Can you believe summer’s almost over? It seems like it just started!
Don’t fret. While summer might be slipping by, the folks at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (aka The Carter) are gearing up for their amazing fall programs. I recently sat down to talk with Alli Rogers Andreen, The Carter’s Manager of Family Programs. [Editor’s note: “Manager” really should be changed to “Genius” in Alli’s title. Just my two cents’ worth!]
Alli came to The Carter in August of 2020 at the height of the pandemic. Her challenge was straightforward yet nigh unto impossible: make family-friendly museum programming virtually. Here’s the thing: she crushed it. The Carter’s family programming flourished virtually, drawing in families from all over Fort Worth. And she continues to build on that now that the programs have returned to The Carter.
“Everything had to change during the pandemic,” Alli said. “While we’re back in person, and some things feel like we’re settling back to normal, some exciting things have changed forever. The perspectives on what is important for families has evolved; people reprioritized what they want their families to learn and what they want to experience has changed.”
Alli delights in using The Carters’ extensive collection and current exhibitions as a basis for family programming. “The fun thing about visiting a museum with children is that the possibilities of interacting with the art is almost endless,” said Alli. “Grown-ups, families, parents, care guardians are looking so hard to find quality things to do with their children, and it’s exciting to be a part of that.”
Each month, The Carter offers programs for all ages. Itty Bitty Art, designed for infants up to 24 month olds, focuses on sensory learning to engage with works of art. The Toddler Studio is for two-to-three year olds (and their favorite adult) and helps children connect with the art through games and playing. For preschoolers, Carter Play Date focuses on exploring the galleries, listening to a story inspired by the art seen, and having fun making art related to that month’s theme. And finally, The Carter Family Workshops are for families of elementary school students to explore the museum and make art together six times a year.
“Our Family Workshop got so popular that we’re going to offer more of them; we’re going from four times a year to six times a year, and I’m so excited to welcome more families into the museum to get our hands dirty!” Alli grinned.
According to Alli, the driving force behind The Carter’s family programming is using the museum’s art as a lens to teach communication and social and emotional skills. The genius of these programs is that there is something to do for every single member of the family, no matter how big or small. Alli said, “We really love exploring all the different ways to approach being an artful family.”
“We want our programs to be relevant for our families and our community,” Alli said. “Not only as a thing to do on a Saturday morning or during the summer, but I really want people to feel that we’re important to their family.”
Now that Alli has been at The Carter for three years, she’s become important to many Fort Worth families. “It’s really been my privilege [running the monthly programs]. I’m seeing my babies graduating into the toddler classes, and my toddlers growing into preschoolers,” Alli said with a big grin. “[Some of] these families come every month. It’s so fun to watch these kids grow their independence in the museum. This is their place.”
As we ended our conversation, Alli extended an invitation. “Come on down one Saturday! We’re going to play, sing songs, get messy, and make art. You’ll get to have a wonderful experience with your family!”
For a full rundown of all The Carter’s family programming, click here. Your family will thank you!