For Mom, Mia Young, the Museum is a Family Affair By Souleo

For Mom, Mia Young,
the Museum is a Family Affair
By Souleo

 Photo by Michael Palma Mir

Photo by Michael Palma Mir

In the fall of 2015, stay-at-home mom, Mia Young decided to enter The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling (SCHMAS) with her family. She didn’t foresee how the experience would lead to her daughter (Sienna, age 4) gaining confidence and her son (Parker, age 5) discovering the artist inside of himself. But that’s exactly what happened after a family visit led to the children participating in the Sugar Hill Museum Preschool and becoming immersed in The Museum’s visual arts and storytelling programs and exhibitions. We chatted with Young to get the Sugar Hill mom’s perspective on how The Museum can impact families for the better.   

On family life before discovering SHCMAS:

“When I grew up my parents never took us to museums. Before we came to The Museum, we would not go to museums often. As parents, we thought our kids were too young and that it wasn’t appropriate for their attention span. We would only go to museums on family days. But now when we get off the subway our kids want to know which museums are nearby. To have The Museum right on the corner of 155th street is like a little gem.” 

 Photo by Mia Young

Photo by Mia Young

On how the children evolved while coming to SHCMAS:

“The Museum has been an introduction to art for our kids. When Parker was three-years-old he went to a strict Catholic school as I did when growing up. In Catholic school you might have art class once a week but it wasn’t abstract or self-initiating. When he went to the Sugar Hill Museum Preschool, we saw he was an artist inside. He now asks people to look at his ‘masterpiece.’ He is now in a new school that is more traditional. Plus we live in a small apartment and I can’t provide a full artistic structure with supplies. So we try hard to rush back afterschool to The Museum so he can get that creative outlet. My daughter is more quiet and serious but everyone has said she is an artist too. In art programming at some places the kids just sit and follow instruction. But my daughter likes to do things her own way and not necessarily the instructor's way. At The Museum I have learned not to follow her and hover when she’s creating. I stand back and let her ask for help if she needs it. She’s become more confident and independent. Coming to The Museum has really changed everything about our kids.” 

 Photo by Mia Young

Photo by Mia Young

On how she’s changed as a parent:

“Now if the kids want to go to The Museum afterschool or on the weekend, my husband and I take them. We also try to always have supplies at home so they can do art projects. As parents we’ve learned how to view art and be aware of how it makes you feel. Now during our long commutes we talk about what’s outside the window. We are in this concrete jungle and it’s wonderful to go The Museum and see a whole different world.”

[This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity]