“Dat’s mine!” my six-year-old yelled in the middle of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He started running towards a painting, and I had visions of us getting swept right up and thrown out on the street for touching the works of art.
“Yakir,” I tried to say quietly while lunging for him, “what are you doing?”
“Dat’s mine!” he said again, standing next to one of Van Gogh’s paintings.
“What in the world are you talking about?” I panted, having caught up with him.
And then I realized what he meant.
They have an absolutely amazing 1st and 2nd grade art program at Orot Etzion where they introduce the kids to a series of famous artists. Then, after they’ve “met” each artist and his or her style, they create their own piece imitating a famous work of art.
It’s a magical program and one that truly embodies the way that education could, and should, be taught in any field.
We brought the kids to the MET on a whim that morning, hoping that they would appreciate some of the art in the museum without being too noisy or getting into trouble.
We aren’t a museum family, per se, and are usually much more comfortable climbing a mountain or exploring a river. But we were in New York and figured that it was our duty as good parents to at least expose the kids to one museum. We assumed that the oldest boys would appreciate it, the middle boys would handle it, and the younger boys couldn’t destroy too much in the two hours we had allotted for ourselves.
What we weren’t expecting, however, was for the youngest boy to embrace the entire experience with utter zeal and to identify with Van Gogh’s painting as “his.” It was incredible.
He and his closest brother in age then ran around the Impressionist section pointing out pictures that were “theirs” and remarking about the color choices, the subjects and more.
It was a moment that would make any teacher speechless. We were so appreciative that we actually took a picture of Yakir in front of his art and sent it to the school principal with a note about the art program.
Way to go Orot Etzion! It’s not every day that you see a child embrace something he’s been taught with such joy and ownership.
The Van Gogh is certainly worth a lot of money; Yakir’s reaction to it was worth even more.