Last weekend I took the boys to Singapore’s Art Garden, a contemporary art exhibition for children running from 17th May through 1st September 2013, and I must say, I was very impressed. We hadn’t been before, although apparently some friends have it as an annual tradition, then again, this was the perfect year for us to starting going. At long last, the boys have hit the age where they don’t mind sitting down and doing a bit of art and craft. What an awesome evolution that has been to see.
If your darlings are still crazy characters who want to run and climb and move and not much else, maybe it won’t be a perfect outing (keep the faith, they’ll get there), but if you’ve hit that magical stage where stillness is possible, it could be a great adventure for you and the family. Based at SAM at 8Q, it’s located at 8 Queen Street, which is next door and across the road from the Singapore Art Museum. If you get to the main building, there are plenty of signs directing you to it, don’t worry. There’s also loads of public transport options, with Bras Basah SMRT station right next door, endless bus options, as well as a whole bunch of car parks in buildings around the vicinity. So easy to get to.
To give you an idea, I’ll give you a brief synopsis of what you’ll find. Before you go in, there’s a bunch of boxes, which apparently the NUS architecture students have designed and it’s a glimpse into future Singapore. It’s cool and the boys were pretty fascinated. Then you’re in at the entrance. Six and under are free, students $5, adults $10, but Singaporeans and PRs get in for free. Not an expensive day out.
Also on the 1st floor is “The Enchanted Garden City” which brings all of the fairy tales together (with an Asian twist) and the artist has done a really great job. You can find all of the different characters, make-believe various fairy tales (like the troll under the bridge), but I think the highlight for my lads was having their drawings featured in the “Magic Mirror.”
Up to level two and you have a movie theater, featuring shorts by local film makers, and while the boys loved the informal theater setting, Steve and I enjoyed the comfy couch at the back. My favorite room was “Around the Days in Eighty Worlds” which is visually spectacular, with lots of things to touch and explore, including another hands-on art experience. I don’t know, some people just know how to inspire kids into artistic action, which is awesome to see.
Level three had three different rooms:
- “Stellar Cave II” – which I thought was pretty special, the boys not so much
- “The Incredibly Magical Expanding Room” – the microphone was the big hit for my boys here, but the projections were stunning
- And “Les Reves Engloutis – Glossy Dreams in Depths” – was a HUGE success, especially the revolving bed and the 3D glasses when you pop out the other side. The art section here was great, as they got to decorate their own masks, which Mum and Dad needed to cut. Happy boys
There was one more level – four – where “Love. Revolve the World” was featured, but I have to admit I’d had enough by this point and wanted to get moving. It is also supposed to be great and apparently the kids get their free telescope up here. I know I’ll take the boys back again, so wasn’t too bothered about it.
Seriously though, it’s a really well put together exhibition, we all enjoyed it, it was wonderful watching the boys enjoying the art and craft (I’d given up hope) and it’s just a nice day out for the family. Perfect for escaping the heat or the haze if it ever gets bad again – I hope not!
The SAM is located in a perfect part of Singapore if you want to wander down Orchard, hang out at Plaza Singapura, cross the road for a bit of green space, or stock up on art supplies at Bras Basah. There’s plenty to do in the area if you want to make it a full day.
There you go, something I’m very happy to recommend during the school holiday entertainment months – if you’re staying in Singapore. We’re already half way through ours, but I know others are just beginning, so good luck.