Are you a LEGO enthusiast? Does your child have an unconventional view of art? Then The Art of the Brick, created by artist Nathan Sawaya, is the perfect exhibit to visit starting February 28th until September 7th. This exhibit features more than 100 works of art created from over one million LEGO bricks. Not only will children be fascinated, so will adults.
I was there as Museum Mamas, a mom duo that focuses on educating families on the importance of museums and encouraging them to visit often to promote art education. Upon entering I was amazed at what I saw, famous art masterpieces remodeled using a new medium, the LEGO brick. Some of our favorites included Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. My three year old was also excited and voluntarily asking what each piece was called which made me excited because this is one way we expose our children to art education. As we continued to the other rooms, we saw original pieces such as a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton made from 80,000 LEGO bricks (my son’s favorite), to a giant LEGO skull.
As I walked through this exhibit, the tiny brick I once knew only as a building toy, became more than what I could have imagined. The rich vibrant colors of these bricks and precision placement created wonderful pieces of art. As a child, I conformed to societal limitations of what is considered art and my imagination was cut short. But as I walked through this exhibit during the media preview day, I kept thinking about my five year old who has a great imagination and his creativity a strength. I realized that I have to bring him back to see Nathan Sawaya’s work because this is one way I can encourage my son to believe that his imagination and creativity matters in this world and to challenge societal norms.
Then, we enter the Science of the Brick gallery which features nine activity stations that allow us to interact with LEGOS and Duplo bricks in different ways. These building challenges include: Art and Architecture, Hidden Hands, Describe it, The Floor is Lava, Six Bricks, LEGO Drag Race and Free Play. These are great learning activities for our littles because they allow them to work on skills such as recreating by sight, mental mapping, problem solving, communication, cause and effect, and fine-motor. The kids loved racing their cars, and figuring out how to build something using six bricks.
Do Not Touch the Art Game: As a toddler mom, I had to get creative and I am about to share the best tip that worked for us! My three year old wanted to touch the pieces. In the museum world, this is a no-go unless specified otherwise. I mean I don’t blame him, I wanted to use my sense of touch to process this work too. So I had to quickly figure out what we were going to do to avoid this temptation. Scattered across the floor in this exhibit are electrical plugs. They are covered and are in the shape of a circle. If you ask me, I would jokingly say that the pieces were purposely placed so that our kids can play the “stand on the circle game.” The minute I told him that we have to find the circle, stand on it, and see the art from there, he was sold on the idea. From then on he was happy to find circles on our way to the piece or room and we resumed our visit and he continued to ask me to name the pieces.
Talk About It: I believe that we can talk about art with toddlers. This exhibit allows for a language rich environment. For example, in the Human Condition room, you can easily talk about shapes, colors and body parts. Throughout the exhibit you can count how many pieces are in one room, discuss emotions, height, and ask questions. I wonder how many bricks it took to build this one? What colors do you see? Does this look like a happy or sad face? Which piece is the biggest here. You can literally interact with each piece that will allow them to make sense of the work and increase interest.
Tickets: You can get tickets via the California Science Center website which will grant you access to the rest of the science center exhibits. The admission price ranges from $12.75 (child) to $19.75 (adults), costs are extra to add IMAX. Discounted tickets are available for members students, seniors and groups.
Stroller Parking: The exhibit is located on the 3rd floor and there is an escalator and elevator directly in front of it. The exhibit is spacious enough to stroll through it.
Parking: Parking fee is $12 and grants to access to all of Exposition Park.
Food: Is not allowed within the exhibit but there are benches nearby to snack before or after entering.
Restrooms: Are easily accessible and located throughout the Science Center.
Post Exhibit: Learn more about Nathan Sawaya’s work by checking out his art book. Give your child some LEGOS and let them explore what they can create. I always love providing some additional enriching activities at home so we can talk about what we just experienced.