Kids Experience Columbus Art

Our city has become an artistic epicenter, and there are so many opportunities to share this art with your families. From mural-hunting in the Short North to hands-on experience in our Columbus maker-spaces, there are lots of options for little ones. Here are some ways you can experience, encounter, and appreciate art in Columbus:

The Columbus Arts Festival
June 10-12
Columbus Riverfront

It is the 55th annual festival, and the Columbus Makes Art Activity Village looks like a lot of fun this year! This is just a small part of the experience, as there will be hundreds of vendors and festival food, of course. They need 100 volunteers to make this work, so please consider volunteering your time for a shift (sign up here) and stay for the fun! Here are all the fun things planned for the kids' area:

  • Shadowbox Live: Stop by to get a sneak peek at 'Shadowbox Playcafe.' Kids will get crazy with theater warm up games, pick out costumes, and jump into a madhouse rehearsal for a classic fairytale show. Parents and friends join us at the end of the one hour session for the grand opening of your child's production.
  • Cobenick Studios: Help create a series of sculpted paper murals using raw, recycled cotton paper pulp. 
  • Columbus Crew SC: Test your soccer skills and see if you can hit all 4 targets at our Accuracy Strike Activity. Also enter to win some cool Crew SC giveaways and walk away with some Crew SC prizes.
  • Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: Come meet some of the animals, and stay to create your own paper animal to take home.
  • Ohio History Connection: Decorate an 1890s-era style mustache on a stick.
  • Fantasy Cupcake: Create edible cookie art. Learn to make fondant cut-out decorations to take home. For a small fee, you can also frost and decorate a fresh baked sugar cookie to display your edible art pieces.
  • Game-U: Stop by to play video games built by students, or participate in a demo.
  • Igloo Letterpress: Each participant will get a chance to hand-ink a poster, created using our antique wood-type, and pull a print on our antique 1890's printing press. You may purchase your poster for $5.00.
  • Art Garden Studios: Stamp, draw, and decorate a bag to hold all of your Festival loot! 
  • Ohio Craft Museum: Young artists can express themselves by designing a mask that can be uniquely embellished with a variety of craft supplies. 
  • Last, they provide a scavenger hunt, which is always a win. Those are great for keeping kids' interest while you browse the areas for things you would like to see.

photos provided by Columbus Arts Festival

The Pizzuti Collection Family Days
632 North Park Street
Columbus 43215

On the first Sunday of every month, admission is FREE for families, and kid-friendly activities are planned for various times. Children get a free sketchbook and can participate in a scavenger hunt and child-centered guided tours three times per day. Please check the site for updated dates and times.

Columbus College of Art and Design
60 Cleveland Avenue
Columbus 43215

If your child (grade 1-12) has a serious love for art, you may want to consider Saturday workshops at CCAD to further their exploration and techniques in several mediums. Scholarships may be available, and coffee shops are popping up all over that area so you have something to do while you wait for your little Picasso.

Columbus Museum of Art
480 East Broad Street
Columbus 43215

Visit for FREE on Sundays, or come when it is less crowded during the week. The Wonder Room in the basement is amazing, and there is something interesting to look at around every corner of the galleries. Read our review for more details and to plan your visit.

Short North Arts District
High Street

We love spotting murals on the buildings in the Short North. They are fun to memorize (here comes the upside-down lady!" "Can you find the copper lady?"), and if you walk up to them, you can see the artists' name and title of the piece. If you are feeling confident, try a gallery like Sherrie and Lindsay, who are known to be welcoming to curious children. Our guide might help you plan your visit.

Clint Davidson murals
Various locations, below are in Glen Echo Ravine and on South 18th Street

Speaking of murals, our family has enjoyed finding Clint Davidson's striking murals across the city. They are easily recognizable with the vibrant, contrasting colors and his characteristic lettering. We tend to find them in areas of revitalization, and the bird mural under Indianola led to all kinds of discussions about Ohio birds.

Franklin Park Conservatory
1777 East Broad Street
Columbus 43203

You probably go for the flowers and the butterflies. But did you notice all the art that surrounds you at the Conservatory? The Chihuly glass, the galleries, and opening this week: Origami in the Garden!  These colossal structures tell the stories of Asians in America, and I can't WAIT to see them. Every Thursday, there are preschool programs, and every Saturday, art activities for children.

Art Studios for Kids (Paper Moon, Art with Anna, Zen Kids Cafe)
I love that Paper Moon's philosophy focuses on the process, not the product. These places allow children to explore (and probably to make a mess) at their own pace and get them to enjoy creating. Many have family fun nights, toddler workshops, and summer camps.

Topiary Garden
480 East Town Street
Columbus 43215

Take the family to picnic inside a work of art! This amazing topiary garden is based off Sunday afternoon on the Isle of la Grande Jatte, by  Georges Seurat. I know my children love nothing more than an open place to run and play, and this is the perfect spot to bring art and play together.

The Wexner Center and The Columbus Cultural Arts Center are also great options. At this time, I did not see any children's programming available, but I know they have it from time to time. 

(Thank you to my amazingly artsy friend, Mara, for being my trusted advisor in this area)

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