Two Kindergartners Walk Into City Hall
Apr 17, 2019 01:10PM
● By Rachel Belfield
After interviewing Shoreline’s public art coordinator in "An Unintimidating Introduction to Public Art Around Shoreline," I finally worked up the nerve to take my children to see the Edwin Pratt exhibit at Shoreline City Hall. With the exhibit running just through Friday, April 26, and my son attending the Early Learning Center named in honor of the slain civil rights leader, to miss this opportunity would be a shame.
So with my preschooler, kindergartner, and a neighbor friend in tow, we waltzed into the building, not sure if staff would be welcome or wary of our visit.
As it turns out, the staff and other visitors to city hall could not have been more welcoming! We were greeted with smiles and friendly glances, with not a gruff face, stern word, or even a shhh to be heard. (In fact, we were invited into get a glimpse of the council chamber! No sausage was being made at this time, but I was relieved that our city officials are so welcoming of our youngest residents and supportive of what may become a lifetime of civic engagement.)
We breezed up to the third floor on the elevator and were free to browse the artwork in peace, paging through a thoughtful guide available for visitors, and reading the explanatory plaques next to each work.
While my kiddos were a bit young to reflect on the artwork inspired by Edwin Pratt, when I mentioned that he fought for all people to be treated equally, my daughter’s six-year-old friend cheerily replied, “Like Martin Luther King!” I’ll consider that a testament to a kindergartener’s understanding of the subject and take it as a win for public education.
After we spent about ten minutes at the Edwin Pratt exhibit, we returned to the airy and bright lobby of City Hall. The delicate acrylic Cloud Bank hanging from the ceiling is gorgeous and just realistic enough for little ones to exclaim excitedly, “look at the clouds inside a building!”
A wooden butterfly and sculpture were a little too tempting to be touched and climbed on for this nervous mama, so we discussed them briefly and then headed out to the lawn for an impromptu session of running, rolling, and flower picking. We even sneaked in a bit more art exposure with a walk past the Redwood Lantern and our own interpretations of The Skater.
In the end, I was relieved that I took my children and myself to see the tribute to Edwin Pratt, although the exhibit might be better suited to children in upper elementary or older grades, who can understand the themes and appreciate the artists’ work. We’ll definitely be back to visit the upcoming watercolor show, without hesitation now that we know it’s a welcoming space for Shoreline residents of all ages.