STORY WRITTEN BY TARA LYNN JOHNSON
For Digital First Media
Emily Schreiner, of Narberth, spent a lot of time at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a kid. Her parents brought her and her siblings to see the priceless works of art and historical artifacts many times as she was growing up in Philadelphia. Now, as the associate curator of education for family and community learning, Schreiner hopes to inspire that same kind of love for art and the museum in local families.
To that end, Schreiner and her team coordinate the annual Art Splash program, which runs from June 30 through Sept. 7 this year. It began in 2012 as a way to encourage families to spend more time at the museum and to help get the next generation interested in art. Last year, more than 35,000 people participated. Schreiner hopes even more will this year.
Art Splash features 3,500 square feet of gallery space designed especially for kids. There also will be gallery tours and imaginative play, classes and workshops, two family festivals, a space called the Splash Studio for art-making activities, an art cart, stroller tours for babies (and their stroller pushers), and Baby Bird playdates (for more ambulatory wee ones).
All activities are inspired by works in the museum’s collection. The focus this year is on how artists have been inspired by nature. New this year: technology meets history as a mobile app inspired by the museum’s book “A is for Art Museum” will help families hunt for art that correlates to each letter of the alphabet.
Schreiner hopes that the program will provide quality creative time during the summer months. It’s a joy for her – she loves working with families and especially with children because of “their lack of inhibition and their enthusiasm,” she said.
She said she has heard kids call it “my museum” and ask when they can come back.
“I love to see how they can so quickly grow to love this place,” she said, just like she did when she was little.
She hopes to inspire kids of all ages (and kids at heart) to enjoy the museum for many reasons. For instance, viewing art and spending time surrounded by the history and the beauty is respite for hectic lives, she said.
“The museum is a safe place away from our fast-paced culture,” she said. “We can lose ourselves in our galleries and our imaginations.”
And art has the power to connect people with each other and the world.
“I love how art can bring people together and the really beautiful conversations strangers can have with each other in a gallery,” she said. “It’s a shared piece of history we can all find ourselves in.”
Schreiner, who has a master’s degree in art history and additional certification in museum studies and museum education, enjoys her career even more because she’s working to ensure that visitors and future generations will love the museum as much as she does. She hopes that her work will help “bring the museum and galleries to life.”
At the very least, she hopes that her work with kids during the summer and the art will make a big splash.
IF YOU GO
What: Art Splash
When: June 30 through Sept. 7
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.
Admission: $20; Seniors (65 & older) $18; Students and children ages 13-18) $14; ages 12 and younger free. First Sunday monthly and Wednesdays after 5 p.m. Pay What You Wish.
Info.: Call (215) 763-8100 or visit http://www.philamuseum.org/artsplash