When is the right time to start exposing your kid to art? My completely unfounded and suspect advice: short of rubbing a Francis Bacon against your distended, baby-rich belly, it’s never too early. Alas, Las Vegas can be a difficult place for putting kids in front of art. First Friday suggests itself as an obvious opportunity ... but then you imagine the terrifying prospect of watching your little one being whisked away on a human Jordan River of hipster beards and Stella bottles. Preview Thursday? Perhaps, though it's happily developed more of an adult, connoisseurish vibe. And sure, there are countless finger-painting and clay-pounding courses out there. But what about something with a bit more ... artsiness? It’s a question worth asking, particularly as urban Las Vegas repopulates with people who presumably value arts, culture and community. Ostensibly, those people would want to spoon into their offspring some kid-friendly portions of the same.
Here’s a promising entry: Toddler Tours at UNLV’s Barrick Museum. It’s part read-along, part art-gazing and part activity hour. Barrick staff read Lucy Micklethwait's book “I Spy Shapes in Art,” employing Brian Porray’s large collage work, “-(\DARKHOR5E/)-” to lead kids in a shape-hunting exercise. (And if you’ve seen this collage, there are a lot of shapes going on.) Then, kids and parents are cut loose to make their own collages from an assortment of pre-cut shapes. It happens 1p on the second Saturday of every month at Barrick.
(And if you’re feeling ambitious and you think you’ve got a budding Matisse on your hands, you can always check out Barrick’s current exhibit, “Art for Art’s Sake,” on display through April 26, as well.)