Any kind of art crawl can seem overwhelming with kids — especially if you are on a budget. I hate carrying diaper bags. It’s just something else to lug and possibly lose; and no doubt at some point you will be carrying a child along with that diaper bag. You can bring a stroller, but then you have to get on and off the trolley with it and you may end up pushing the stroller while carrying the kid. That said, I have done Art-A-Whirl with kids and had a great time. Here are my personal strategies for surviving this grown up occassion with kids. Take the ones you like, toss the rest, but I think this is a great experience with kids.
STRATEGY #1 – PACKING JUST ENOUGH
I actually don’t mind the cheap umbrella stroller for outings like this. It folds fast, it’s light weight and, in my case, it was $5 at a thrift store over five years ago. I’ve gotten my money out of it should I lose it. Rather than a diaper bag, I can fit a diaper and some wipes in my little purse. I live in Northeast, so if we have an emergency, we can just go home. I have to admit our recent trips to the Science Museum and Como Zoo both ended in blowouts that I was not prepared for. So, option two is to carry a small backpack which would hold a little more plus snacks.
This is one of those awesome street food events. It’s tempting to plan to hit up one of the vendors, but, since I’m supposed to be watching my budget, I’ll probably opt for the backpack with snacks plus plan a stop at Eastside Food Co-op on my way home. We can make for dinner whatever tempts us the most.
STRATEGY #2 – OPTIONS WITHOUT EXPECTATIONS
I found — at least for my family — the best plan is a loose plan. That doesn’t mean I’ll go unprepared. NEMAA has nicely laid out Children and Family events on their website. I will be printing that and bringing it along. Our minimum goal is a trolley ride around NE Minneapolis, but I would really like to visit some of the galleries and participate in some of the events if possible. Prices for activities are listed on the individual pages on NEMAA’s site. It’s nice to know ahead of time which events are within my budget, then I don’t have to get anyone’s hopes up for something we ultimately won’t do.
Not everything that might be worth our while is an official Art-A-Whirl event and some things we stumbled on and enjoyed in previous years have become official in later years. Kid’s are really great at finding art in unexpected places. A few years ago, we found this concrete heart (pothole – whatever) and a brick wall where we were encouraged to create with sidewalk chalk. That is probably our favorite Art-A-Whirl memory and neither were officially part of the festivities. Local bands are also notorious for unofficial performances and generally aim for family friendly for this event. One family-friendly (and, this year, officially sanctioned) show is Grandapalooza. Catch any of 17 local bands whenever you are doing the rounds.