Yesterday the boys and I had the chance to visit the member preview of the Matisse exhibition at the IMA. I love the art museum, but I always have a wave on anxiety walking in with my two little boys. In the last year or two, the IMA has really worked hard to ease those feelings. They have added many programs and activities for the kids, and I just generally get the impression that the staff and volunteers are happy to see kids.

The Matisse exhibition is no exception. When we checked in and got our tickets, the boys were given activity guides full of information about Matisse and drawings and such to complete at home. We walked in to the exhibition and were met by a docent who explained to the kids that the first thing you see is a film of Matisse drawing his grandson (what a great way for kids to relate to the artist right from the beginning!). We walked around the rooms admiring Matisse’s use of color and how his style changed over the years. The last room in the exhibition is devoted to children’s art work inspired by Matisse. The IMA held a contest for school kids to submit works of visual or written art. Unfortunately I didn’t find out about this contest until the day before the submission deadline, but we have two friends whose work in on display, and it was so cool to see their work as well as that of all the other kids!

IMG_6403Outside of the exhibition is a digital art studio where kids (and adults) can sit at iPads and create art inspired by Matisse. The work can then be submitted to the IMA site where it will be showcased for all the world to see and vote on here. The monthly winners are then also displayed in the Inspired by Matisse room.

This is a great exhibition. The kids were worn out before we visited due to an earlier field trip, so we didn’t get a chance to really take it all in. We’re planning on visiting at least a couple more times before it leaves.

Today is another member preview day, the exhibition opens to the general public tomorrow (Sunday, Oct. 13). Tickets for Matisse, Life in Color are $18 for adults, $10 for children, free for ages 6 and under. BUT, it is free for members. IMA membership has so many perks. You get to see the new exhibitions early, get in free to the paid special exhibitions, receive discounts in the gift shop as well as on tickets to Summer Nights, the Toby, and other special activities, and you get free parking in the paid lot. You can find out more information on the website here, or just visit the front desk of the museum.