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Family Day at The Samuel Dorskey Museum of Art

Art Discussion and Workshop.

Visiting the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz has been on my bucket list for a while now. I keep putting off our visit because I worry the exhibits might be too mature for my young kids. I’m not opposed to my children seeing nude paintings, but sometimes galleries located on a college campus caters to a broader audience than just 6-year-old kids. The subject matter may be a little too heavy or political for my kids to understand.  However, this current exhibit is wonderfully family friendly.

Undercurrents: The River as Metaphor/Hudson Valley Artists 2017 runs until July 30th and is absolutely breath-taking. Each piece is designed with some element of the Hudson River in mind, and some pieces contain actual objects and even soil found on its shores.  What I really love about this intimate family-friendly event is that it inspires conversation and varying perspectives. Everyone is encouraged to participate, but if someone doesn’t feel comfortable participating, there is no pressure.  My very outgoing 6-year-old twins felt zero pressure to keep quiet.

Zachary Bowman, Manager of Education and Visitor Experience served as our guide. His energy and enthusiasm made it exiting for kids (and adults) to participate. There were no wrong answers to his questions which is important for everyone to feel confident participating.

My family and I enjoyed every work included in this show. It is all beautifully articulated and displayed. It is thought provoking and captures different aspects of river life.  

After a discussion in the gallery we moved to a classroom down the hall to work on a paper cutting project with Jenney Lee Fowler. Fowler is a local artist and she creates stunning intricate paper cuttings and silhouettes by hand. Her piece, I Swim in This River, is a delicate paper cut out that requires onlookers to wade through the layers of meaning so masterfully crafted with her tiny scissors. 

(Photo credit: SDMA photo of I Swim in This River created by local artist Jenny Lee Fowler).

During the activity Fowler led the group through cutting out a piece that reflects the theme, “How is the river in your hand?” Everyone traced their hand on paper to cut out and pasted on a white back ground. Then everyone used their imagination to fill in the hand print with found objects, drawings, or words. We were introduced to the history of paper cutting art, there were books on display with a variety of samples of paper art and the project itself is simple, yet open to interpretation.

We really enjoyed this experience. The family program is offered one Sunday per month and the schedule is available on the Dorsky Museum website, or click here for more info. Plan to stay for two hours to participate in the talk and the art activity. There is a suggested donation amount of $5 per child under age 18, however, no one will be turned away from participating. The museum schedule can be found here. and with the campus nearly empty due to summer break, take a little time to enjoy the mountain views and maybe picnic near the small pond located within walking distance of the gallery. 

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest. 

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