Last Saturday, I convinced the future Mr. EmGee (more on that in some later posts) to venture out to the wonderful Wadsworth Atheneum for Last Saturdays for Families. Once a month, admission is free between 10am and 1pm, and families can take part in hands-on activities, tours geared towards children and activities like live music, movies and dancing.
This month, for the second time in recent months, William Wegman visited with one of his famous Weimaraners. He signed books in Morgan Great Hall, let a lot of very excited kids (and adults) pet his incredibly patient dog Bobbin and read from one of his books in the theater. Later in the afternoon, families returned to the theater to watch Wegman’s short film “Alphabet Soup,” which featured four of his dogs forming the letters of the alphabet, “making” a soup out of items representing each letter and, of course, dressing up as queens and kings and other assorted characters. Children made dog puppets in Avery Court while live music was being played. Docents lead tours of the art galleries focusing on the animals in the artwork (one docent was assisted by a raccoon puppet on her hand).
These Saturdays (which, mark your calendars, will change to Second Saturdays starting next month) are a great example of what the Wadsworth is doing right (other examples include its Art After Hours/First Thursdays and its recent foray into becoming a concert venue). Free admission encourages people who may not usually visit museums to check it out. The kid-centered activities and tours encourage children to appreciate art. And some of the themes have great appeal to adults — I’m sure I’m not the only adult who loved Wegman’s calendars and books growing up. Seeing him in person and meeting one of his dogs made me feel like a kid again.
If you’re headed to the museum, make sure to check out the contemporary art display. There’s a beautiful painting by Salvador Dali on display in Avery Court titled “Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach.” I could stare at that painting for hours. In fact, I was so engrossed in the painting that I almost missed a very short, very small wedding that was taking place in the same room, while the kids created puppets and a music performance was in full swing. Congrats to the happy couple!