Social media can be an absolute joy. It helps me to stay in touch with friends and colleagues from far away, see their beautiful children as they grow, feel somewhat part of their lives despite distance. It also helps uncover the shared interests, passion and beliefs of the fascinating people I'm lucky to have contact with. This is the second of a series of guest blog posts from some brilliant, inventive and creative mummies in my life. Rachel is an ex-colleague and is now a teacher in the glorious North. Here she writes about the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and ponders the differences in how her little girl and boy experience art - and particularly how this outdoor context works so well for her three year old boy.
The Yorkshire Sculpture Park (www.ysp.co.uk) is, hands down, the best place in the world for my son to experience a range of artists and designers. So when I heard that the iconic ‘Wave’ poppies would be visiting, it was another great reason to head over to Bretton and check them out. The YSP is outdoors. This, in a nutshell, is what makes it so fantastic. There are no shushing members of staff, noannoyingly flimsy barriers wrapped around a priceless work of art. And as every parent across the land will testify, any whinging or crying from children seems much easier to deal with when you are in the open air. Plus there are no queues, ever.
My son’s pace is, as I mentioned, 90 miles an hour. We collected a map from reception to help us choose the most suitable walk and he careered off into the distance, running towards the first ‘poppies – this way’ sign he saw. My daughter followed on at a more gentle speed, carefully studying the map to check we were on track for our destination.
My son was particularly taken with the sculptures that he could touch or hide behind. The children spent a few minutes playing hide and seek in Anthony Caro’ enormous metal creation – Promenade – with its various nooks and crannies to explore. He loved the Lego-like design of Sol LeWitt’s brick sculpture – entitled 123454321.
He made music with the tuning fork sculptures we passed as we returned to the Visitor Centre – Caroline Locke’s The Frequency of Trees, and weaved in and out of JonathanBorofsky’s enormous Molecule Man 1+1+1. At the time, I wondered if he would take anything away from the visit, having careered round the site, pausing only to eat a cheese sandwich. But he still speaks of some of the sculptures and reminisces about our visit when he sees a poppy.
As we left, the advert for one of the visiting exhibitions read ‘Art Makes Children Powerful’. I guess time will tell if that goes for my two. What I do know is that the differences between my son and daughter will continue to surprise me every day. It’s up to their parents and those who influence their lives to nurture this individuality and give them both experiences they will remember for years to come.