Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa was filled with families for last week’s opening of its “Show Me the Money!” exhibition. The exhibition features 10 stations exploring different aspects of money, and runs through Sunday, Jan. 20. It’s meant to showcase “the colorful art of coins and currency” and demonstrate how cash has influenced the works of artists around the world. A series of AMY Buck Stops located throughout the exhibit help children earn special prizes from the museum gallery gift shop by completing theme-related tasks.
Families who attended the opening reception on Thursday, Sept. 27 were the first to explore a special glow in the dark room, marketplace, dress-up area and more. They also took part in a games set up within a lovely outdoor courtyard in which colorful play money strung with yarn was suspended from tree branches. Inside, some children made bead, crayon and modeling dough creations as proud parents offered encouragement. Others spent time examining the dollar bill under a magnifying glass, or operarting a desktop machine meant to catch counterfeit bills.
Older children were drawn to the history of money timeline, which makes a wonderful resource for student writing reports on money-related topics. The timeline shows different materials used as currency at various points in time. Artwork featured in the show includes a quilted mixed media piece by Denise Currier that’s called “Grown Green,” a James Charles work with a funny money vibe called “Square Pants,” a digital print by Teo Zirinis dubbed “Piggy Beak” and “Ancient Money” by Peter Bitter. Children who attend the exhibition will find plenty of inspiration for trying new art projects both at the museum and at home.
Today’s best museums are filled with diverse, hands-on experiences — and the Arizona Museum for Youth has several different areas where children can play while enjoying diverse colors, lines, shapes and textures. An ArtVille area for children under age four is filled with large blocks that are soft and colorful, plus rooms for creating visual and performance artworks. Another section of the museum called ArtZone, designed for children ages five and up, sports a giant light board kids can use to spell words, make abstract designs or piece together playful images. The museum has several child-size tables where children can draw, inspired by works around them. And there’s a unique hands-on sound experience as well.
Arizona Museum for Youth presents “Money Family Day” Saturday, Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and notes that AMY galleries will be filled with “lots of extra activities and fun” that day. Museum admission is $7 for anyone age 1 or older. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 4pm on Sundays. Arizona Museum for Youth is located at 35 N. Robson in historic downtown Mesa. Click here to learn more about upcoming exhibitions, classes, workshops and events.