Art Park: A Grandparent’s Go-To Spot

By: Andrew McGivern, curator of exhibitions on July 13th, 2016


My wife and I recently spent time with our son and his young family in southern Wisconsin. For an afternoon outing, we visited the Madison Art Fair on the Square featuring nearly 500 participating artists.


During our walk, we came upon an art activity tent sponsored by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. It was a great place to step out of the sun and sit down for a few minutes. My wife, Jeana, an elementary art teacher in the Wausau School District, took the opportunity to show our eleven-month-old grandson how to draw with crayons. Granted, it may be a few years before he creates his first masterpiece, but it’s never too early to learn art basics.


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On another hot, humid day when the heat index climbed above 100 degrees we looked for an indoor activity. We chose a library children’s area where our grandson discovered a castle and a small slide and was surrounded by other toddlers and their older siblings.


As a new grandparent, I’d forgotten – since our parenting days so long ago – how nice it is to have places to take a toddler. Art Park, the Woodson Art Museum’s interactive family gallery, is designed and built by the Museum’s educators and facilities staff to offer ever-changing intergenerational, art– and nature–based activities for drop-in fun. The terraced, cushioned seats of the Reading Hills, for example, are perfect for exploring books and watching impromptu puppet shows by siblings.


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Keep the Woodson Art Museum in mind as a great accessible place to visit with young children or grandchildren.

In addition to the many terrific hands-on art activities in Art Park, you also can experience this summer’s exhibition focused on chairs along with four other exhibitions drawn from the Museum’s collection, and walk beneath a towering sandhill crane sculpture, the newest addition on the Museum’s grounds.




As parents and grandparents are discovering and sharing on social media, the Big Woodson Chair is a perfect family-photo spot, too.


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