Family programs

Quite a bit of the public programming that the Getty puts on is geared towards families and children. In this post and the next, I’ll discuss some such events that happened this summer.

Family Festival was the first weekend program I worked this summer. It was the feel of the center becoming a giant playground for the day.  The event complemented the exhibition Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth Century Europe and The Lure of Italy: Artist’s Views. The workshops and activities set up therefore had an Italian renaissance vibe running through them. This idea of events complementing current exhibits was something I hadn’t really grasped until I was in this internship and something I will definitely take away with me. It’s a really cool feeling, one of impact and relevance, to be discussing with visitors the event their seeing/taking part in and how it ties into the art/themes happening in the museum. My favourite was an artist who came and set up a gondola photo experience in the outdoor room. Visitors could don props and accessories and then sit in the gondola and get an old timey photo taken. There was also venetian mask crafting, where we saw some really creative designs happening. I was very impressed by the performances of the day; a group from LA Opera and a flamenco dancing troupe. It was great to see children dancing around the courtyard and joining in on stage. This was something that demonstrated how relaxed and friendly I have found the museum, at least in comparison to some in Europe (cough Luxor museum cough) where you really feel on edge going around the galleries the entire time. I think the reasons for this are two fold; the amount of space outdoors (and the weather that means you can enjoy it!) and the welcoming nature of the visitor services and security departments.


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Art Lab: Photo reMix LA was a program I became involved with after a meeting with Rebecca from Education. I worked as an assistant during the program but I was also there in an events capacity to help with set up, breakdown and anything that cropped up during. Art Lab was a collaborative photo collage workshop. People worked with photos of scenes from around Los Angeles, inspired by David Hockney’s work in the exhibition Happy Birthday, Mr. Hockney. It ran from 11am to 3pm on several days throughout August. The artist contracted was called Becca and from what I understand had worked with the Getty education department before. She had two photographers/artists go outside of the city into the desert and take photos inspired by Hockney’s work, particularly Pearblossom Highway. It was hard to envision how the event would work until it was underway and so I was glad to be there on the first day to see how it unfolded. People were responsive from the start, although most hadn’t seen the exhibition yet so we encouraged them to go into the West pavilion and then come back so that they could see the link between the collage and Hockney’s work. We had a real mix of adults and families with children of various ages and it was cool to see people working independently towards a collaborative end result. The days work was put up around the outdoor room perimeter so that we could refer to it when explaining what was going on to visitors and the visitors in turn could gain inspiration. From an events perspective, the main challenge was the set up. We couldn’t really tell how many seats we’d need until the first day had kind of happened, because that kind of workshop hadn’t been done at that location before, so footfall predictions were guestimates. Becca and Rebecca also had to work out how the collage would be displayed; should we start to hang it up on one end while people were still working on the other? how much butcher paper would we get through in one day? would it be enough to cover the two walls? how would it hang it on the plastic? We ended up adding a couple of things;  three chairs on one end of the long tables so parents could sit opposite their kids rather than hanging around behind them. It became a little frustrating that, due to the location, we were catching people at the end or start of their visit, so they weren’t wanting to stop. To try and counteract this we put some extra signs up to raise awareness of the workshop; one big one in the entrance hall and one inside the family room across the courtyard. I didn’t notice at the time because I was busy chatting to visitors and making sure supplies/set up was going well but this experience was incredibly helpful in not just thinking on my feet but expressing my own concerns and ideas to others in a way that helped move the program forward. Lots of conversations and problem solving happened over the days this workshop ran and I think the photos below show the set up better than me trying to explain in words!

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I will discuss Garden Concerts for Kids in the next post!