Houston Community News >> Family Day at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston

8/21/2007 Houston —With the support of Target, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is enhancing its Family Day program beginning this fall by offering more activities, more time to participate, and free museum admission for everyone every first Sunday of the month. The MFAH kicks off Target Free First Sundays on September 2, 2007 with “Stories, Myths and Legends in Art,” featuring art-making, music, costumed dancers, and movies in the Audrey Jones Beck and Caroline Wiess Law buildings from 1-5 p.m.

Each Free First Sunday offers an array of art workshops and artist demonstrations, family films, story stops, musical and dance performances, and refreshments. Children are encouraged to collect a sticker at each activity to put on their First Sunday Map, which can be turned in at the end of the day for a special gift.

“With the generous collaboration of Target, the museum can now provide a lively learning experience to an even broader audience,” said Peter C. Marzio, MFAH director. “This partnership builds on the education department’s ongoing efforts to make the museum an interactive family destination and the museum’s overall goal of fostering a lifelong interest in art.”

“At Target, we believe that exposure to the arts helps build strong communities and enrich the culture in which we grow and thrive,” said Laysha Ward, vice president, community relations, Target. “For this reason, we are proud to partner with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, on Target Free First Sundays, where area families can experience the arts and participate in family-friendly programming and activities together.”

Target gives back more than $3 million each week to strengthen families and communities across the country with a focus on education, the arts, social services, and other vital community partnerships. A mainstay of Target’s community commitment is the support of visual art, music, dance, independent film, and design programs. At the heart of Target’s support of the arts are free days, reduced-admission programs, and touring programs, making arts accessible for all. Target sponsors programs of all sizes, from film festivals and art exhibitions, to music and dance performances and partnerships with museums like the MFAH, design schools and art educators, all of which collectively work to bring art to local communities.

Activities for the September 2 Family Day explore the mythological and heroic figures that can be found in artworks at the MFAH and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Maps and information will be available at welcome tables in the lobbies of each building and staff will be on hand to guide visitors to Family Day activity sites.

Art Activities
Houston artists Armando Rodriguez and Laura López Cano will demonstrate monotype print-making techniques and gourd painting, respectively, in ongoing demonstrations from 1-5 p.m. in the Beck Building. Those attending may try the techniques for themselves.

Six drop-in art-making workshops are planned from 1-5 p.m. Artist guidance and all materials will be provided. In the Law Building, the topics are:
· face painting
· sketching in the galleries of Pre-Columbian art
· making colorful headdresses such as those worn by heroes in Mayan legend or by the Incan royal elite
· creating stories in relief from clay inspired by the wall panels and ceramic vessels of ancient Pre-Columbian cultures

In the Beck Building, the workshops are:
· sketching superheroes
· constructing a picture book using postcards of works of art gathered from the MFAH galleries

A Storytime Area will be situated in the European galleries on the second floor of the Beck Building all afternoon. Adults and children can read books themselves, or listen to a museum storyteller read art-related picture books at 2, 2:30, 3, and 3:30 p.m.

Another quiet activity will be provided in Beck Gallery 220 where Camille Corot’s Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld (1861) is on view. The artist painted the tragic Greek myth at a time when the opera Orfeo ed Euridice was popular. Recorded music from the opera will be played in the galleries throughout the afternoon and an artist will be present at the top of each hour to engage visitors in a discussion about the music and the art.

MECA’s Ballet Folklorico and acclaimed student Mariachi ensemble will lead a procession of costumed dancers from the lobby of the Law Building through the Turrell Tunnel and then upstairs and outdoors to the main entrance of the Beck Building. There, Ballet Folklorico will present folk dances drawn from various regions of Mexico and the Mariachi group will sing about tragic love stories. The procession and performances run from 1:30-4 p.m.

Family Flicks
The MFAH film department’s monthly Family Flick becomes a regular component of Family Day beginning September 2. For the inauguration of Target Free First Sundays, the Family Flick is Visiones: Latino Art and Culture, a collection of three short films that will run continuously from 2 to 4 p.m. in the museum’s Brown Auditorium Theater on the lower level of the Law Building.

Hours and Admission
The Audrey Jones Beck Building is at 5601 Main Street. Hours are Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; and Sunday, 12:15–7 p.m. The museum is closed on Monday, except for holidays. Admission to this exhibition is included with general admission to the museum. General admission is $7 for adults and $3.50 for children 6-18, students, and senior adults (65+); admission is free for children 5 and under. Admission is free on Thursday, courtesy of Shell Oil Company Foundation. Admission is free on Saturday and Sunday for children 18 and under with a Houston Public Library Power Card or any other library card. Admission is free, courtesy of Target, the first Sunday of each month.

MFAH Parking
The museum’s parking garage is in the MFAH Visitors Center, located at 5600 Fannin Street at Binz Street (entrance on Binz). Free parking is available in two lots on Main Street, at Bissonnet and at Oakdale.

Cafe Express-Museum
Cafe Express-Museum offers convenient dining in the Beck Building of the MFAH. Hours are Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

MFAH Collections
Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is the largest art museum in America south of Chicago, west of Washington, D.C., and east of Los Angeles. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers more than 56,000 works and embraces the art of antiquity to the present. Featured are the finest artistic examples of the major civilizations of Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Africa. Italian Renaissance paintings, French Impressionist works, photographs, American and European decorative arts, African and Pre-Columbian gold, American art, and European and American paintings and sculpture from post-1945 are particularly strong holdings. Recent additions to the collections include Rembrandt van Rijn’s Portrait of a Young Woman (1633), the Heiting Collection of Photography, a major suite of Gerhard Richter paintings, an array of important works by Jasper Johns, a rare, second-century Hellenistic bronze Head of Poseidon/Antigonos Doson, major canvases by 19th-century painters Gustave Courbet and J.M.W. Turner, distinguished work by the leading 20th and 21st century Latin American artists, and now The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art.

MFAH Campus
The MFAH collections are presented in six locations that make up the institutional complex. Together, these facilities provide a total of 300,000 square feet of space dedicated to the display of art. The MFAH comprises:

· Two major museum buildings: the Caroline Wiess Law Building, designed by Mies van der Rohe, and the Audrey Jones Beck Building, designed by Rafael Moneo
· Two facilities for the Glassell School of Art: one with studio spaces for children and another with studio spaces for adults
· Two house museums that exhibit decorative arts: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens features American works, Rienzi features European works
· The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, created by Isamu Noguchi

Complementing the public exhibition spaces is a major on-site conservation center where artworks are conserved prior to presentation.  

For information, the public may call 713-639-7300, or visit www.mfah.org . For information in Spanish, call 713-639-7379. TDD/TYY for the hearing impaired, call 713-639-7390. For membership information, call 713-639-7550 or email membership@mfah.org .