Museo del Niño for the child within us all

24/Enero/2012 | 18:25

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Museo del Niño… y del Niño en el Adulto (MNNA) offers a new artistic proposal for men, women, and children of Quito.  Since last summer the  "Museum" has been in the business of bringing out the child in everyone who visits.

Kicking off their variety of programs with "Verano Creativo" (Creative Summer); a creative alternative for summer, kids aged 3-9 were able to work alongside renowned national artists such as Vicky Camacho. The resulting works, like much of the art created within the museum's walls, were exhibited in the gallery space of the Museum in September of last year.

Since then the Museum has offered for schools and organizations.

Not a school

The Museum is indeed an interesting place, with an innovative concept for Quito.

"Our aim is to strengthen relationships and improve communication between young and old, artists and non-artists, through a creative platform," says co-founder and artistic director Ilán Greenfield.

"We are not a school," Greenfield insists, "and we do not pretend to be one, either. The programs and workshops we offer aim at enabling an individual's creative potential to take shape at their own pace, later celebrating it publicly as a group, through exhibits or events. In this sense, we like to think of ourselves as complimentary to education and educational institutions in general, whose focus is justifiably placed on learning."

Why Museum?

"In a sense, there is a play on words here," admits Greenfield. "By museum, one often refers to a kind of sacred monument, whose content is not to be touched. Perhaps we could consider it a living museum, in this respect. Perhaps we are the exact opposite of a museum. We don't 'archive' finished products. What we intend to archive, if anything, is the process: the creativity and work that goes into whatever our visitors put their minds into creating."

He adds, "We believe the process - the 'work in progress' -    is also a valid reflection of who we are as individuals, and as a society as a whole."

Greenfield takes the work that is done at the museum very seriously, whether it is a recognized artist sharing his time or a child exploring his innate capacity for self-expression. He goes on to say that the most difficult client, so to speak, is the accompanying parent, reluctant to momentarily let go of his role as an adult and spontaneously "make art" alongside his/her child. "When adult visitors finally do let themselves get taken in by the act of creating, it proves to be a quite gratifying experience both for them and the child, who sees his/her parent in a different light, suddenly becoming a kid again. "That's what we're about!"

How it all began

The Museum is the extension of a two-year old project formerly known as "Museo en el Parque" (museum in the park), started by Greenfield and his wife, Maia Gambis, shortly after moving to Quito from Paris, France with their then 8-month old daughter Luna. Their initiative stemmed from a personal desire to find an alternative to daycare; a place where families could come and be together and get to know one another in a casual setting, all while being creative.

Every weekend, two tents were set up in different local public parks: Under one, an array of art supplies were laid out, while the other had an eclectic assortment of musical instruments along with different props for dress up and playing around. Admission was free though Museum t-shirts and donations were welcomed.

The Museum in the Park became popular within the community and a way for the founders to join their passions and background in the arts (Greenfield is a writer and musician, and Maia a photographer), while enriching their social circle and integrating themselves into life in Quito.

The project soon became difficult to maintain as a weekly event, though, leading them to seek permanent headquarters in La Floresta.

Something for all ages

Greenfield and Gambis's heartfelt commitment to enrich the community as a whole is what truly stands out as you sit with visitors who are actively drawing, gluing, painting and sculpting in the museum garden.

The Museum seems to be the sum of a natural progression of ideas that have slowly come together in an original way. It is bubbling with energy, with a mix of near and abroad, something for all ages (children and adults alike) and the chance to let go and free your mind. It is an exciting place; "a find," especially for anyone with children in a small city like Quito.

And if you’re just passing through, the Museum offers interesting exhibits of contemporary artists that are worth seeing.

For more information and a complete overview of their hours and schedule, log onto their website: or call (02) 222 8463.

Tuesday to Friday  from 15h30-17h30, stop by unannounced for “Arte Libre” in the garden (all ages welcome). MNNA workshops begin from ages 3 and up. Evenings are reserved for adult workshops. Saturdays and Sundays alternate between art activities in the garden, and shows in the MNNA theatre (please check the calendar).

*Please note that MNNA also caters to schools and various institutions, through their program “conocer al artista”.