We are always looking for ways to help our children’s spirits reach toward God. One way that families can connect with the divine mystery is through art. A love and appreciation for art is a great gift that parents can give their children. God gives us great beauty throughout all of creation and we, in turn, express our love for God through art.
Art and beauty are everywhere. All we have to do to cultivate an appreciation for them is to pay attention and become aware of our surroundings. If parents begin to point out art to children, those children will quickly begin to return the favor by finding and showing art to parents. Museums, galleries and local art shows are obvious places to introduce children to great artwork.
Churches are a great resource for artwork. From the stained-glass windows of St. Mary downtown to the angels at Sacred Heart Cathedral, families can take some time to revel in creations meant to express love and devotion to God. Seeing how others use artwork as a way to worship can inspire us to use our own talents to praise God.
A really fun family activity is to explore your town or city for art. An Internet search for "public art" in your hometown is a great place to begin. In Rochester, for example, there is a website that lists the locations of 158 pieces of public art. The artwork ranges from whimsical to heartbreaking and represents a wide variety of artistic media. Standing together in front of a piece of art can be a wonderful opportunity for discussion. Outdoor art has the added bonus of freeing parents from some of their expectations of how children should behave in the presence of art.
When families take time to experience artwork together, it can be a great opportunity to talk about beauty and God’s grace.