I took the day off, yesterday. My brain is mushy from writing white papers on HR, and I needed a break from the internet. So I went to the North Carolina Museum of Art. It’s not too far from my house. There’s a beautiful running path that crisscrosses through the campus. The greenway is full of sculptures and interactive art.
I don’t know where you live, but springtime in Raleigh is warm and humid. I cooled down after my run by touring the NCMA’s permanent collection, which includes everything from Baroque paintings to abstract canvases to a Rodin sculpture garden.
It’s a real gem of a museum, and it’s free.
I was staring at a massive installation called Raqqa II by Frank Stella when a docent warned me, “Here come the third graders.”
I thought — I’m not busy. Let’s see what happens.
It turns out, abstract art is the best art when you’re eight years old. Whatever you think it is, you’re right. There are no wrong answers. Kids get restless while looking at a bunch of dark-toned Flemish paintings, but abstract art is much more accessible and enjoyable.
“What do you think that is?”
“A rainbow swimming pool.”
It went on for ten minutes, and I was captivated. Watching kids interact with art just made my day. I’ve always believed that if you expose your children to art — especially consumable art with few rules — it offers a cognitive structure to help them tackle more challenging concepts and ideas as they get older.
Also, it gives your kids a little depth. Trust me, they need it.
So expose your kids to art, give them a slight advantage in the world, and create future adults who have something interesting to say. You can do this without spending any money and while killing a humid afternoon indoors!