“Art can be much closer to them”
Reflections on PAVE Cycle 3

Image: Working with Jenn Candiano on gallery interactives based on Zhang Hongtu’s Quaker Oats Mao.

The Parent Ambassadors in Visitor Experience program, which began sessions just over a year ago, has created new avenues for collaboration both between museum staff, and with community partners. As we prepare for our Spring 2016 cycle, we’ll share a few reflections from a family of parent and child leaders. Orientation for this free program will be March 26, 2016 and sessions will run until May 21. To register, please email Jennifer Candiano at JCandiano@queensmuseum.org.

The Kim family, parents Sun and Meehee, and children Justin and Elliot, participated in Summer 2015, and were key members of the Fall 2015 cycle. From our perspective as museum staff, their ideas lead the program toward new activities for gallery spaces, as project planning shifted towards an inclusive gallery focus. Members of the Kim family spoke with Jenn Candiano, Coordinator of Pave and Autism Initiatives, about their experiences.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Jenn Candiano: What was you and your family’s most memorable experience during the PAVE program, and why?

Justin: The Panorama, with the little buildings. I liked that, it was very detailed and really showed the world and what it looks like.

Sun: Every week was memorable actually, with a different project. Especially working down there, being in the gallery and interacting with the art in the galleries – so others could join.

Meehee: Every session was good. Most of the sessions were very good, especially the new ones where we go down to the gallery.

JC: Was there any gallery experience that you felt the most connected to or gained the most from?

Sun: Activities [in the galleries] have a certain benefit too, but staying [in the studio] and doing an art project actually was good because the family got together. You know, families are very busy and hardly have a chance to get together for even little things. Getting the family together, to do projects, to help each other, build together, and find out the value of the family – that is an amazing thing, more than just going somewhere expensive. Learning together, getting together..it’s subtle but the most important thing we can have.

Meehee: I think art is good. What we are doing is a very artistic career as well, but I didn’t know how to teach or how to influence my children. Then, I thought of just going to the museum and looking at the pictures, but here, they can use their own hands and ideas.  It doesn’t show right away but I think they benefit a lot from it. Art can be much closer to them. Art can be closer to kids and not just for artists.  I think they’ve been learning a lot…Elliot has learned a lot in many areas – some art, responsibilities, social skills.

Sun: This is very special, but it should be normal for children. Mostly they go to school and only learn in academy, which can be boring sometimes. Coming to [the museum], they can get creative and learn how to express their own inner ideas, and mind, to show what they are thinking, and they can be creative. So their language, and all these things brought together, this is great learning for them, that they’re not going to learn from school. This is why we keep insisting on going here, it is beneficial for children.

Justin: Every project was helpful and made us to gain some more artisticness.

JC: Would you like more different materials and new things? Or do you like doing the things you’re comfortable with?  

Justin:  I would like to try new things.

What was your favorite session in the Fall, aside from the Panorama one?  

J: I think when we tried to make our own building.



Image: Interactive rooms by PAVE participants inspired by Meredith James’s Mobius City, part of the exhibition “Catalyst.”

JC: [to Meehee] Did you enjoy leading the session? How did you feel about that?

MeeHee: It was good. I was just worried, kind of a little nervous.

Jenn: After, how did you feel?

Meehee: It was a good experience.

Sun:  Normally everyday life is dry and tough, but coming here and preparing, it was a good experience and no matter what we had great satisfaction.

Meehee: We like to be comfortable, but it is good to challenge yourself. It was a good feeling.

JC: Every time you try something new, you never know how it’s going to go.

MeeHee: Yes, if you can, you want to avoid it but it really makes you grow.


Image: Meehee, with family, while leading the lesson on jewelry making inspired by the World’s Fair souvenirs and the Kim family’s own artistic background.

We invite families who live in Queens to participate in this free multi-session art program. You and your children will participate in a series of weekend family art making workshops led by Queens Museum staff. To register please contact Jennifer Candiano at JCandiano@queensmuseum.org or fill out the online form here.

Invitamos a familias que vivan en Queens a participar dentro de este programa gratis de arte de varias sesiones. Usted y sus hijos asistirán a talleres de arte liderados por educadores del museo de Queens donde podrán experimentar como el arte puede ayudar a su hijo en su aprendizaje y desarrollo. Para obtener más información o registrarse contacte con Jennifer Candiano al siguiente email JCandiano@queensmuseum.org o registrarse aquí.