Although it's been open for quite some time now, I had yet to experience the entire Modern Wing at the Art Institute. When I discovered the first 2 Wednesdays of each month are free to Illinois residents, and that I simultaneously had a free 2nd Wednesday (!), I planned an outing for the girls and their teacher (me!) There was much excitement this morning as we packed Nourit's polka-dotted backpack with, count 'em, 4 drawing pads and two pencil cases stuffed to the gills. They were ready to plagiarize, I mean draw, everything, most especially the 'Bloody Ghost'.
We set off toward the Metra with our umbrellas, backpack, and 2 bags of snacks to be consumed before entering the museum (they won't allow food, even in packed bags, which, incidentally, ended up costing us $22 in other snacks and lunch. So much for the 'free' entry.) We arrived on Michigan Avenue, snickered at the long line by the lions in front of the Art Institute, and walked smugly around the corner to the Modern Wing entrance, where there was not even the hint of a queue.
And we had a wonderful time! Nourit was the tour guide since she'd been there a few more times than I, and we giggled at all the nakedness, ooh'ed at the psychedelic colors, looked sideways at the Picassos, and had fun during the interactive exhibits, like the checker board they could walk on, the groovy gold beads we could walk through (I'm getting some of those for our apartment!), and the candy exhibit, where viewers could eat a piece of wrapped candy from the exhibit. (It was bittersweet, literally. I didn't tell the girls that it was envisioned by a man who died of AIDS, and that eating the candy was symbolically taking a part of this man's body as he lost weight.) Morbidity aside, I was impressed by their unabashed interest in the art.
Unfortunately, we never found the 'Bloody Ghost', although Avi talked about it very loudly throughout the 3 hours we were there. We followed our gallery tour up with a trip to the Education Center, which had a lovely room with a carpeted mountain-y thing that Avi crawled upside down and backward on for quite some time, blocks, puzzles, alphabet foam things, computer games (Nourit's fav), and books galore. Another room featured books and artwork on the alphabet, and another room had hands-on craft making. The best part, though, is that we get to come back - gratuit! Their website offers a yearly educator pass for teachers, including homeschooling parents. It does require documentation, and of course, I didn't have any - Nourit's only in Kindergarten and it's not required in our state for that grade. The woman was kind, though, and took my word for it and issued me the pass. My kids are going to be sooooo art savvy after this year. (Craft savvy is a different thing and a different post. Oh, boy, am I bad at crafts...)
Post Script: Later this afternoon, after Nourit had been outside for 30 minutes while I taught a piano lesson, she learned to ride her bike. In less than an hour combined without training wheels, she's riding in circles and popping wheelies. I love this kid - once she got the pooping thing down, everything else came easy. Stopping her thumb sucking addiction, simple addition, and now bike riding.