The curator at the Henry Moore Institute gasped in horror and his voice went up to a falsetto as he rushed to prize my daughter off the block in the middle of the room (a sculpture, which looked like a block of concrete painted pink), which she had rushed towards as we entered the gallery. The reception was no less cool elsewhere at the Institute, so we hastily went next door to Leeds Art Gallery, where thankfully no one gave my five-year-old a frosty look for enjoying the art experience.
However, the embarrassment at the Henry Moore Institute has clarified my understanding of how I appreciate art and what indeed it is for me. It short, it needs to be a kinesthetic experience (hence, I garden and cook), if possible. Thus, I can understand my child wanting to enjoy the sculpture by touching it and feel therefore that the Henry Moore Institute has got something wrong: putting children off art.
On the other hand, the art gallery was not only friendly (with anything that sticky fingers might be inclined to touch either in a glass case or too high to reach) but they even had a room dedicated to encouraging them. Here is floor space to do collective drawing, which I can imagine many adults enjoying, too:
So, what does ‘art’ mean to you?