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Gallery Opening: a Twist on Kid’s Art Party Theme

A while ago when Reina and I decided she’d like an art party to celebrate turning 6, my mind went straight to the gorgeous arts and crafts parties I’d seen on Pinterest. Visions of things like 3′ crayons made with pool noodles and giant water color paint palates started swirling through my head. Around 2 weeks before the party, I asked Reina to help me make a few things for the party, which lead me to the idea of the party being an Art Gallery Opening featuring Reina’s work.

But instead of it being a face value “Art Gallery” theme, one that’d likely seem ridiculously snobby and bougie, I decided to make it totally tongue in cheek—laced with a healthy dose of sarcasm and irony for the grown ups.

Just like Bugs Bunny cartoons…fun for the kids on the face of it but a whole other layer of humor for the adults 😉

Basically we had an ironic, anti-bougie art gallery party as Isabelle called it!

Before the idea was fully baked, I started on the biggest decoration—the rainbow of spilling paint. Once I’d finished it, I got the idea to title it “She Spills” and use title notation cards. I had the ladder out for hanging things and enjoyed the painter at work feeling of mounting the notation card straight on the ladder, but other than this exhibit, they were on the walls just like galleries do.

The Gallery Collection

Other gallery works included “She Grows,” “She Loves,” “She Floats,” “She Splatters” and “She Sculpts.”

Setting the Stage

To start the theme off well, I used adhesive lettering to mimic many real art gallery entry doors. I also carried the lettering throughout the party with a Guest Admissions desk, Patron Libations, Interactive Art Experience (i.e. cupcake-making station) and Artist Studio (i.e. kid’s painting area).  

The panels on either side of the door are made by Reina with the left side being handprints and the right side footprints. I used a super cheap curtain panel and cut it in half to create them. The red carpet is simply heavy red felt tacked down to our porch.

Guest Admission included a guest book type memento made with each guest and family member’s hand prints. We’re going to hang it in her play room because it turned out so well! The kids had a blast doing it and it really started the party off on a fun note.

Following the advice of famous party planner Colin Cowie, I introduced a new activity for the kids every 20-30 mins or so.

The hand print guest picture was the first activity after the kids dropped their presents. Read the full how to here. After the hand print activity, they ran around with friends (20 mins), then we guided them to decorate their cupcakes (20 mins), after which we encouraged people to snack and after a bit brought out the Birthday Cake. Once everyone finished up their cake and snacks (30 mins), we brought everyone out to the Artist Studio area and the kids painted their take home masterpieces. After 20-30 minutes of painting, the finale was a surprise bounce house session! Nothing felt rushed yet the kids stayed engaged the whole time and had a good rhythm of steady fun.

“She ____ ” Concept Continued

I carried the “She ____” gallery cards a bit further with She Indulges at the food buffet, She Appreciates at the gift table and She Gifts at the favor table.

The ‘She Gifts’ favors were simple:

Mini bubble tubes, Target dollar bin figurine and paint sets. We put them in bags with each child’s name on it along with the take home cupcake they decorated.

Kid’s Activities were decorating cupcakes to take home as favors and painting their own masterpiece. Be sure to check out our separate blog post on simple cupcake making stations here.

Decorations

The majority of the big décor installations were done by Reina including the cutout girl holding the 6 balloon and the splatter paint 6 tapestry. 

The table décor was super easy as the ‘cloth’ was simple white butcher paper, placemats came in a set and I simply created fun frames around the placemats with a black wide tip sharpie. 

AFTERNOON SWEETS AND TREATS BUFFET

The menu was simple:  chocolate cake, vanilla birthday cake, cheese puff, rainbow drinks (full how to here), a small cheese plate, pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate to look like paint brushes, rainbow fruit platter, and rice crispy treat ‘paint brushes.’

For the Patron Libations, we created a self serve bar for the grown ups. We offered pre-made pitchers of Manhattans and The Last Word cocktails displayed on our antique wine cage next to two tables set up with glasses, shakers and ice as well as beer and wine.

ARTIST STUDIO FOR THE LITTLE MASTERPIECE MAKERS

You can read about how to set up your own Artist Studio for the lowest possible cost by clicking here. I sourced carefully because the basics like paint aprons and blank canvases needed to pull this off ranged radically in cost.

GALLERY CLOSING

All in all, it was one of our most successful parties ever! The kids had an absolute blast which is always so gratifying to see. And the very best part for me was that nearly all of the decorations could be done way in advance! And all the food except for the fruit could be done in advance as well. I was much more relaxed and able to enjoy this party because of the advance work!

All photos by Marla Smith

Sources:

  • Paint splatter dress: Etsy
  • Silver ballet shoes: Nordstrom
  • Mini bubble tubes and kids figurine painting kit: Target Dollar Bin
  • For Cupcake Station how to’s and sources, click here
  • For Hand Print Keepsake how to’s and sources, click here
  • For Painting Activity how to’s and sources, click here
  • For decoration DIY and sources, click here
  • For Graffiti Cake instructions and sources, click here
  • For food buffet DIY information and sources, click here