November 26, 2012

Day Trip - Blanton Bound

by Jennifer Rustgi, Kid Culture Austin

Back in my carefree, single and childless days, I'd have this recurring daydream of me and my (yet unborn) child bonding by doing things like browsing the halls of museums and being all arty together. The reality is that once I actually had a child, the prospect of doing anything of the sort seemed just a smidge intimidating.

The thought of braving a museum with my daughter, without the help of my husband, brought up feelings of anxiety similar to what I felt in the first days after she was born. Instead of, "How am I ever going to be able leave the house again?!"   I found myself asking, "What if she starts tearing all the art down off the walls or throws a temper tantrum in the middle of the place?" Don't get me wrong, she is generally a very well-behaved, sweet kid, but she is a toddler. Despite my trepidation, I really wanted to try out a little trip to the Blanton Museum.

It turns out that I didn't need to be intimidated by it at all. Once we were on the grounds, I knew that my fears were unfounded. There were lots of other children there, and if things got really crazy, I could always hightail it out of there. We started out with lunch at the Blanton Cafe, then headed across the courtyard to the museum to begin the real test!

The Blanton has an extensive collection, along with 3 temporary exhibitions (at this time). The following blurb from the museum's website gives a sense of the scope of its holdings:
"The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the foremost university art museums in the country, and has the largest and most comprehensive collection of art in Central Texas. The Blanton's permanent collection of more than 17,000 works is recognized for its European paintings, an encyclopedic collection of prints and drawings, and modern and contemporary American and Latin American art."

We spent about 20 minutes or so in the downstairs exhibits, talking a lot about the shapes, colors, and objects we saw. She loved it! I knew I wanted to let her see some of the upstairs collection, so we beelined it up there next.

The American and Latin American hall is my favorite, and the bold colors and shapes are very appealing to little ones. By the way, did you know that admission for kids 12 and under is always free?!

I've been to the Blanton several times for field trips and this popular installation ( Missão/Missões [Mission/Missions] (How to Build Cathedrals) ) is always on the guided tour. It was a big hit with my daughter. She liked that she could run her hands through the pennies! After that, we worked our way out past an awesome installation made of rocks.

I'd planned to spend an hour or so and we were there for almost two, so I knew we needed to wrap things up and head home. We'll check out more on our next visit!

Blanton Museum of Art

MLK at Congress (200 East MLK )
Austin, Texas 78701

Admission for kids 12 and under is FREE!
Tips for Parents for talking about art at the museum

Jennifer Rustgi is a mom and blogger at Kid Culture Austin- Navigating Austin with Kids, where she gives her opinions and recommendations about events, places, and activities for families with kids in Austin, TX.

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