Melbourne writer, reader and Managing Editor of Lip Magazine. www.lipmag.com
Published August 26th 2010
When I was five, I took to my mother's lounge room walls with Crayola markers and as much gusto as Michelangelo to his celebrated Sistine Chapel ceiling. I too created a masterpiece but, understandably, mummy wasn't pleased. If only ArtPlay was around back then.
ArtPlay is a civic studio located at Birrarung Marr, just behind Federation Square in Melbourne's CBD, where children and their families can learn the language of art together in a fun and supportive environment. Their mission, and that of the City of Melbourne who support the initiative, is to encourage children to become "creative cultural citizens of the world".
The centre runs upward of 300 workshops, performances and events every year, including simple creative workshops for the young ones and more full-on, extended experiences for older children and their parents. And the activities are incredibly varied.
In June, Monash University Architecture students will construct creative spaces out of cardboard for children; the clowns come out to play in July, where active children will love the Preschooler Circus, Big and Little Circus and Hoola Hoopin' workshops; and in August, it's back to basics with drawing, cutting and collaging.
Or perhaps you'd like to take your tiny one to ArtPlay Bubs, an event especially for parents and their under twos.
ArtPlay's programs cater for children up to the age of 13, and a visit to ArtPlay is a great way to keep young minds occupied (but definitely not mindlessly!) during the school holidays. You can drop in anytime on Wednesday-Friday between 10am and 2pm, or on weekends between noon and 4pm, but it's best to book for workshops. Download a copy of their quarterly program of activities and see what's on offer.
So if you want to keep little crayon-wielding hands and their arty aspirations away from your walls, ArtPlay is the place to go.
Besides, you may even learn a thing or two yourself.