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Kristen Gibbins

Did you know that the NorthPark Center art collection has works by some of the most important artists in the world? From a stack of blocks to flying figure, here are some of the best artworks to discover with your children at NorthPark Center.

Mark di Suvero’s Ad Astra

A great place to start a tour is at the giant red steel sculpture located in North Court between Nordstrom and Macy’s.  You might begin by asking your little one a few simple questions:  What color is this sculpture? How tall do you think it is?  The piece is called Ad Astra, or ‘to the stars.” When they are finished exploring the piece from Level One, take the escalator to Level Two and see how this changes their viewing experience. 

Joel Shapiro’s 20 elements

For the next stop on the tour, head to Nordstrom Court where you will be greeted by a series of bright, colorful wooden blocks.  This piece is entitled 20 elements by Joel Shapiro and tends to catch the eye of little art lovers.  Walk around the piece to see which colors they see, and ask them if they like the way the artist stacked the pieces together.   Would they have done it differently?  Have them count the blocks and see if they can, in fact, find 20 different pieces.

Ivan Navarro’s This Land is Your Land

Next up on the tour, head toward Neiman Marcus, where you will come across a series of 3 traditional water towers entitled This Land is Your Land by Ivan Navarro.  As you get closer and peer underneath each one, you will be surprised to see what appears to be an endless reflection of an image or word.  Can you read the words?  Can you see to the top of the ladder? Why do you suppose the artist chose to use a water tower?  There are no correct answers and the idea is to get your little artist thinking creatively.  If you would like to learn more, there is a sign nearby that explains the artist’s intention.

Jonathan Borofsky’s Five Hammering Men

Without a doubt, an all-time favorite sculpture for kids is Jonathan Borofsky’s Five Hammering Men located in SouthCourt, between Neiman Marcus and Dillard’s.  Children are drawn to these larger-than-life figures that seem part human/part machine as they hammer away at their task at hand.  What do you suppose they are working on? A house? A building? Be sure to check out the other enchanting pieces by the same artist located nearby entitledChattering Man Looking Up at 2,887,443 and White Flying Figure with Numbers

Roy Lichtenstein’s Double Glass

Now it’s time for a game of ‘Can you guess what this object is?’ On loan from the Nasher Sculpture Center and located between Dillard’s and Macy’s is Roy Lichtenstein’s, Double Glass.  Without giving it away by sharing with them the title beforehand, have your little one look at the piece from all sides. Can they guess what it is? Does it look like a sculpture, or rather a painting? Can everyday objects be the subject of great art? What other items in their kitchen do they consider to be interesting?

Andy Warhol’s Myths

Another popular spot for kids on the art tour is the series of pictures by Andy Warhol called Myths located on the wall of Macy’s Court.  Chances are, even if they are only a few years old, they will recognize some of these mythical characters, including Superman, Dracula, Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus. Of course, you might want to point out that Santa Claus is not, in fact, a myth, and that he will be coming to NorthPark Center very soon.