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Introducing Your Kids to the Arts

When a discussion about 19th century Impressionist paintings seems light years from a finger painting with pudding, it might be time to get your kids’ feet wet in the arts. This fall and winter, introduce your kids to the arts with performances and exhibits such as an hour-long family-friendly opera or a wildlife photography display. You’ll stretch your kids’ creative muscles and show them just how vast the art world is. But that doesn’t mean you should outlaw that pudding art just yet.
 

“International Pop” at the Dallas Museum of Art
Where: 1717 N. Harwood St., Dallas; 214/922-1200
When: Oct. 11−Jan. 17
For those of you who only know Pop art to be synonymous with Andy Warhol and his cans of Campbell’s soup, this exhibit brings an international angle to the movement. Gaze upon art from Argentina, Japan and Slovakia while learning about the global significance of the movement that challenged fine art in the 1960s and 1970s. After bright colors, cartoonish figures and zany subject matter catch the kids’ attention, get them talking about how Pop art takes a common object and puts it in an unusual context, scene or pattern. Ask them how many figures, such as Donald Duck, they recognize.
Our favorite work for littles: Roy Lichtenstein’s Look Mickey
Bonus: If your little craves interaction, try one of the DMA’s recurring workshops that introduce kids to a specific exhibit using all their senses. Art Babies: Glow Baby for kids up to 2 years, Atruro’s Art & Me for ages 3−5, Toddler Art for ages 2−3and Family Workshops for kids 6−12 run through December with Pop art themes.
Cost: $16 per adult, kids under 11 enter free, workshops cost extra
 
“Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots” at the Dallas Museum of Art
Where: 1717 N. Harwood St., Dallas; 214/922-1200
When: Nov. 20−March 20
Jackson Pollock’s work serves as the ideal introduction to abstract expressionist art. While, at first glance, his iconic drip paintings and paint pouring might seem in the same realm as the finger painting artwork on your fridge, Pollock’s technique and significance can’t be rivaled. Ask kids to connect his lines and figures to find bodies and objects in these black enamel and oil paintings. As the only American venue to exhibit the prestigious “Blind Spots,” this could be you and your kids’ only chance to see these paintings and sculptures in your own backyard.
Our favorite work for littles: "Portrait and a Dream"
Bonus: Pollock-themed kids’ workshops offered in various formats, listed above, will run through March.
Cost: $16 per adult, kids under 11 enter free, workshops cost extra
 
“Polar Obsession: Photographs by Paul Nicklen” at the Irving Arts Center
Where: 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving; 972/252-7558
When: Thru Jan. 31
Whether your kids are aspiring veterinarians, photographers, environmentalists, conservationists or travelers, Paul Nicklen’s photographs speak to kids on many levels. Nicklen brings wild polar animals to life with close-up shots of the world’s iciest ecosystems. Now that’s something you won’t see at the zoo. Do a little homework on polar bears, leopard seals, penguins and narwhals before you go to get the full effect.
Our favorite work for littles: Any images from Nicklen’s underwater shoot with a leopard seal
Bonus: The center’s monthly JumpstART Stories & Art program combines children’s literature and interactive crafts. Hear stories about crawly critters before or after visiting the “Polar Obsession” exhibit during an animal-themed program on Nov. 5.
Cost: Free
 
“Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic” at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Where: 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth; 817/738-9215
When: Thru Jan. 10
If the last dozen portraits you and your kids have been exposed to involve crayon stick figures on construction paper, you’ll drool over Kehinde Wiley’s realistic life-size portraits of African-Americans juxtaposed against ornate floral backgrounds. But this exhibit is more than pretty pictures; Wiley’s work raises issues of class, race and gender. Ask your little art critics how a portrait can influence their perception of its subject. Don’t forget to pick up a Ten Pages Sketchbook at the ticket counter so kids become artists of their own collection while viewing the art.
Our favorite work for littles: "Shantavia Beale II"
Bonus: The Modern’s recurring program for kids 4 and up, Wonderful Wednesdays, offers a docent-led tour and a short craft project based on Wiley’s work on Nov. 11. Drawing from the Collection for Children, designed for ages 5−12, focuses on Wiley’s works on the first Sunday of October, November and December.
Cost: Adults enter for $10. Children’s admission and programs are free.
 
“Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye” at Kimbell Art Museum
Where: 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth; 817/332-8451
When: Nov. 8−Feb. 14
These realistic, yet ordinary, scenes of Paris in the 1870s and 1880s by Gustave Caillebotte introduce kids to the optical effects of light quintessential to the Impressionism movement. This movement, characterized by thin and short paintbrush strokes, is easy for kids to digest as it marries commonplace subject matter with bold and colorful settings. More than 50 Caillebotte paintings on display at the Kimbell will have your kids hungry for Claude Monet and Edouard Manet in no time. Interactive workbooks called Family Gallery Guides get littles flexing their creative muscles by concentrating on age-appropriate details of the artwork. Guides can be picked up at the front desk anytime.
Our favorite work for littles: "Paris Street; Rainy Day"
Bonus: On Nov. 14, little artists can create a collage inspired by Caillebotte at the Kimbell’s recurring Children’s Workshop.
Cost: $18 for adults, $14 for kids 6−11 and free for kids under 6; programs vary
 
“Rossini and Company” at Dallas Opera
Where: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., Dallas; 214/443-1000
When: Nov. 21 and March 13
The Dallas Opera’s new Family Performance Series accommodates families to introduce kids of all ages to arias, overtures and orchestras in performances completed in less than an hour. This medley by 19th century Italian composer Gioachino Rossini reads like a greatest hits album for opera lovers. If taking in a full orchestra and solo performances in the iconic Winspear Opera House doesn’t captivate the kids, listening to Rossini’s most well-known scores from The Barber of Seville and Cinderella will do the trick.
Our favorite aria for littles: “Largo al facrorum,” aka Figaro
Bonus: Season tickets for the 2015−2016 Family Performance Series cost $12 per person and include showings of Rossini and Company, Wolfgang Mozart’s Bastine and Bastinne (Dec. 5 and March 5) and The Billy Goats Gruff (April 16).
Cost: $5 per individual ticket or $12 for season tickets
 
Fancy Nancy: The Musical at Dallas Children’s Theater
Where: 5938 Skillman St., Dallas; 214/978-0110
When: Thru Oct. 25
If your kids aren’t quite ready for Phantom of the Opera, Fancy Nancy can introduce them to the music, songs, lights and outfits of Broadway with a character they already know and love. Not to mention, the moral of this musical will leave your kids with some age-appropriate perspective, which is a fancy word for point of view. The DCT recommends ages 5 and up for this performance, but grown-ups will still be charmed with the intricate costumes, clever lyrics and elaborate sets.
Our favorite song for littles: “On My Team” by Danny Abosch
Bonus: Grab that fuchsia feather boa, sparkly tutu and costume jewelry, because attendees are encouraged to dress in their fanciest fashions. Plus, Nancy and friends will need the help of the audience during this musical.
Cost: Kids’ tickets start at $19. Adult tickets start at $21.
 
Junie B. Jones The Musical at Casa Mañana
Where: 3101 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth; 817/332-2272
When: Oct. 16−Nov. 1
Join the spunky and fearless kindergartner from Barbara Park’s beloved children’s books she takes on a new adventure — the first grade. The musical follows Junie B. as she navigates friendship fallouts, new students, eyeglasses and Top-Secret Personal Beeswax in the ever-scary and ever-thrilling landscape of elementary school. This children’s performance still has a few adult laughs for Mom and Dad.
Our favorite song for littles: “Top-Secret Personal Beeswax” by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich
Bonus: If Junie B. isn’t your jam, School House Rock Live Jr., The Three Little Pigs and Seussical Jr. come to Casa Mañana in 2016.
Cost: Tickets start at $16.

Published October 2015