Feed your Creative Spirits at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston

Posted by Tara, Ziptivity’s Metro Boston Community Ambassador

After weeks of looking at mind-numbing, seemingly endless mountains of dirty snow along our streets, I do believe it is time to treat ourselves to some brain food, with eye candy for dessert. That’s why we’re going to feed our creative spirits this Saturday at the Institute of Contemporary Art’s Playdate: Materials & Meanings.

The ICA Playdate is one of those very rare times when having kids is economically advantageous – on the last Saturday of each month, the ICA encourages development of art appreciation in the future generation of patrons by offering free admission to kids and their adults. I think this is the best deal in the town, even before you add in the terrific art workshops and live performances that are often part of the ICA Playdates.

This month, in concert with Mexican artist Gabriel Kuri’s exhibition, Nobody needs to know the price of your Saab, the ICA has created opportunities for families to rethink our everyday use of “stuff.” In addition to visiting the galleries to take in Kuri’s thought-provoking artwork, you and your kids will have a chance to work on a collage project or a large sculpture, using ordinary materials in unusual ways. Then, starting at 11:30, you’re invited into the ICA’s theater for participatory performances with musician Dave Jamrog and JunkTronic. Dave takes the Three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) to a new level:  According to the ICA’s website, he “finds, plays and samples found sounds, builds electronic instruments from everyday objects, writes original music and creates new re-mixes from familiar and not-so-familiar songs and ideas.”

To get the most out of the Playdate experience, I highly recommend getting there early (when they open at 10am). After you register, you can sign up for one of the art workshops, and then check out the galleries while you are waiting for your workshop time. When the kids start focusing more on actual food than on brain food, fill them up with pastries, sandwiches, or a grilled Panini at the Water Café, where the food is good and the views are awesome.

Other things that are good to know before you go:

You must check large bags or any size backpack. They are very serious about this – I know from personal experience!

The museum doesn’t allow outside food.

Although the gift shop contains many wonderful things, I would recommend steering clear of it. A kid in there is truly akin to a bull in a china shop.

If it is sunny out, it can get very warm in the museum, especially in the entrance, dining and art workshop areas. Wear layers and use the free coat check!

Getting there: If you take the T, prepare to do some walking. The museum does allow strollers, so that might be a good solution. When we drove, we found metered street parking early in the day, but spaces do become scarce quickly. Whether you are taking a train, car, or ferry, check out the museum’s website for directions before you go.  And when you get there, have fun!

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