This January the NGV want you to remember that Art is for everyone. Featuring artist-led workshops, digital dance parties and guided meditation for families, the NGV Kids Summer Festival is nine days of FREE programs, workshops and events designed especially for kids, teens and their families. Inspired by the NGV Triennial, a gallery-wide exhibition of contemporary art, design and architecture, the NGV Kids Summer Festival features both in-person and online offerings, allowing families to participate on-site at the NGV or from the comfort of their own home. 

Curated around the theme ‘art is for everyone’, festival highlights include an online workshop led by Japanese artist Misaki Kawai and inspired by her free NGV Kids exhibition as part of NGV Triennial, at NGV International.  Moja Moja Life: Misaki Kawai for Kids features a display of colourful furry dog sculptures and a puppet-making studio. Drawing on the artist’s love of making puppets and performing shows with her brother as a child, Misaki will help kids to create a paper dog park using recycled materials, which they can use to perform puppet shows for friends and family. 

Children enjoying Misaki Kawai’s Hide and Seek with Arty scavenger hunt in the NGV Grollo Equiset Garden for NGV Kids Summer Festival 2021 at NGV International, Melbourne.
Photo: Eugene Hyland

Moja Moja Life: Misaki Kawai for Kids will also be open for ‘relaxed sessions’, which provides an opportunity for young visitors with autism or disability who may benefit from a quieter experience to access the children’s exhibition before the Gallery opens with fewer visitors and reduced sensory stimuli. Throughout January, families will also be able to experience Kawai’s colourful world in a special off-site display presented exclusively at Chadstone: The Fashion Capital. 

Yorta Yorta rapper Adam Briggs will read his new children’s book Our Home, Our Heartbeat in a special virtual event on Thursday 14 January and be available to view online afterwardsThe story is based on his 2015 song The Children Came Back and is described as a celebration of past and present Indigenous legends. Briggs is a rapper, writer, presenter and actor, known for co-founding the hip hop duo A.B.Original as well as writing for Netflix animated series Disenchantment from the creators of The Simpsons

Live and in-person, Melbourne artist Kenny Pittock will introduce young audiences to his ways of making art, which is characterised by wordplay and traverses sculpture, ceramics, drawing and painting. In his drawing activity, children can create unusual ice-cream flavours for animal tastes, such as cabbage-flavoured ice-cream for snails.  

Melbourne-based Little Warriors Yoga will lead children and families in an online guided yoga and meditation session to reflect, relax and explore the calming effect of nature, inspired by Lee Ufan’s painting Dialogue, 2017 and Kengo Kuma and Geoff Nees’ Botanical pavilion 2020 structure on display in the NGV Triennial. Melbourne dance icons, Body Electric Dance Studios, will also host a digital dance party that encourages kids and families to get active, and learn new moves from their own lounge room. 

Little Warriors Yoga guides a yoga class for NGV Kids Summer Festival 2021.
Photo: Eugene Hyland

In an online program for teenagers titled NGV Teens: What is?, Melbourne-based interior designer Danielle Brustman leads an interactive online program exploring colour in interior design, followed by a furniture model making activity using coloured paper. 

Indonesian artist collective Tromarama investigate the relationship between the virtual and physical world, and lead an activity inspired by their NGV Triennial work, Solaris, 2020 a mural-sized LED curtain that uses a software program usually used in video game platforms. Fashion designer Jade Sarita Arnott, founder of local label Arnsdorf, will introduce teens to the concept of sustainable fashion and how it’s incorporated in Arnsdorf, followed by a hands-on activity repurposing old clothes into a functional bag. 

Troy Emery hosts an online art making workshop for NGV Kids Summer Festival 2021.
Photo: Eugene Hyland

The festival will also feature a host of online artist-led creative workshops, offering kids the opportunity to meet artists virtually and ask questions through the chat function. Artist-led workshops include weaving with Cassie Leatham; creating animal faces with Troy Emery; and collaged habitats with artist and author Tai Snaith. 

‘Early encounters with art and design can be a formative experience for young people. The free NGV Kids Summer Festival is a cornerstone of our year-round program for kids and teenagers and offers access to vital and life-changing cultural experiences. The NGV is committed to enriching the creative lives of our young people and their families – both online and in the Gallery – because today’s young people are the artists of tomorrow.’ 

Tony Ellwood AM, Director of the NGV

Throughout the school holidays, the NGV Kids Summer Festival live online events will be available to view online after they have been streamed live and families can download free activity sheets and games to complete at home. 

‘The NGV is owned by the people of Victoria and the NGV Triennial is truly a gift for all ages. Onsite, and online, the NGV Kids Summer Festival will offer a wealth of free Triennial-inspired events and activities for young people and their families. It’s a program for everyone and one that demonstrates once again why our NGV is Australia’s most popular gallery.’ 

Minister for Creative Industries, Danny Pearson.

NGV Kids Summer Festival is generously supported by The Truby and Florence Williams Charitable Trust managed by Equity Trustees, City of Melbourne and the Spotlight Foundation. 

The NGV is grateful to the Packer Family and Crown Resorts Foundations for supporting Relaxed Sessions as part of the Your NGV Arts Access Program for Students, Children and Families. The NGV also thanks The JTM Foundation for its support of Relaxed Sessions. 

NGV International, The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and online | 9 – 17 January 2021 | FRE



Main Photo: Children play in Moja Moja Life: Misaki Kawai for Kid, part of NGV Triennial from 19 December 2020 – 18 April 2021 at NGV International, Melbourne. Photo: Eugene Hyland