Shared from the 8/5/2019 San Antonio Express eEdition

‘Cultivating creativity’: McNay opens doors for Warhol soiree

Jerry Lara / Staff photographer

Ciana Alicia Vargas, 5, dances around balloons spelling “Warhol” during McNay Art Museum’s Family Day. The day’s theme, “Andy Invasion,” coincided with “Andy Warhol: Portraits,” which features over 120 paintings, prints, photographs and films.


Victoria Morales, 26, got into the spirit of “Andy Invasion” by wearing her Warhol wig during McNay Art Museum’s Family Day. The event coincided with an exhibit of 120 pieces of the artist’s work.

Jerry Lara / Staff photographer

Paul Feuerbacher, the McNay Art Museum’s multimedia manager, joined in the fun of “Andy Invasion” by sporting an Andy Warhol wig.

The usually quiet halls of the McNay Art Museum echoed with children’s squeals and giggles on Sunday when hundreds of families packed the museum to celebrate one of America’s most famous artists: Andy Warhol.

Some wore striped shirts and sunglasses like those sported by the Pop Art idol to the family event inspired by the museum’s current exhibit: “Andy Warhol: Portraits.”

Aimed at attracting people across the economic spectrum, the museum offered free access to its main summer exhibits: Warhol’s portraits and “Transamerica/n: Gender, Identity, Appearance Today,” a display of contemporary work by transgender artists from across the country.

But families didn’t just spend Sunday afternoon looking at the art — they got to make some, too. Besides taking tours of the exhibits, attendees of all ages got the chance to experiment with screen printing, painting, coloring and photo booths.

“In traditional museum settings, it’s don’t touch, don’t look, be quiet setting,” said Rachel Trevino, a spokeswoman for the museum. “And at the McNay, it’s very different.”

While a band played on the museum’s front lawn, children inside lined up to make their own Warhol-inspired tote bags and posters. Adults marveled at the iconic artwork.

The exhibit features more than 120 pieces from the Andy Warhol Museum, including portraits of his friends, patrons, movie stars and musicians, according to the museum’s website. The stars hanging on walls range from Prince to Valentino to Warhol himself.

As parents strolled through the museum, they stopped occasionally to photograph their children next to the pieces.

“Smile!” a mother told her toddler, posed in front of a series of prints depicting rock legend Mick Jagger. The little girl didn’t, not nearly as amused with the art work as her mother was.

But across the room, Selena Walsh’s young daughter beamed as the mother snapped a photo of girl in front of a print of Blondie singer Debbie Harry. Walsh and her boyfriend brought their four children ranging from age 6 to 9 to the event, hoping to spark discussion about the work and foster creativity by making their own pieces.

“The quality of what you’re seeing is so amazing,” Walsh said. “It really reflects the commitment that San Antonio has to community, family and art.”

That’s exactly what the event’s organizers hoped for: a space where community members can learn about art while creating lasting family memories, said Kate Carey, who runs educational programs for the museum. A number of the McNay’s supporters specifically earmark their donations for children’s programs, which include the family fun days, organized toddler art play to tours for parents with infants in strollers.

“I do think that early engagement with art and art museums is part of that same conversation of cultivating creativity, creative thinking and problem solving,” Carey said.

When the McNay began hosting the family fun days more than two decades ago, the events drew about a couple hundred people, said Carey. But since then, they’ve boomed in popularity, even among families who aren’t typically museum attendees. Sunday’s event, for example, was expected to attract 1,500 people.

“We don’t use glitter anymore because we have learned that sometimes those things don’t work for thousands of people,” she said, chuckling.

On Sunday afternoon, a line of families snaked through the museum as they waited to make Warhol-themed art.

After waiting in line to make a screen-printed tote bag, 6-year-old Corbin Cano and his mother, Ashton Meade, sat on the museum’s grassy front lawn to rest. The little boy said he was impressed by the bright colors inside. But most of all, he liked making his own screen prints — just like the ones that lined the museum walls.

“That was his favorite part,” his mother said. “He was like, ‘That’s it? That’s all you have to do?’ ” marina.riker@

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