I remember that not all colleagues from the expert department were enthusiastic when I came up with this idea. And I can’t blame them. They imagined excited children running uncontrollably with whipped cream cakes and children's champagne around the exhibition halls and the permanent exhibition. Falling paintings and sculptures, greasy chocolate handprints on the white walls along the staircase and the multi-voiced Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you… which drives even hardcore visitors out of the gallery forever.
Holding children's birthday parties has been a big trend for a long time. But our goal was to invite children to the gallery who want to enjoy their celebration with friends while creating. In addition, they want to learn interesting information in an environment that is not quite common for organizing celebrations. Reach out to parents who do not normally come to us and often do not even know that there are gallery buildings in Jihlava.
So what do our celebrations look like? Together with the children, we will walk through the entire gallery from the entrance hall to the last floor of the permanent exhibition. We look at interesting works of art, which we talk about, discuss, and children let their imaginations run wild. The important thing is that they fill out the worksheet independently, but we do all the activities together. In this way, they inspire each other, pass on information and often the older help the younger. In the art studio, the children then create their own picture, which they frame and take home. But before that, they celebrate the birthday and refresh themselves with goodies that parents can bring with them.
It is very nice when the children come back and want to celebrate their next birthday with us. Or children who originally came as guests will show interest in having their celebration with us as well. That’s why we have to constantly change the celebration program, but at the same time we are pleased with this interest. All the more so when children become our regular visitors, whom we see at Saturday workshops for families with children, day camps or other gallery events. At the same time, we know that our thematic and creative birthday parties are not for all children. But the goal for us is not quantity. On the contrary, we want to interest parents of children who enjoy creating and want to be inspired by art.
Finally, I would like to thank our gallery‘s director, who supported the organization of the celebrations from the very beginning, and also my colleague Jana Jarošová, who helps me with all the celebrations.
Pavlína Pitrová, November 2022