Who's Ever Heard of a Pink Octopus? Enjoy Art with Your Family This Summer


Driving down Michigan Ave. the other day my 3 1/2 year old daughter noticed street banners promoting the MCA's new Takashi Murakami show and exclaimed, "Look, Mom! A pink octopus! Who ever heard of a pink octopus?"

Indeed, who's ever heard of a pink octopus? Artists are capable of dreaming up so much and making it real for us in different ways. Mr. Murakami even dressed in character for the preview of The Octopus Eats His Own Leg at the museum last week. I plan to take my daugher to see the exhibition soon, so that she may see more of the artist's wild and wonderful works in person. The octopus is just the beginning...

Beyond this unique show at the MCA, there is so much to see and do together in the art world this summer. Whether you are visiting on vacation or just taking advantage of what the city has to offer this time of year, we have a helpful calendar of family and youth art events available to help you plan future outings. There are tours for the very young, as well as hands-on workshops for older children and adults, plus teen and youth workshops. All of these events and opportunities are hosted locally by some of the world's best museums and will inspire and keep young minds busy this season.   

Of course you don't have to attend a family art event to enjoy all the art on view this summer. Surprise encounters may be the best of all. 

Enjoy the pink octopus and whatever else delights you! 

Find our calendar of Family Art Events HERE.



Upcoming summer family art highlights:


• Family Arts Festival at the South Shore Arts Center

Paintings, tours, art exhibitions and more for all ages in Munster, IN. Sunday, June 11, 11a-3p


Teen Workshop: Change the Frame—Photography Workshop  

The Art Institute of Chicago

June 10, 11a-4p

Robert Frank has spent decades photographing scenes of everyday American life. See the world through his eyes in the exhibition Robert Frank: Photos. Then, learn a new photo technique and showcase your skills as you work with an artist to create photographic images of things that matter to you. Cameras will be provided but you are welcome to bring our own. Registration is required for this program. 

Additionally, the museum offers companion Tween workshops for kids 9-12 years old. 


• MCA Stroller Tours

Museum of Contemporary Art 

Offered the First Wednesday of Each Month from 11:30a-12:30p. 


Smart Family Day

Smart Museum of Art

Offered the First Saturday of Each Month from 1-4pm for ages 4-12. 

The August 5 event features a chance to make garments that swish, swash, ding, and sing. Learn the principals of beading, then try out other weird and wacky materials to create accessories—necklaces, hats, bracelets—that make noises as you move. Inspired by Nick Cave’s twig Soundsuit in the Smart’s collection. Free. All materials provided. Activities best for kids ages 4–12, accompanied by an adult.


22nd Annual Kaleidoscope Family Day: Drawing Together

The Art Institute of Chicago

July 22, 10:30a-3p

This is a drop-in event from 10:30-3pm on Saturday, July 22. Celebrate the power of art to draw people together on this day of discovery, creativity, and fun. Participate in collaborative art-making with your family and with families from around the city. Explore two inspiring drawing exhibitions featuring the work of Chicago artist Cauleen Smith and cartoonist Saul Steinberg. Release your creative energies in gallery experiences facilitated by museum educators and cultural partners. Join in the fun. All Illinois families receive admission to the museum during Kaleidoscope.  


Saints and Heroes: Art of Medieval and Renaissance Europe

The Art Institute of Chicago - Ongoing

We have missed the famous collection of arms and armor at the Art Institute, and now it's back and better than ever. If you find yourself in search of a great place to spend a rainy day, the newly unveiled Deering Family Galleries of Medieval and Renaissance Art, Arms, and Armor, present nearly 700 objects from the museum’s rich holdings of art from 1200 to 1600: monumental altarpieces, exquisite jewelry, and the beloved arms and armor collection. 


• National Museum of Mexican Art

The museum offers a range of family and youth programs all year, but in the summer they offer art camps. Themes are tied to our permanent and temporary exhibitions and integrate the galleries into the learning experience.  Fees vary by class and include art materials.



Top image: Takashi Murakami created an octopus-inspired character to celebrate the opening of Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg. © 2017 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.