Grab your art-loving and curious kids and head to the Schneider Museum of Art for free Family Day on Saturday, May 30. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Families can take a docent-led tour, discuss the exhibition and take part in a self-directed, hands-on project inspired by the artwork in the museum. “This is a fun event for kids,” said museum director Erika Leppman. “We try to pick activities that both connect with the art and are also things most kids don’t usually get to do,” she said.

Saturday’s hands-on activity is inspired by SOU professor emerita Marlene Alt’s installation on view at the museum, "Silent Movies." Alt’s work is comprised of a video projection and empty solid wax-cast picture frames which suggest sites of memory and nostalgia. Kids will be invited to the DeBoer Sculpture Studio to make press molds, casting and reproducing objects in wax, using the same process as in Alt’s picture frames.

“The wax and molds are materials most kids don’t have at home, and it’s nice to play around with new art materials,” she said.

Seeing the exhibition and then performing the act of casting and reproducing objects will offer visitors a greater connection to the artwork on display, says Leppman. “It’s a great way to put yourself into the work and explore your own creativity. I’m looking forward to seeing how kids and adults respond to it,” she said.

In addition to the large outdoor spaces for kids to run around in, Leppman says that a big part of the appeal of Family Days is that the kids are largely self-directed. “We get a lot of really good feedback from families. People like the drop-in nature of it, you don’t have to call ahead and register or anything,” she said. “Also, parents like the self-directed aspect of the activities. Families can spend as much or as little time at the museum as they want to.”

Leppman encourages people to arrive early, as sometimes they can get a large crowd. “We’ve had anywhere from 35 to 100 people,” she said. “I like the crowds, it’s neat to be in the studio with kids.”

So far, there are three family-oriented events scheduled throughout the summer. All of the events include activities in the museum to acquaint the student with the exhibit, and then a hands-on craft. The museum recently received a cultural tourism economic grant from the city of Ashland to help support free Family Day. “We hope with the grant to expand the Family Day events and involve more people,” Leppman said.

In addition to the installation by Marlene Alt, the museum is also showcasing an installation by Garrick Imatani created in response to the landscape, history and culture of the Rogue Valley, as well as work by Sang-ah Choi produced during her month-long artist residency at Southern Oregon University, and the silkscreens of Sister Corita Kent, an activist artist who used images from popular culture in her prints. The exhibitions are on view through Saturday, June 6.

For more information on the free event, call the Schneider Museum of Art at 541-552-6245. The museum is at the south end of Southern Oregon University’s campus at 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., at the corner of Indiana Street and Siskiyou Boulevard.

Angela Decker is a freelance writer in Ashland and can be reached at decker4@gmail.com.