One of my favorite childhood memories is being read to. My mother, an English major in college, would end a busy day of raising eight children by passing on her enthusiasm for literature.

So, when thinking about the curriculum for Family Art Day, it was natural for me to include stories about the artists whose techniques we would mirror in our projects. Then, I discovered the storytelling portion is actually key to absorbing the meaning of the day.

Research by world-renowned neuroscientists like Uri Hasson has revealed that a narrative coincides with the brain’s natural processing of cause and effect. Hanson says, “A story is the only way to activate parts in the brain so that a listener turns the story into their own idea and experience.”

In other words, both a four-year-old and 30-year-old hearing the same story will integrate and relate to it via their unique experiences.

This week, the book Action Jackson, about the work of Jackson Pollock, will be read at the beginning of Family Art Day. As the story is read, listeners will in effect hear the music playing in Pollock’s studio, see an insect in the paint on his canvas, and feel the act of splattering paint in wide arcs.

When family members create their splatter-painted umbrella mobiles on Saturday, it’s possible they will imagine the movement of Pollock and think of themselves as artists, too.

Family Art Day is held the third Saturday of each month during the school year from 9AM – noon. All materials are provided and it is free for families with children ages 3-17. The books read at previous Family Art Days are available in the children’s area in the Guenzel Gallery for continued family enjoyment.

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