NORMAN — By Caitlin Schudalla
The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art opens its doors to members of all ages with interactive programs and activities throughout the year, but even among a plethora of educational themes and age groups, Family Days stand out as a special occasion for adults and their children.
“We have a lot of students visit the museum on school trips but this is an opportunity for school-aged children to visit with their parents and siblings, feel ownership of the museum and show family members what they learn here,” FJJMA Curator of School and Family Programs Karen McWilliams said.
The museum’s next Family Day is 1-4 p.m. May 19 and centers on the museum’s current exhibition “Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy.” Family Day is free of charge.
Hands-on art activities inspired by works in the collection will be the main attraction for younger guests, and provided printed gallery guides for parents and older children will offer insight on works’ history.
“We want to make the collection accessible,” McWilliams said. “Looking at modern art itself we intend to make it fun for the kids to look at how artists experiment with new styles.”
“Art Interrupted” is a collection of modernist paintings from 1940s American artists, intended to showcase American contemporary talent fostered by freedom of speech. Driven by an anti-Communist agenda, the project was halted when President Harry S. Truman and the U.S. Congress deemed it “un-American.”
“A lot of the information in this collection is political and adult-oriented but the idea is to show off what was cutting edge art at that time,” McWilliams said. “These works may not look shocking to us today, but this was very cutting edge for its day and documents American artists really getting into abstract art and trying new material for the first time.”