Keppel Centre for Art Education, Where Art and Play Combines

Come end November, there’ll be loads of art and play activities for children at the Keppel Centre for Art Education at the National Gallery.

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The Centre is located on the ground level of the Gallery’s City Hall wing and occupies a total floor area of 910 square metres. It comprises four distinct art spaces and the theme for 2015 and 2016 is Homes: Present and Future.

Art Corridor

Voyage – an interactive intallation at the Art Corridor of the Centre encourages hands-on and tactile play, and children can observe the way different colours combine and react with another. To be honest, the kids just couldn’t keep their hands off the small colourful acrylic circles that they have to negotiate along the various grooves and routes of this 3D maze.

In conjunction with the theme of ‘Home’, this installation, done by artist Twardzik Ching Chor Leng, was inspired by the ‘blue map’ of Singapore – a map of water channels running across the island.

Keppel Centre for Art Education

Art Playscape

Next stop, enter the Art Playscape on all fours, through a tunnel.

Keppel Centre for Art Education

Featuring a magical forest of sorts inspired by the flora, fauna and motifs of Southeast Asian art, young kids can run loose here, exploring a split level tree house and labyrinth panels.

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There are also activity sheets for children to get to know about the various mythical characters in the forest.

If you find the style of the drawings familiar, it’s because it’s done by Sandra Lee, creator of The Enchanted Forest and The Enchanted Garden City installation spaces at the Singapore Art Museum.

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Project Gallery

Created by Tan Wee Lit, Faculty Head of SOTA, the Project Gallery features a flying house/bus and row boat with arms sticking out suspended in mid-air, making a statement on how the concept of ‘home’ has evolved as a result of social and environmental changes.

Art Centre

The Gallery is filled with paper and cardboard activities that are pretty manageable and friendly for young children. Which isn’t much of a surprise, as the entire gallery space had been planned out by art educators working in partnership with each chosen artist.

JJ was pretty engrossed colouring here and got a little upset when we had to move on to the next activity. So parents, do note to allow your children the freedom to dwell a bit longer at their favourite activity or in each different room.

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Children’s Museum

In this rather cool space, young visitors get to catch a glimpse of a real artist’s studio and his creative process – based on Milenko Prvacki’s own experience.

Kids will get the opportunity to:

  • handle and utilise objects, art tools and materials from the artist’s studio to appreciate the art-making process and techniques
  • discover the symbols and metaphors in the artworks through writing and sharing of narratives and stories
  • develop vocabulary and interpretive skills through role play

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There’s a special display within the Children’s Museum too. A re-imaging of Singapore’s cityscape made entirely with clay and plasticine by 13-year-old Xandyr Quek. Pretty amazing huh!

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Vera and JJ had a great time touring the Centre, and before we left, they made me promise to bring them back!

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The Keppel Centre for Art Education is the first of its kind in the region to provide young visitors the opportunity to access original artwork, handle art tools, select artworks, write labels and conduct exhibition tours for their peers through experiential learning and role-play.

The Centre opens on 24 November, and families can look forward to workshops, tours and family weekends! To be updated on the Centre’s family programmes, subscribe to their mailing list at programmes@nationalgallery.sg.

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