March 30, 2010

Heide Art Bubs

Heide Museum of Modern Art
Friday 26th March, 10am - 11.30am

Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen are running a series of events throughout the year aimed at parents and carers with children aged 0 to 6 years.

The session we attended was for their current exhibition - Sunday’s Kitchen: Food and Living at Heide. This exhibition provides an insight into the domestic lives of John and Sunday Reed who settled here in 1935 and transformed the old dairy farm into a creative space for artists such as Sidney Nolan and Charles Blackman. It is particularly focused on the role that Sunday Reed, an avid cook and gardener, played in establishing Heide as a sustainable and vibrant living environment with home-grown produce, seasonal cooking and a communal table. Coinciding with the launch of a book by the same title, it is a really interesting exhibition that brings together some of the couple’s photographs, personal effects and recipes with works from the Heide Museum collection.

The Art Bubs sesssion began with a guided tour of the exhibition but unfortunately I didn’t get to hear much of it. The kids were expected to sit down in a tight space and listen to a story then do a puzzle, but nobody really got their attention from the outset and as a result they showed little interest in either activity. The exhibition space remained open to other visitors during the tour so the guide spoke only to her immediate group and not to those who lingered behind with kids. Heide 1 is a heritage house with artworks at kids level so they are not free to just roam around, and the Sunday’s Kitchen exhibition is of no great interest to them – in fact they would probably prefer the cubism exhibition that is currently showing in the main building.

After the tour we ventured out into the pleasant garden behind Heide 1 for an Easter egg hunt. This had the desired effect of peaking the kids’ interest and after a chocolate treat they were far more cooperative. The hunt was followed by a walk through Sunday’s kitchen garden before heading down to the Sidney Myer Education Centre for morning tea. The kids were entertained with colouring in pages and given fruit and grissini sticks whilst the adults had cake and coffee. The Sidney Myer building was pleasant and well suited to kids and we were able to enjoy our coffee on the baby friendly steps outside whilst the bigger kids explored the gardens.

Overall, this event was disapointing. Despite its potential, it seemed poorly organised and inappropriate for the advertised age group. (In my opinion it's best suited to kids over 3 years of age who will happily sit and do an activity on their own). The children were not engaged and the tone of the event was very formal. I found it surprising that they didn't use the exhibition as a focus when devising the kids activities for the food and living theme would have lent itself well to this. Heide is a lovely venue and this could be a fantastic event if it was better organised and more clearly designed for kids.

The next Art Bubs event is on Friday 21st May for the exhibition Simryn Gill: Gathering. For further information on Heide Art Bubs, visit the Heide website .

1 comment:

  1. We went to a session recently and things have improved a lot! We were lucky in that we had a small group but I thought it was one of the best cultural experiences for little ones that I've been to in Melbourne. The story and activities were engaging and the tone was definitely relaxed, not formal. Try it again!