Friday, 1 August 2008

Green Drops and Moonsquirters: welcome to the world of the under 7's

'Green Drops and Moonsquirters; the utterly imaginative world of Lauren Child' opened at the Manchester Art Gallery in June.

Lauren Child is an artist best know for children's illustrations and books. Anyone who keeps pace with popular culture in the world of preschoolers will know that one of Lauren's creations; Charlie and Lola, have been a runaway success. Other characters include the lovable Pesky Rat and Clarice Bean. Lauren's career started by painting spots for Damien Hurst until her own books and artwork took off enough to support her.

Green Drops and Moonsquirters is not just a gallery exhibition for children; it's truly for families. Whatever your age, you just can't help yourself but play in this environment. Collaborative play is a key success of this exhibition and it is truly an excellent example of family learning at its best. It's accessible approach has created a friendly welcoming environment where there are no questions in your head like 'Am I allowed to touch this?', 'Is it ok to talk in here?'.

It is obvious that the exhibition designers have invested time in understanding their audience and developed a coherent and relevant theme. The result is a memorable, immersive and inspiring learning environment for family visitors. It's a rare occasion when a heritage venue gets all the ingredients for the perfect visitor experience in place but Green Drops and Moonsquirters is a definite contender.

The venue as a whole has excellent family friendly facilities and a welcoming tone to its literature. Events accompanying the exhibition include 'I absolutely MUST do dancing now' and 'I really do extremely like sticking things'. Manchester Art Gallery have their audience pegged without sounding patronising or dull. It offers a complete visitor experience including a cafe where you can actually sample the pink milk, green drops and moonsquirters consumed by your favourite characters. And of course there's the opportunity to complete the visit by buying one of Lauren's books in the gift shop.

I think this gem of an exhibition should be on everyone's 'to-do' list this summer.

Also check out 'Neverland: Rediscovering child art' at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. A family focussed exhibition that aims to stimulate the minds of art loving parents as well as their children.

Seen anything family friendly recently?

A few useful links:

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