Best Family Art Outing (2003)
Gateway Gallery, Dallas Museum of Art
If public schools paid one-tenth the attention to arts education that the Dallas Museum of Art does, the world would be a better place. Education is at least half of the DMA's mission, and programming for children, with families encouraged to participate, is plentiful and of exceptional quality. The museum's Gateway Gallery is the focal point for young children and parents to learn about art--not only the stuff in the museum's collections but work by local artists who lead free sketching activities, and, of course, hands-on work by the kids themselves in the Gateway Gallery studios. The DMA's dedicated kids space is interactive with puzzles, books, rubbings and crayons, continuously staffed with volunteers and professionals alike. Family art classes are offered, and the summer season is filled with "Children's Storytime" and "Family Film" events. Free weekend programming called "Family Days" includes multiple hands-on art activities, treasure hunts, live music and dance performances and a host of cultural entertainment. DMA educators are quick to remind you that arts education isn't merely about drawing or painting; children develop conceptual thinking, problem-solving, hand-eye coordination, communication, fine motor development, history knowledge and visual skills through art exploration.