Over the weekend we were invited to take part in a fabulous blogger event, celebrating the wonderful family arts venues in Nottingham. Today I’m sharing some of the brilliant things we got up to, hope it inspires you!
The event was hosted by Family Arts Network Nottingham, to celebrate the launch of the Get Creative Family Arts Festival and showcase the family events and activities Nottingham’s arts and culture organisations have to offer.
We started off with a backstage tour of Nottingham Theatre Royal. The theatre hosts lots of family shows and we’ve been to a fair few, but having the opportunity to step behind the scenes was something else.
The Theatre Royal is such a beautiful old venue with a real sense of history, being the only people in there was just thrilling. The children learned about acoustics, lighting, set building and props and we all got the chance to be on-stage – so exciting!
Next stop was Nottingham Central Library for story time and some lovely imaginative crafts. The kids got busy making masks and creating graphic novels with the help of the library staff, so many imaginative ideas were flowing here.
Nottingham libraries run a great programme of events for children and families including free activities during school holidays, check out the website for more details.
We then headed to Nottingham Contemporary art gallery. Over lunch the kids were kept entertained by the staff from Nottingham Castle & Museums, apparently it’s hot and heavy work being a knight…
After lunch we experienced the Sun Ra exhibition, which is part of the ‘Alien Encounters’ exhibition at the gallery. This was totally unlike anything we’ve ever done as a family before: dressed in yellow plastic macs in a yellow room full of dangling headphones, we listened to pieces of music and drew what they made us feel like. Completely bonkers and completely brilliant.
After our yellow experience we headed to one of the family rooms at the gallery to create wall art on a big scale.
I love how the Contemporary is so inclusive for families, art galleries aren’t your typical family venue but there really is plenty here for a whole day out. Nottingham Contemporary runs regular family events in school holidays as well as Play & Learn activities every weekend, they also loan out fab explorer packs full of activities and ideas to bring the exhibitions to life for younger visitors.
After a quick trip on the new tramline, our final stop on our arts tour was Nottingham Lakeside Arts. There was another warm welcome and the chance to get messy with clay after being inspired by Anna Colette Hunt’s ‘swarm’ exhibition.
Adults and kids alike really got stuck in here, there’s something about creating with clay that’s impossible to resist – we took home our own mini swarm of ten creatures!
Lakeside also has a regular programme of family events, including sensory sessions for very young children and art investigator bags to accompany a family visit to the exhibitions.
Our family arts day was full-on, inspiring, fun and so creative, the kids loved every minute of it. It was also a bit of a wake-up call to all the wonderful resources we have right on our doorstep. I think when you’ve lived somewhere for a long time it’s easy to take for granted your local venues and attractions and to only make use of them when people visit you, there’s no reason why it has to be this way though. Nottingham’s arts venues really are family-friendly and there’s so much variety of age-appropriate things to see and do, many of which are free or really low-cost. We’ve certainly been inspired to make the most of our local arts venues, I hope we’ve inspired you to do the same.
Many thanks to Family Arts Network Nottingham for hosting us.