Children sitting in front of painting at the San Antonio Museum of Art

Children’s program experiences San Antonio Museum of Art.

Addison Seebach gently caressed a piece of white faux fur. She tried to imagine it in the painting in front of her.

“It feels soft… and fluffy,” Addison said.

She sat in front of a 7-foot portrait of Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt at the San Antonio Museum of Art. The painting by John Singer Sargent depicted the subject standing on plush white fur, wearing a silky red dress and standing next to an ornate side table.

SAMA Educator Tripp Cardiff explained the portrait to a group of students from our children’s program through a multi-sensory experience.

In addition to the faux fur, the students used their sense of touch to feel a piece of silky red fabric representing the red dress, an ornate piece of wood to understand the detailing on the side table and a smooth stone to imagine the texture on the tabletop.

The group also listened to classical music composed in 1888, the same year the painting was produced, and smelled a vial with scent notes from a perfume made the same year.

In front of another artwork, the group smelled a vial with a mix of rain, pine and wet dirt scents to get the earthiness portrayed in “Passing Storm over the Sierra Nevadas” by Albert Bierstadt. They also listened to the sound of a rainstorm hitting a body of water and explored a piece of granite.

“I really enjoyed learning about the art pieces,” Addison said. “I feel like I really got to experience them.”

Are you or somebody you know experiencing vision loss?

Request low vision help