Do art and children mix? We headed to OPG Second Sundays at the RMG to find out…
OPG Second Sundays at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery run on, you guessed it, the second Sunday of each month, and for two hours, the gallery throws open its doors to families of all shapes and sizes for some hands-on crafty fun.
We arrived at the Halloween Art Party event with three kids, ages nine, eight and four, andfound stations set up throughout the gallery where kids could create different Halloween crafts. Messy stuff was wisely contained in the spacious basement studio (good call, RMG), and none of the crafts were particularly complicated (again, smart move). The volunteers leaders were friendly, the space was bright, and everything was free.
This event was a popular ticket for families, and there were a steady stream of parents and children of all ages coming through the doors. We tried our hand at mask making, tie dye monsters, and painting our own glow-in-the-dark Halloween loot bags, and when we finished, we spent some time in the child-friendly Imagination Station, then took a stroll around the galleries.
But OPG Second Sundays is more than just an afternoon of free crafts.
Art stations are set up throughout the space, with tables and chairs in the middle of galleries, so children sit and create surrounded by the RMG’s latest exhibition. And this is why it’s special: Inviting children to create art inside the galleries themselves speaks volumes to the mandate of the RMG to use the gallery as a community space where all, including babies and children, are accepted and encouraged.
Kids can be messy, drop things, speak loudly, cry, and quickly become overexcited, and it’s easy to simply shuttle them off into a side room to tinker around with crafts while the grown-ups appreciate the art. Bringing them into the galleries allows them to explore their own creativity, but be an active participant in one of Oshawa’s cultural experiences.
It’s the RMG saying to our youngest citizens, “You are welcome here.” And that’s incredibly important.
OPG Second Sundays takes place on the second Sunday of the month at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, from 1 pm to 3 pm. FREE. 72 Queen Street, Oshawa.