Home / Local Stories  / Learn: Education & Enrichment  / Arts & Culture  / Kids Explore Modern Art, and City Life, at this Summer’s Art Splash

Kids Explore Modern Art, and City Life, at this Summer’s Art Splash

Explore cityscapes and create art in a mini metropolis all summer at the Philadelphia Museum of Art!

When I toured the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s special exhibit “Modern Times” with my four-year-old, we were fascinated by a painting called Jazz, and we talked about what kind of colors and shapes different songs would make us draw. Even simple questions like “What color is mad?” can prompt a small child into thinking about these abstract questions. Art Splash has taken this to its natural conclusion, using the evocative works of the exhibit to speak to kids on their level and help them think about their world differently.


Art Splash brings creative family programming and a unique children’s studio space to the museum all summer long. This year’s theme is “Bright Lights, Little City,” inspired by the museum’s current special exhibit “Modern Times,” which explores how artists captured modernity and the rapid growth of American cities in the early twentieth century.


“By making art and exploring together, we welcome families to extend their experience and relate the exhibition’s modern themes to their own lives,” said Elizabeth Yohlin Baill, the museum’s Manager of Family Programs, in a press release.


On Tuesdays through Sundays from June 30 — September 3, families can drop into the museum’s Great Stair Balcony for studio projects, go on family-friendly tours, and much more. In so many ways, Art Splash will be a place kids can discover what it means to live in a city, experiment with building activities, and use various media to express themselves through engaging projects.

Splash Studio

The centerpiece of Art Splash is, of course, the studio space where families can learn and create together every day from 10 am—5 pm. In honor of this summer’s theme, the Splash Studio’s balcony location offers views of Philly, and the space features an art installation evoking a city skyline.


Other special elements include a magnetic wall, a book nook, and most excitingly a new LEGO model of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, created especially for Art Splash by LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Kids will have the opportunity to add onto the model and expand the cityscape with their own creations.


The studio has everything you need to create art in its many forms, and project themes change every two weeks, so be sure to come back over and over again.


“CurioCities” (June 30—July 15) will prompt kids to build their own mini modern cities. During “Color Me Modern” (July 17—29), kids will explore color mixing and how artists use color to evoke emotion. “Face Time” (July 31–August 12) will focus on portraiture. “LandShapes” (August 14–26) will invite kids to capture nature through shape and pattern. Finally, “Sound Off” (August 28–September 3) asks kids “What if you could see sound?” and challenges them to translate the aural into the visual.

Special Events and Hours

In addition to the daily studio activities, there are extended hours, special playdates, workshops, and more.

Calder Re-Wired

July 2, 11:30 am


The museum is usually closed on Mondays, but on Art Splash’s opening week, the museum will hold a special Pay What You Wish Monday. Come create in the studio, and also enjoy performances by the Picasso People, who will bring the work of sculptor Alexander Calder to life with mime, music, and puppetry.

Wednesday Nights

Beginning July 11 and through the end of August, the museum will stay open until 7 pm, and will host Wednesday Night Family Studios with Pay What You Wish admission. So stop by and make some art before bedtime! Plus on July 18 and August 15, there will be special nighttime stroller tours at 6 pm.

Sensory Friendly Mornings

The museum will hold four sensory friendly mornings with early opening at 9 am specially designed for children on the autism spectrum or with other sensory sensitivities. These special openings will take place on July 18, July 21, August 22, and August 25. Space is limited. To reserve your spot, email AccessProg@philamuseum.org.

Baby Bird Playdates

These weekly morning art playdates delight toddlers every Friday with art making and gallery walks, but this July and August they will expand to both Tuesdays and Fridays!

Family Workshops

On select weekend days, the museum will host specialty family workshops where kids and their parents can work together on a more in depth art project. The workshops are divided into age groups—chose from age 4-7 or age 8-12—so kids can explore that week’s project at their own pace. Each workshop is $20 per child, or $16 for members (accompanying parents are free).

July 14: Parkway Prints

Learn to use a printing press to make your mark on the bustling city.

July 21: Clay Play

Sculpt a 3D portrait in clay.

August 11: Paint the Town

Roll up your sleeves and paint a modern canvas.

Art Splash runs from June 30—September 3 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, located at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The museum is open Tuesday—Sunday from 10 am—5 pm, and Art Splash will have extended hours on Wednesday nights in July and August with Pay What You Wish Admission beginning at 5 pm. Art Splash activities are free with admission to the museum (aside from the special workshops). Admission is free for kids 12 and under every day, and $14 for kids age 13-18. Adult admission is $20 for adults, $18 or seniors, and free for all members. Admission is Pay What You Wish every Sunday for all ages.


Photographs by Laura Swartz.

Contributing Writer