Children and Art Immersive Art for a New Generation
How do you interpret art? Stop and look, read a book or listen to a lecture? Today’s art lovers are encouraged not to just view, but to immerse themselves in new ways designed to bring paintings to life. Although immersive art is a comparatively new concept, it’s not the first-time art has been examined from the inside out instead of the outside in.
In 1984 Stephen Sondheim brought Georges Seurat’s painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte to life in the highly acclaimed musical Sunday in the Park with George. The plot revolves around George, a fictionalized version of the French pointillist, who immerses himself deeply in painting his masterpiece. The show not only gives the paintings’ famous characters beating hearts but allows their voices to be heard with songs like Children and Art and Finishing the Hat.
Fast forward to today and art has become even more immersive. Galleries have broadened audiences by introducing high tech projections that allow them to step into their favorite paintings. These shows reflect a cultural shift towards turning galleries into entertainment sites. From Van Gogh to Frida Kahlo, Klimt to Monet, its allowing artists to reach a whole new, often younger, audience who may never have dreamed of spending time in a gallery before.
The visitor experience has now become a core component of the work. They’re not longer simply spectators, but integral to the activation of the installation.
The beauty of immersive art is that it can be accessed by all ages. At the DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville, little ones can explore art hands on with their new exhibit Framed: Step into Art. This exhibit encourages children to ask questions and find answers through the exploration of art, gaining an understanding that everyone can have fun with art and appreciate it.
Guests can step back in time to 1916 to enjoy John Singer Sargent’s painting, Camp at Lake O’Hara. The painting depicts a busy camping scene, and children can pretend to cook a meal over the campfire, tell stories and rearrange items in a magnetic frame to show what a contemporary version may look like.
Traveling south of the border, The Corn Festival allows them to add ribbons and flowers to a floral tower in this piece from the Court of Fiestas in the Ministry of Education Building in Mexico City.
Finally, Be Your Own Mona Lisa allows them not only to learn about some of the painting’s famous parodies, but also step behind a cut out version to replace her enigmatic smile with their own.
As songwriter and visual artist Brandon Boyd says: “Art is everywhere and everywhere is art.” Perhaps now is the time to truly immersive yourself in it.