I first started working in the Boone Children’s Gallery several years ago when it was located in LACMA West. The theme of the gallery at the time was Construct, offering the experience of understanding construction, recycling, building, and city planning. It was a big hit: regulars and locals would come daily and weekly to work in our "free art area," which really drew the crowds. Kids would line up to paint; it was by far one of the most popular activities we had.
With the Boone Gallery’s change of location a few months ago—it’s now adjacent to the Korean galleries inside the Hammer Building—so too did its theme change. I was thrilled to see that the new theme represented and honored the traditions of Korean art by focusing mainly on brush painting. Even more thrilling was finding that the change in venue would also bring about a whole new type of visitor—not just the very young but the young at heart!
What could possibly bring young and old alike together? The simple art of painting. We have teens that come to work on school projects after school, adult artists who stop by to pick up techniques from facilitators, weekly regulars who come to learn particular brush strokes and get demos, and professional painters who leave us pieces to learn from.
All the activities in the gallery are focused around Korean brush painting or crafts related to the Korean arts, and the traditional music that plays in the background really sets a tone. There are lots of children’s books that one can look at to get inspiration and a wall display of art donated by visitors that changes regularly so as to help conjure ideas and techniques. It's such an irresistible space that passersby on their way to exhibitions seem to stop by to do “just one quick painting.”
The Boone has always been a place where families can spend time together and learn along the way. It’s nice to see that all ages groups can interact, enjoy each other, learn from one another, and become a community family in that sense.