I am so excited to share my son's 4th birthday party with you. As I mentioned when I gave you a sneak peek at the invitation, the theme was sort of an art gallery opening reception. As you can probably tell from my parties, I don't really do cutesy. But they are always child friendly. As we are still between places (but we are looking at some tomorrow so keep your fingers crossed), my gracious friend, Taryn, offered us her lovely home. Right off the bat we had an amazing location for the party and I could have decorated with toilet paper and it still would have looked great. I came up with the theme because my son loves to do crafts (for like 2 minutes at a time, but still) so I decided to give him an art party. But when I thought about the traditional art parties for kids, I immediately thought of screaming toddlers wielding non-washable markers running down her hallways leaving her a lasting memory from the party. Not going to happen. And I really wanted to showcase my son's art (some previous projects and some done for the party). So I thought it could be really fun to have a gallery feel to it. Granted, it is a childish gallery look, but gallery nonetheless. Originally I wanted to use her large courtyard as the gallery, but clearly that was the perfect location for the bounce house (I am not fond of the look of bounce houses as a whole, but kids want what they want) so I decided on using the entryway . I had a glorious balloon chandelier installation idea but then realized that the ceilings were way to high for it. Dang it. It was going to be spectacular.
There were four elements of the invitation that I used throughout the party which you will see in upcoming posts about the party. I LOVED the painting he had done from the front of the invitation so I decided that would be the focal point of the gallery. But to make more impact I had it blown up to about 6' tall (God bless you Ryan Clark). My husband got in to the spirit of the party and worked on a special project with O. Per his request, I printed pictures of all the kids scheduled to appear at the party. His thought was that O could draw funny mustaches on people and add jewelry, etc. But he's four. So he pretty much just tried to black out all the faces. It still turned out really cute and the kids got a kick out of seeing their picture at the party. I think I am going to have O sign them and send them out with the thank you notes. Several of the finger paintings were pretty cool so we just had to figure out a way to mount them. I got a piece of foam board at Home Depot and used a decorative tape from Michaels to just give it a little something extra. For another project, I found a book at a thrift store that was from the State of California in the 50's and was all about requirements for physical education classes in the schools. It was hysterical. So I pulled out some of the best pages and had him watercolor on them. Then we simply adhered them to a large piece of cardboard. But I think my favorite project was the art he did on some fabric and was also the inspiration for the one and only art activity I set up for the children at the party. When I was in Austin, I saw a band play at Mellow Johnny's bike shop. Behind the band was this large piece of patterned fabric (at least that is what I thought it was) with a cool graphic on it. I think it is actually part of the bike shop, so if you ever end up there, go take a look. It's super cool. So I decided to get a large piece of patterned fabric and some fabric markers and see what my son came up with. I think it turned out pretty cool. More on the project in my next post. I even had him name the art and put little tags next to them like you would find at an actual show. So wow, that was a lot of writing and we've only just gotten in the front door of the party. I love creating personal parties for my family and friends. And, of course, love when they tell me they are going to steal and idea. :) This was such a fun party to plan and I can't wait to show you the rest. And don't think we aren't going to hang the 6' painting in our new house and tell people it was really expensive because we totally will. :)
*Edited to add: See all the rest of the posts for this art party here!
photo credits: me, Alyson and if they are really good, Ryan.