Skip to Main Content

Release Date: October 18, 2011

Free Family-Friendly Programs at the National Gallery of Art this Fall Celebrate Warhol Exhibition, Permanent Collection, and More

Washington, DC—This fall the National Gallery of Art offers an array of family activities, including a talk and children's book signing for Belle: The Amazing, Astonishingly Magical Journey of an Artfully Painted Lady. The popular Film Program for Children and Teens also returns in October, November, and December with films from the United States as well as Belgium, France, and Canada.

Just in time for Halloween, young visitors can take a trip back in time with the Victorian Halloween Magic-Lantern Show in October, starring Terry Borton, the lead showman of the American Magic-Lantern Theatre. In November the Gallery presents the film On the Sly, which follows a young girl's adventures after she secretly stays behind following a family trip. In December the film program celebrates the Warhol: Headlines exhibition with Scribble, Dot, Pop!, introducing young audiences to Andy Warhol and incorporating several animated films that explore the unique qualities that artists share.

These films enhance enjoyment of the Gallery's collections and exhibitions and foster an understanding of film as an art form. The film program aims to represent a broad range of recently produced films, selected for their appeal to youthful and adult audiences. Age recommendations are intended to guide parents in selecting emotionally and intellectually stimulating films for their children.

On November 13 the author and the illustrator of Belle: The Amazing, Astonishingly Magical Journey of an Artfully Painted Lady, Mary Lee Corlett and Phyllis Saroff, will offer a talk and book signing. The title character of the book is a butterfly who has escaped from a painting in the National Gallery of Art and flutters around, learning about the world famous collection.

Families may also explore the collection together using the children's audio and video tour. Designed especially for children ages 7 to 12, the tour highlights masterpieces from the West Building's Main Floor galleries. Newly available online, the children's video tour allows children to engage with 50 renowned paintings on display in the Gallery's West Building.

With an ongoing schedule of family-friendly activities and shopping—including family workshops, special family weekends, storytelling programs, teen studios, exhibition discovery guides, the Children's Shop, ice-skating in the Sculpture Garden, and casual dining in the Cascade Café—visitors of all ages may enjoy the Gallery's many offerings.

For more information about family programming, visit

Film Program for Children and Teens

All film programs are shown in the East Building Auditorium. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Groups are welcome. Food and drink are not permitted. Programs are free and subject to change without notice. For up-to-date information on the current month's films, please call (202) 789-3030. Feature films are in English, unless otherwise noted.

Victorian Halloween Magic-Lantern Show
Saturday, October 22, 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, October 23, 11:30 a.m.
ages 4 and up
Travel back in time with Terry Borton, lead showman of the American Magic-Lantern Theater, for an authentic 1890s-style big-screen extravaganza. The magic-lantern show is the direct predecessor of the movies, predating silent films. Slides illustrate stories and songs, and a live showman and musician provide the soundtrack. This show will include such Victorian-era stories as The Specter Pig, as well as sing-alongs such as "The Worms Crawl In."

On the Sly
(Olivier Ringer, Belgium/France, 2011, 77 minutes)
Saturday, November 5, 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, November 6, 11:30 a.m.
ages 8 and up
Tired of being ignored by her parents, six-year-old Cathy decides to see what would happen if she vanished from her ordinary life. When her family loads up the car to return home to Paris after their trip to the country, Cathy secretly stays behind at their weekend cottage. The story slowly unfolds to reveal Cathy's daily routines alone, balancing her playful imagination with solid determination, before ultimately reuniting with her family. In French with English subtitles. Shown in conjunction with the Kids Euro Festival.

Scribble, Dot, Pop!
Saturdays, December 3 and 10, 10:30 a.m.
Sundays, December 4 and 11, 11:30 a.m.
ages 4 and up
Enjoy a series of animated films celebrating the unique qualities that artists of all ages and experiences share. Explore the life and art of Andy Warhol in the fun and gentle film Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists: Andy Warhol (Mike Venezia, USA, 2007, 24 minutes), which presents a family-friendly biography of Warhol and an introduction to pop art. Also included are the short films Art (Konstantin Bronzit, USA, 2008, 6 minutes), the tale of a young boy who joyfully scribbles and doodles his way to a masterpiece; Asthma Tech (Jonathan Ng, Canada, 2006, 7 minutes), the story of an asthmatic boy who discovers that his imagination has the power to bridge gaps; and The Dot (Gary Goldberger, USA, 2004, 7 minutes), which encourages children to believe in themselves and their art.

Book Talk and Signing
Belle: The Amazing, Astonishingly Magical Journey of an Artfully Painted Lady
Sunday, November 13, 11:30 a.m.
ages 9 and up
Meet author Mary Lee Corlett and illustrator Phyllis Saroff of Belle: The Amazing, Astonishingly Magical Journey of an Artfully Painted Lady (Bunker Hill, 2011) and hear how they were inspired to create a children's book based on a painting in the collection of the National Gallery of Art. For years Belle, a painted butterfly, has been quietly hovering over a beautiful white poppy in a 17th-century Dutch painting. Magically dislodged as her painting is moved by museum staff, Belle and fellow butterfly Brimstone lose track of the cart carrying their painting—and are on their own to find their way back home. The talk will be approximately 50 minutes, and will be followed by a book signing.

Children's Video and Audio Tour: West Building Highlights

Explore 50 paintings in the West Building with a video and audio tour designed especially for children aged 7 to 12. The video tour allows children to study the works of art through an online tour featuring individual videos. The tour is also available at the Gallery on handheld digital audio players that encourage children to move through the galleries at their own pace and choose from a list of stops that include works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and Winslow Homer. The audio tour is available free of charge and may be picked up at the Acoustiguide desk in the Rotunda (Main Floor, West Building). To order group reservations for audio tours (ten or more), call (202) 842-6592. The National Gallery of Art's Children's Audio Tour is made possible through the generous support of the MSST Foundation.

Family Guides: Italian, Dutch, and American Art at the National Gallery of Art

Pick up a free family booklet at one of the Gallery's information desks. Designed for families with children ages 6 and up, each booklet helps guide visitors' exploration of the Gallery's Italian, Dutch, and American collections, with suggestions for activities as well as questions to encourage discussion. Study a portrait by Leonardo da Vinci, test your imaginary taste buds looking at Dutch still-life paintings, and write a letter from within your favorite American landscape painting. 

NGAkids Online

An entertaining and informative introduction to art and art history, NGAkids online offers a variety of art-making tools, games, and narratives suitable for children of all ages. Featuring highlights of the Gallery's permanent collection, content related to special exhibitions, and Art Zone interactive features that stimulate artistic exploration and creativity, this website, created especially for kids, provides hours of online enjoyment.

The Children's Shop

The Children's Shop on the Concourse offers an array of art-inspired items for children, including books, games and puzzles, toys, artists' supplies, and DVDs. To browse a small selection online, visit

Cascade Café

With a view of the cascade waterfall on the East Building Concourse, the Cascade Café offers a variety of soups, salads, specialty entrées, wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, daily Chef's Table specials, and a selection of fresh pastries and desserts. A selection of Value Meals is available at several food stations, including sandwiches, pizza, hamburgers, and chicken tenders. For those with limited time, the Café offers boxed lunches containing a sandwich, chips, cookie, and a beverage, which may be ordered in advance. For information about boxed lunches and group lunch vouchers, please call (202) 712-7458. Hours of operation are Monday–Saturday, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Espresso & Gelato Bar

A full espresso bar on the East Building Concourse offers 19 flavors of house-made gelato and a selection of fresh sandwiches, salads, pastries, and desserts. Hours of operation are Monday–Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Sculpture Garden Ice Rink

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink is open mid-November through mid-March, weather permitting. Visitors of all ages may view magnificent sculpture while skating in the open air and enjoying music from the state-of-the-art sound system.

General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

The Gallery also offers a broad range of newsletters for various interests. Follow this link to view the complete list.

Exhibition Page:
Warhol: Headlines

September 25, 2011 – January 2, 2012