We started last weekend by picking the kids up from school Friday afternoon and heading down to Pasadena Art Night. Yan is the catalyst for these types of outings and our whole family benefits greatly because of them. Cade and Ella were excited by the general plan to eat at food trucks, walk around Pasadena, and see lots of cool art. “But what’s art?” asked Ella. I must admit I didn’t really know how to answer that question. “We’re going to use our senses to experience things people have created and then we’ll talk about what they make us think about and how they make us feel,” I responded. “But Daddy, what are senses?” And down the rabbit hole we went…
Our first stop of the evening was the Day One exhibit so we could show the kids the “Tree of Life” they’d seen at school recently. It was a cool piece inspired by local artist and Field mom Sherry Giang-Chen; the Field students wrote their dreams and wishes on red ribbons and/or marigold flowers and tied them to the tree. After we read scores of the tree’s messages, we browsed through the other exhibits in the area before heading out to the street for some sliders from the nearest food truck.
Then it was a short walk over to City Hall for more food and more exhibits. The highlights there were the John Muir High Marching Drummers which Cade and Ella followed around, mesmerized, like rodents behind the Pied Piper, and an old man I can only describe as “groovy” who was playing his own hand-made stringed instruments, the sound of which fascinated us all.
We then caught the shuttle over to PCC to see what was going on there (and to visit the Hawaiian shaved ice truck parked on campus). On the way, the driver pulled over and announced the intermediate stop “A Room to Create… anyone want to get off at A Room to Create?” Cade immediately began pleading and begging to get off the bus. I asked him what made him want to disembark here so bad and he said, “Because it sounds like there’s a room where you get to go in and create stuff!” I told him that did sound fun but it wasn’t exactly what was happening at that particular stop, despite the name. Reluctantly, he agreed to stay in his seat and continue onward.
At PCC we got our shaved ice – mmmmm! – and visited a more traditional gallery exhibit. I was very impressed and more than a little surprised by Cade. He really got into the paintings, and they were all a bit on the abstract side. He spent time studying each one and then gave Yan and I his critical interpretation before moving on to view the next canvas. I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me so much. Cade has always been incredibly analytical. I was just a bit shocked – and thrilled – that art of that nature captured his interest like it did.
All in all it was a great outing. We did something out of the ordinary. We explored the deep (whether intentionally deep or not) question posed by Ella at the beginning of the excursion: what is art? We ate some good food. We laughed together. We walked arm in arm at times, holding hands at others. Cade and Ella expanded their horizons just a bit. And I hope and think this is the kind of memory they’ll keep with them throughout their lives.