives. Not that viewing art will be the path to a successful job or get them into the best college, but it opens their minds to see things in a different way.