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Filtering by Category: Children's Activities

A Family-Friendly Guide to New York's Art Gallery Scene

Jordan Rhodes

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By Katharine Earnhardt

The New York gallery scene is one of the best in the world, but it's also SUPER intimidating; there are so many options that aren't always apparent or welcoming, and figuring out a route that's family friendly (i.e. near some snacks) is so tricky.  As the Founder of Mason Lane, a Brooklyn-based art advisory that styles walls nationwide, I'm into art and efficiency, and as a fellow mama I'm always all about family-friendly anything. SO, I wanted to share some ways to approach the New York gallery scene and have your kids enjoy the ride with you.  

 First, some basics:

1. Don't sweat. Galleries can be quiet, stark, and echo-y, and if your kids come in not bathed and making noise, that's OK. The gallery model is a retail one - people come in and out all the time. Some buy and some don't, and despite the moderately awkward and unwelcoming set up, it's totally fine to pop in, make noise, and take pics. 

2. Ask questions. Galleries will always have a staff member and some reading materials at the front desk. Depending on the gallery, it could be a 22 year old receptionist OR the owner. Either way, ask that person to tell you about the show. The answers you get will likely be much more informative and fulfilling than any marketing collateral that you grabbed and will likely never read. 

3. The Two Rules. No touching, and no wet, dripping foods are really the only two rules to follow in the gallery. The second issue is under your control, and the first is straight forward. I do, however, recommend taking snacks on any gallery hop, and Cheerios in those no-spill containers are an all-around win.  

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Next, the gallery hop

The Lower East Side is a great place to take kids and enjoy some art. The galleries are small and manageable, they lack pretension (in general), and there's a wide variety of artworks that would be amusing to people big and small.  Plus, there are retail shops and restaurants everywhere (unlike in the Chelsea gallery district), so taking a break is easy and encouraged. Here's a recommended route: 

1. Rachel Uffner Gallery - A contemporary art gallery, representing an impressive collection of emerging to mid-career artists that are gaining recognition on an international level. 

2. Anastasia Photo - 143 Ludlow Street. One of the city's only true documentary photography galleries that has branched out into mixed media works including collage and painting.

3. Denny Gallery - 261 Broome Street. Specializing in emerging artists that produce compelling, beautiful pieces that are engaged with contemporary issues, materials and technologies.

4, McKenzie Fine Art -55 Orchard Street. A Sizable gallery space showing mid-career artists who work in painting, drawing, and sculpture.

5. Gavin Brown Enterprise - 291 Grand Street. Known for edgy emerging art. 

6. Nathalie Karg Gallery - 291 Grand Street. Showing a colorful mix of abstract contemporary art across various media

7. Canada - 333 Broome Street - One of the most established and largest galleries on the Lower East Side, representing artists with a gritty New York aesthetic

For more on Mason Lane Art Advisory head to www.masonlaneart.com or check out their Instagram at @masonlane_art

Purple Dragon: Private Children's Club in London

Jordan Rhodes

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It's always fun to see guest bloggers on websites, and I'm excited that my first one is reporting from London, my favorite city. Rebecca Thomson moved there in 2010 to pursue her Master's in Contemporary Design from Sotheby's Institute of Art. After working in a London gallery for four years, she is now launching a children's bedding company (I am so excited!) alongside business partner Clara Sheppard, with whom she attended Sotheby's. She and her husband Ben, who owns a bicycle company and a distribution company, live in Wimbledon with their 4 year old daughter Georgia Isabel, and 1 year old daughter Elizabeth Emmet. Today, Rebecca talks about one of her favorite places to take them...

When I moved from Virginia to London 6 years ago, the smaller living spaces and lack of giant backyards wasn't a major concern of mine. Finding the perfect (albeit it tiny) flat in the cutest neighborhood, exploring the plethora of pubs, and going to the newest exhibitions were at the top of my list instead. Fast forward to April 2014 when my daughter Georgia was born, and this all changed!

London has no shortage of beautiful parks, and we are lucky enough to have one of my personal favorites (Wimbledon Common) on our doorstep. But with all the highs of living in what I consider to be the best city in the world comes its biggest and most infamous low: the weather. What was I going to do with my "highly-spirited" 2 year old that loves to run, jump, and be downright WILD during the long winter months and rainy spring days when playing outside just wasn't an option? (To put things into perspective, my Georgie is the child that tries to climb into the shark tanks at the London Aquarium and doesn't think twice about attempting to slide down the 5 flight railing in Knightsbridge tube station.)

Lucky for us, Purple Dragon isn't too far and has been the ultimate lifesaver. Here she can do all of those things within the comforts of Central London- minus the shark tanks- although they do have an aquarium! The Art Room seems to be her personal favorite (she gets it from her Mama!) but other days she can be found jumping on the giant trampoline, playing in the ballpits, or sharing a fresh pasta bolognese with her sister and friends in the restaurant. Added bonus: there's even a full bar menu for the parents to enjoy while their littles are swinging from the rafters. It's a win-win.

For children we’re a place of limitless opportunity, somewhere to roam and have choice, to discover and create, to laugh and learn. State of the art facilities for music, dance, art, design, cooking, sport and imaginative play, which are brought to life by our highly trained play buddies. Fun with a learning by-product. - Purple Dragon
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Purple Dragon is a private member's club for children located in Chelsea, West London. They offer full time, part time, and out of town memberships. Price on Application. For more information, please contact hq@purpledragonplay.com

Photos by Rebecca Thomson