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Kids Embrace Art at the Whitney Museum's Family Programs

Kids Embrace Art at the Whitney Museum's Family Programs

Families enjoy interactive tours, art-making workshops and special events that encourage kids and adults to learn about art together

Calling all junior artists and art fans! Did you know there’s a place in New York City where you can see amazing contemporary art, create your own works inspired by modern masterpieces, and enjoy making fun art projects every weekend? Kids can do all this and so much more at the Whitney Museum of American Art! 

The Whitney, located in the Meatpacking District near the ever-popular High Line, is a must-see for any kid who loves to be creative. Dedicated to the art of the United States, the works on display at the Whitney show a range of 20th century and contemporary art, with a special focus on pieces by living artists.

As cool as all the art is, the museum’s family programs are where it’s at! Here, families can enjoy interactive tours, art-making workshops and special events that encourage kids and adults to learn about art together. 

The best part is—all of the programs are free with museum admission! In fact, all kids 18 and younger receive free admission to the museum. You just have to reserve your space in advance. After that, the staff is waiting to show you just how fun museums and art can be.

“I raised my daughter in museums since she was one week old,” Cris Scorza, the Helena Rubenstein chair of education at the museum. “We walked through the galleries of many museums. Museums are places for learning new things and making sense of the world without expectations, and today youths' perspectives and participation are celebrated.”

The Open Studio at the Whitney Museum of American Art 

A particular highlight of Whitney’s family programs is the Open Studio, which is great for budding artists, or any kid who loves being artsy. Held every Saturday, 11am-3pm, kids of all ages make their own art inspired by works on view in the collection. Each week, participants make a different project. 

Projects kids have made during Open Studio include:

  • Sewing crafts

  • Flower renditions, drawing from live bouquets

  • Drawings with paper and markers 

By the way, if you're looking for some fun art projects that you can do at home with your kids, visit the museum's Art Challenge page online. The projects here are designed for kids and adults to do together. All of them are based on works on display at the Whitney. 

The Whitney's Biennial 2022

The Biennial is the museum's landmark show that happens every two years. It's a survey of what's current in contemporary art. This year, the show is called, “Quiet as It's Kept,” and it's open through Sept. 5. It's super contemporary and features lots of unusual pieces and displays that kids love and find particularly...intriguing. 

There's more to the show than just fascinating art. Many of the works on display here address social issues, including violence, drug addiction, death and racism. While these topics can be difficult to discuss, the museum says having a dialogue about these subjects with your children can be very rewarding. 

“We definitely shouldn’t underestimate kids’ ability to understand and connect to contemporary art, such as the works in the 2022 Biennial,” Dyeemah Simmons, the museum’s director of social impact, said. “Children consistently show us how insightful they are through the artworks created in Open Studio and the conversations they engage in during these programs. Contemporary work is definitely for them.”

What You Need to Know About Visiting the Whitney Museum of American Art 

Where is the Whitney Museum of American Art located?

The museum is located at 99 Gansevoort St., Manhattan, near the High Line.

When is the museum open?

The museum is open Monday, 10:30am-6pm; Wednesday-Thursday, 10:30am-6pm; Friday, 10:30am-10pm; Saturday-Sunday 11am-6pm. (NOTE: The museum strongly recommends purchasing tickets in advance.)

How much are tickets to the Whitney Museum?

$25; $18 seniors; free for children 18 and younger. 

What are the hours for the Open Studio?

The Open Studio is open every Saturday, 11am-3pm.

For more information, visit or follow the museum on Instagram or Facebook.

Main image by Filip Wolak

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Barbara Russo

Author: Barbara Russo is a freelance writer who holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the City University of New York. She enjoys playing guitar, following current events, and hanging out with her pet rabbits. See More

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