Art in the Park / the New Art Festival

by Shawna This coming weekend is one of my favourite events of the year: Art in the Park / the New Art Festival in the Glebe.  This year, for the first time, I’m going to be one of the artists, but in years past I’ve brought my kids down to visit friends who were participating.  In fact, the very first weekend of Harris’s life, two days after coming home from the hospital, I gingerly made my way across the grass to settle into a lawn chair for a chat at Marida’s booth to show off my new baby. 

There are always things for kids of all ages at this show: in addition to the art to look at, which is colourful and diverse, we have watched puppet theatre shows, nibbled on locally-produced food, and fed the fish in Patterson’s Creek.  That being said, you’ll have to keep a few things in mind if you’re bringing small kids:

  • Kids have shorter attention spans so, unless you’re very lucky, you won’t be able to just linger where and when you’d like to and absorb the art or engage the artists in a lot of conversation.  It’s not unusual for me to go twice – once with my kids and once without them.
  • You’ll have to be vigilant about enforcing the “look with your eyes, not with your hands” rule unless it’s hands-on art.  In the past there have been fabulous musical metal sculptures that kids are encouraged to interact with, but those booths are the exception rather than the rule.
  • It can get hot and crowded so bringing hats and sunblock is a must; snacks and drinks can be bought there but it would be more frugal to bring your own.  If you have a stroller negotiating the crowds might get tricky, but may have that extra toting power to even bring a blanket to spread under a tree in an out-of-the-way spot for a picnic.

I love exposing my kids to art, and this is a very family-friendly, low-key way to do it.  There’s no admission and you don’t have to worry about them making noise like you would at the National Art Gallery.  And now that my daughter Sage is five and a big fan of making art of her own, I think she’ll get even more out of it when her father brings her down to visit my booth.  Feel free to stop on by yourself – the festival is bounded by Bank, Patterson, O’Connor and Glebe, and I’ll be at 23 North Pathway all weekend!

Shawna is mom to 5-year-old Sage and 3-years-old-this-Friday Harris. She has been writing online since 2003, and her latest project is her photography business. Her son hasn't missed a Glebe Art In The Park in his entire life.