Hundreds flocked to the Yale University Art Gallery on Sunday to take part in Family Day, an educational program designed to introduce youth to the works of art and resources at the gallery.
Established in 2006, Family Day offers New Haven community members the opportunity to engage with the YUAG’s collection through hands-on activities ranging from drawing and writing to storytelling and mixed-media sculpture.
“My children had a lot of fun,” Joy Cheng, a New Haven-based web designer who attended Sunday’s events, said. “It was not my first time at the Art Gallery, but I had never been to Family Day, and I will definitely bring my children back again in the future.”
Cheng said she particularly enjoyed the map project station, which provided participants with a blank city map and instructed them to draw the facades of buildings that might go in the spaces. Additionally, Cheng praised the drawing station, which invited children to draw landscape pictures using their imaginations.
Other activities included a mixed media art station with colorful felt and yarn materials and a scavenger hunt designed to give participants an engaging tour of the gallery.
Before 2006, Family Day had an involved preregistration process for participation. Since the day has transitioned to a drop-in event with no admission fee, participation has increased significantly, said Jessica Sack, the senior associate curator of public education at the YUAG. The highest Family Day turnout since the 2006 changes was about 1,400 people, she added.
Throughout the day, graduate and undergraduate volunteers were scattered around the YUAG to direct participants and help man the various activity stations. Tavi Meraud GRD ’17, who has been working at Family Day for two years, said her experience as a gallery teacher has been enriching, especially because it is an opportunity to connect with the community outside of Yale.
“It has been really rewarding to interact with and teach kids from different areas around here, especially non-college age ones,” Meraud said.
Meraud, who is proficient in Korean, English, French and German, also works as a YUAG tour guide during the week, giving multiple language tours — a YUAG offering that is particularly popular, said Sack.
“Last week, for example, a whole group of Korean tourists came, and luckily two of our gallery teachers could give them information in Korean,” Sack said.
Although the day’s activities are largely tailored to children under the age of 10, Family Day has also become increasingly popular among Elm City teenagers, Sack said. Older kids typically get involved with the event through the YUAG’s after-school arts education program.
“The fact that Tavi has been able to find a way for our teens in the after-school program to be so involved means that the kids who may have started off [as part of our K-12 educational programs] 10 years ago are now coming back to help run and work in an activity later on, and this makes us very proud,” Sack said.
The YUAG publicized Family Day using radio advertisements, distributing postcards and fliers and posting updates on social media and blogs.
“Word of mouth, however, remains the most effective way to attract families to this kind of events,” Sack noted.
The YUAG is located at 1111 Chapel St.