Art exhibits don’t merely have adult appeal. Kids can find something to enjoy if a show is geared to a specific interest or age. No matter whether a youngster likes to read, draw, create something or enjoys photography or history, there is likely to be an art exhibit in the Chicago area that would appeal to young or older children. In addition, some of the best art shows for kids may be in places not on a family’s radar such as the following five exhibits.
The Art Of Dr. Seuss Gallery
Water Tower Place
835 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Youngsters can see such old friends as Sam from “Green Eggs and Ham” and the impish Cat from “Cat in the Hat” on the second floor of Water Tower Place at the Art of Dr. Seuss Gallery, opened late spring of 2014. Lining the walls are serigraphs, limited edition prints and fantastical animal head sculptures by Theodor Seuss Geisel, known to children around the world as Dr. Seuss. They will even see crazy and unfamiliar wildlife creatures the “Kangaroo Bird” and the “Goo-Goo Eyed Tasmanian Wolfhast” in the “Unorthodox Taxidermy” section. The characters have real horns and beaks from animals that died because Geisel could obtain them from his dad, a superintendent of parks in Massachusetts that included a zoo. The gallery is permanent but exhibit items change as some are sold.
National Hellenic Museum
333 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60661
Date: Anticipated opening Oct. 10, 2014, no closing date
Although called “Monsters,” the exhibit would not be scary except to tots who also are afraid of Disneyland’s life-sized characters. The show depicts Greek mythological creatures in creative, black and red designed graffiti and funny, large and small sculptures. Some monsters are invisible until seen with an app or at an interactive station. Developed by Beetroot Design Group, Thessaloniki, Greece, the show has been traveling since it opened at the Benaki Museum, Athens in 2012. Youngsters may want to read or research Greek creatures before coming to see if they can identify some of the monsters at the exhibit. However, the show is a great chance to visit the largest Greek museum outside of Greece to see ancient ceramics, Greek costumes and other artifacts.
“Hebru Brantley: Parade Day Rain”
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602
Date: Through Sept. 23, 2014
Families should try to see “Parade Day Rain” by Hebru Brantley, a nationally known artist from Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, while the exhibit is at the Chicago Cultural Center. Youngsters will be fascinated by Brantley’s Japanese anime-style life-sized sculptures, murals and cartoon strips. His characters, including his “flyboys” and girls, have taken over the Sidney Yates Gallery on the Cultural Center’s fourth floor. Brantley’s cartoon stories mix fantasy with his and his peers’ experiences.
Related: Best Permanent Exhibits In Chicago
“MCA DNA Alexander Calder”
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Date: Through May 10, 2015
Children have likely tried in art class to make a mobile of pieces connected by wire similar to the wonderful works by Alexander Calder. They also may have seen stationary works called “stabiles” by Calder that were fanciful sculptures such as Chicago’s “Flamingo” piece at the Federal Plaza on Adams Street. To see a full exhibit of Calder’s colorful mobiles, stabiles and works on paper, visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The museum has pulled from its own excellent collection to mount the current exhibit, thus its “MCA DNA” title. Kids will particularly like his “Chat-Mobile,” a roughly two-foot high, black and orange-painted metal mobile.
“The President’s Photographer: 50 Years Inside The Oval Office”
Lake County Discovery Museum
27277 N. Forest Preserve Road
Wauconda, IL 60084
Date: Sept. 13, 2014 – Jan. 11, 2015
Put together by the National Geographic Society and its Emmy Documentary Award-winner John Bredar, “The President’s Photographer” exhibit offers an inside peek at White House residents as snapped by their photographers. The show will give elementary through high school students several talking points for their fall semester and a public and private view of history. For more National Geographic information, click here.
Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.