Although designed for children, parents may find themselves tempted to "test" the kits.

By Monica Weymouth
March 28, 2019
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todd olham moma collage kits
Credit: Charlie Rubin

Few adults would view a Van Gogh and say, "I want to make that." Which is, of course, the problem with adults. "Children are naturally excited and inspired by art," says Elizabeth Margulies, Director of Family Programs and Initiatives at the Museum of Modern Art. "They learn with their bodies, and color, shape, and texture is part of that. All they need to create is a tool in their hands."

Those tools are about to get a lot better. This spring, the museum is debuting Making with MoMA, a collection of children's art kits inspired by the collections. The museum's curatorial staff created the kits in collaboration with designer Todd Oldham, founder of Kid Made Modern, the popular arts and crafts supplier of many a pint-sized Picasso. Each kit is equipped with professional-quality tools, something Oldham is passionate about.

"We wanted to make sure our supplies were worth the child's effort," says Oldham. "Children are astonishingly gifted, but children's art supplies are often lacking. The worst thing you can do is have a child thinking they have a deficiency, that they're the problem."

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Credit: Courtesy of MoMA Store

The collection kicks off with three kits: a Collage Kit, a Shadowbox Kit and a Mix-and-Match Drawing Kit. While the kits include a healthy dose of art education, the goal isn't to have children reproduce the museum's masterpieces stroke by stroke, or even teach specific techniques. Rather, it's about providing the simple yet profound opportunity to create.

"You don't forget the confidence that comes from creativity," says Oldham. "There are all kinds of beautiful talents that are learned in the creative efforts. It causes you to see in a new way, and that's something you can use in every part of life."

The Making with MoMA collection will debut on March 28 with a Kid Made Modern pop-up at the MoMA Design Store, as well as a special lineup of arts programming for children and families.

Although designed for children, parents may find themselves tempted to "test" the kits. "Too often, adults don't get the opportunity to create," says Margulies. "The urge doesn't go away if you're given the right tools-everyone will want to play with this stuff."

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