If you are looking for a fun, creative activity for your kids in Memphis, TN, The Art Project will not disappoint!
I have been wanting to visit The Art Project Memphis for oh, about the last four years! That is what little kids will do to you, delay your plans by a few years. Anyway, we finally got the chance to visit today and had a great time.
It is a great little gem for those that live in the Memphis area or a fantastic place to visit if you are with kids on a vacation in Memphis.
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What is Art Free Play?
The Art Project Memphis has structured classes but what I really love is the concept of art free play that they offer. The idea is simple but brilliant.
The materials are all there: paint, stamps, glitter and more. The kids come in and create whatever they can dream up. Their slogan is to “Create Art. Leave the Mess.” and let’s be honest, could that make your mama heart any happier. Enough said.
Where is It?
The Art Project is located in the Overton Square area. This area has been revitalized over the last few years and is one of our favorite places to go!
We love to eat at the restaurants in Overton after a fun day at the Memphis Zoo or the Children’s Museum of Memphis. And now we will add the Art Project to our list of favorite family friendly activities in Memphis!
We love just about every restaurant in this little strip. You will also find a cute outdoor courtyard at the steps of The Art Project. There is a small stage that features musical acts in good weather, corn hole, blocks, and hula hoops to play with before you even go inside to work on your art!
What to Expect At The Art Project Memphis
The cost is $15 per child for the art free play and totally worth it! After you pay for the free play, you can grab aprons for the kids and get started.
There are several different areas to play in with a variety of different materials. I will be honest, when we first walked in, I thought the kids might get bored. It is relatively small for a kids play place (though not at all cramped) and I wondered if there would be enough activities to keep them occupied.
We were there with our friends so we had 4 kids ranging from 5 years old to a one year old. Let’s just say that after an hour and a half no one was ready to go! Success!
Scribble Space Area
The set up of The Art Project Memphis is really well thought out. The Scribble Space is to your left when you enter and is filled with 12 full size easels and probably that many smaller, toddler size easels. There is also a large table that children can share to work on projects.
Completely surrounding this circular art space are large white bins. Inside the bins you will find literally every kind of art material that you can think of.
There are tons of paint brushes, markers, crayons, stamps, glue, scissors, Kwik Stix (the coolest no mess paint ever), glitter, fabric, tiny pieces of cut up paper for collages – you know all the things that make you cringe when thinking about sweeping them up from your rug. But you don’t have to worry about that here, your kids make the mess & the Art Project staff cleans it up.
I think that is what I loved the most about this place. Not once did I get upset with my kids about making a mess. We try to allow them to “be kids” at home but you know, right after you mop the floor is always when an art explosion happens!
We were of course respectful of our messes at the studio, but it was nice to not stress about a little glitter hitting the floor and being able to say of course you can open that huge container of moon sand.
They offer several drink and snack options for kids and adults in their small café. Even awesome things like coffee and beer. I think Daddy might even join us next time with those options being available.
In the café area, there are many tables and chairs that you can use to relax but they also each have an art focus. Some tables had things like moon sand with cars, animal figurines and rolling pins. Others had blocks or other building materials.
Other tables had materials and a project sheet with an idea with how to use the materials. I loved that lots of the items were recycled items which really gets kids thinking on how to be creative, not to mention is sustainably smart for the environment.
Some of the project ideas built a little flower out of wine corks and play dough tops and another used yarn and paint to create an interesting texture on the paper.
On the back wall, there is a huge chalkboard with lots of sidewalk chalk.
Along the window side of the scribble space, there are a couple of kid sized tables. On these tables we found things like play dough and cookie cutters, magna tiles, Squigz, and blocks.
There are also about 5 extra easels that are not in the Scribble Space for painting and creating. Right before we left, a birthday party arrived. First of all, I’m making note for my kid’s next birthday! Secondly, that is where my comment about the space being so well thought out comes from.
Even if you are there during a birthday party, you still have access to all of the materials. Those big, white bins surrounding Scribble Space can be accessed from either side so you can just keep on creating even if the inside of Scribble Space is reserved.
What You Will Love At The Art Project Memphis
The Size of the Studio
Although at first I thought the size might be a negative, it wasn’t and let me tell you why! First of all, they have so many things for kids to create with, there is no boredom involved. Like I said, we had 4 kids and not one complained the entire time. Is that even possible?
The smaller size also helped me not to feel exhausted when I left. Have you ever been somewhere like Chuck E. Cheese and you leave feeling like you just ran a marathon while dodging baseballs? And when you are chasing a toddler, those wide open spaces can be daunting.
I loved that I could sit in the chair in the café area and literally see the entire facility give or take.
Ok, so I may have mentioned this once or twice or 72 times so far but seriously, no mess! Your kids can pretty much do whatever within reason and not here the word no.
Not only will you not be sweeping up glitter, but you don’t even have to pick up a box of crayons and put them away. Nada.
While I was there, there were several employees and one of the owners. They were all so friendly and accommodating.
Right when we left, my little one fell outside and cut his hand on the concrete. I went back inside and they gave me a bandaid and even offered me Neosporin!
I also heard another mom asking for a room to nurse her baby, and guess what, they had a room for that.
Everything was so clean (despite the dried paint on everything – but hey it is an art place and that just adds to the colorful decor).
Although I didn’t try anything from the café, I loved the convenience of it being available. You know how it is, it never fails that you get somewhere and your kid is thirsty or hungry. And you forgot a snack. I know I can’t be the only one?
If you are in Midtown Memphis and looking for an inexpensive way to spend an afternoon creating art with your kids, give the Art Project Memphis a try. I think you will love it.