Arts & Culture

Time for Winter Art Mania at Wichita Art Museum

Six-year-old Katelyn Strum works on an art project at Wichita Art Museum on Friday as part of Winter Art Mania. The free family event runs through Sunday. (December 26, 2014)
Six-year-old Katelyn Strum works on an art project at Wichita Art Museum on Friday as part of Winter Art Mania. The free family event runs through Sunday. (December 26, 2014) The Wichita Eagle

On any given day, the Wichita Art Museum is home to paintings and sculptures molded by the hands of professional artists.

This weekend, however, little hands will make the masterpieces.

Winter Art Mania is a three-day event that invites children of all ages to enjoy holiday-themed art projects, movies and more. It began Friday and runs through Sunday.

“It’s a place to come after all the hubbub of holiday time,” said Courtney Spousta, curator of education at the Wichita Art Museum.

Walking down the hall, kids are told to follow the path of snowflakes on the ground. The trail ends in a colorful, brightly lit space dubbed “The Living Room.”

As kids step into the room, they descend into a flurry of snow and jingle bells. The area is set up with different stations that young art-goers can move between.

At one table on Friday, kids colored their own Christmas ornaments and cut out snowflakes. At another station, yarn was being woven into colorful scarves for the museum snowman, who was being constructed with glue sticks and packing peanuts.

A TV screen equipped with a camera created a “Selfie Station,” where a group of teenagers gathered to take goofy pictures to be displayed on the museum’s digital art wall.

“This is engagement with art,” Spousta said. “They can make something, they can do something.”

Many parents are looking for ways to entertain their kids during the winter break. Spousta encourages art as an activity.

“It’s a different kind of engagement than TV or video games that is crucial to childhood development,” she said.

Kerry Smith sat with her 3-year-old grandson, Jace, as he picked out beads and bells for a holiday necklace.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Smith said. “It’s something for us to do.”

Events like Art Mania are part of an initiative to get kids comfortable with being in a museum setting, which can sometimes be intimidating, Spousta said.

“Getting kids here is the first step in making lifelong museum goers,” she said.

If you go

What: Winter Art Mania, a holiday art event

When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Wichita Art Museum, 1400 W. Museum Blvd.

Who: Kids of all ages

Cost: Free admission

For more information, visit www.wichitaartmuseum.org.

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