Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Auckland Art Gallery

It's probably been 8-10 years since I last visited the Auckland Art Gallery. I was vaguely interested a few years ago when there were some painting donated that had recognisable artists attached to them, but then it just slipped my mind.

Today we took 2 classes of 7-9 year olds to explore the gallery. Our focus was on light and colour which is our broad theme for the term. We have our school-wide art exhibition in Term 4 also, so it was a great opportunity to get inspired. The theme for the exhibition is 'Inspiring Artists' so this was the perfect place to go to be inspired!

Boy, have they done a great - no - AWESOME job of revamping the gallery. WOW is the understatement of the decade. From the entrance through to the new sections and off to the old, original and refurbished sections of the gallery, everything has been designed, decorated and deliberately creating to draw your eyes to the glorious assortment of artworks. Our guides were, to be totally honest, outstanding. They were absolutely on the button with their interactions with the kids - sometimes, we know that the education officers can be a little challenged by managing the classes and also gearing their teaching to the right levels. But these educators were fantastic, giving plenty of positive reinforcement along with being firm and strategic with their expectations. They certainly gave a lot of attention to highlighting correct behaviour in the galleries and supporting the children with special learning needs.

The learning centre has been cleverly designed with families and children of all ages in mind. The theme and artist Gazillion Swirl! Te Mahi Toi o Reuben Paterson. The actual session in the learning centre was a fantastic way to start our time in the galleries as it really set the scene for our focus. Everything in the room is geared towards using our sight to explore colour and patterns and the children were totally rapt. The funniest part was when the educator asked if anyone had found anything interactive and one of the boys replied, "Yes, there's a cool X-Box Connect." My boys all nodded enthusiastically, having found and used this already, while the girls looked about in surprise. All of them had failed to see it!

We spent some time looking through the New Zealand section which was outstanding and really captivated the students. There is such a huge range of styles and media so the children had no time to be bored or feel as if they had 'seen it all before'. All in all, it was a trip I would highly recommend to anyone - I can't wait for the weekend to be able to take my own kids!!!

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