Half the air in a given space is a free exhibit at the following
spots: Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., through Sept 30;
Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Drive, through Oct
15; Edgewater storefront, 1113 Bryn Mawr, through Oct. 14; City
Gallery in the Historic Water Tower, 806 N. Michigan Ave., through
Balloons may very well have something injected into them to make
kids smile - almost like kiddy catnip. And a whole room filled to
the brim with balloons? It makes them absolutely giddy.
At a new exhibit installed in four Chicago neighborhoods, there
is a room stuffed with balloons - and any child 3 and older is
invited to get lost in the bubbly madness.
The installation created by Martin Creed, a British artist who
is the artist resident at the Museum of Contemporary Art, was
created to make the air feel visible to us.
And while that cool idea may go over the heads (literally) of
the children who are enjoying it, it satisfies on all levels.
On a recent Tuesday afternoon, I took a 3-year-old and an
11-month-old (safely strapped to my chest) to experience the
balloon room at the Garfield Park Conservatory. To get lost in the
balloons as if she was swimming in them was a dream come true for
3-year-old Anya, who tentatively stepped into the room before
diving under the balloons and disappearing.
And baby Aria? She nervously chuckled, reaching her hands out to
touch the white bubble world around her.
It's something that few kids get to experience - but something
that should be installed in every preschool for those children who
need a pick-me-up after a rough day.
The only problem is that balloons - being balloons - deflate and
pop. When we arrived, we had to get special permission to enter the
room because the exhibit was temporarily closed due to the great
reduction in the number of balloons currently on display.
Apparently, the usual exhibit is supposed to be filled nearly to
the ceiling, but was only about 4 feet high when we visited. Moral
of the story: Call before you arrive to make sure the balloons are
functioning that day.
Danielle Braff lives with her two daughters and husband in downtown Chicago.
See more of Danielle's stories here.
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