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Frame of Mind

Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University
5900 Bishop Blvd., Dallas
Hours: 10am–5pm Tuesday–Saturday; open through 9pm Thursday; 1–5pm Sunday. Sorolla and America on display through April 19.
Admission: $10 for adults; free for children ages 11 and younger. Free for all after 5pm Thursdays.
Parking: Free garage parking with ticket validation. 

When it’s switched on (and sometimes it isn’t), the SMU Meadows Museum’s most hypnotizing work of art – an enormous bronze sculpture on the outdoor plaza – flows in gentle, perpetual motion over a reflecting pool. The “Wave” by Santiago Calatrava, the architect behind our own Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, is just an enticement for the cache of treasures you’ll find inside the Meadows. Paintings by Spanish masters – such as Goya, Picasso and Velázquez – date as far back as the 10th century, and in this family-accessible museum, you won’t need an art history degree to share your love of fine art with the youngest kids in your family.
Take them on a trip to the Meadows for all-ages tours on Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings or to walk around at their own pace and find the paintings that strike them. Watch them gravitate toward the kid favorites: a Spanish matador in full regalia, a dwarf with a cockatoo perched on his arm and a giant Renaissance altarpiece that’s jaw-droppingly beautiful.
The museum’s newest exhibit, Sorolla and America, takes up nearly the entire second floor with 160 works, many of them featuring children. To help yours absorb a bit of artistic know-how, pick up a scavenger hunt guide at the front desk. Kid-appropriate questions prompt them to use their senses and imagination to examine the paintings’ gardens, landscapes and beach scenes. Find a favorite? Commit it to memory by sketching out a copy on the back on the pamphlet, and hand back the completed scavenger hunt for an artsy prize to take home.

Published January 2014