My gallery doesn't have a private, accessible space for feeding mothers, what else can I offer?
Not all breastfeeding mothers require privacy, but if they prefer it, they may have their own cover-up, scarf or some kind of nursing apparel - often all that is required is a comfortable chair (ie. one with a back). Some people are totally comfortable nursing in public, and others aren’t - you can always offer a seat and let them know they are welcome to either way.
My gallery doesn't have a baby change room or table, how can we make our space more accessible/what can we provide?
Again, a whole separate space is not necessary. If you can offer a foam change mat, that will still be much preferable to having to change a nappy on the bare floor of the toilet! But a change mat can also be used on any flat surface - table, ottoman or gallery floor. Most parents will carry some kind of bag to transport dirty ones on the run, but providing a bin for the odd nappy would also help.
Another option could be to find out where the nearest venues with baby change/family rooms are and make a list available to parents. Big shopping centres, museums, universities, libraries and sometimes transport hubs usually have baby change cubicles, if not more extensive facilities.
If my gallery provided snacks for kids at openings, how could we stop adults from eating them?
Kids snacks could be put on a “kids table” or kept behind the bar and signposted for parents who need them. There’s probably no perfect way manage it, but if parents are attending an opening with kids, they are going to be there front and centre at the start of the night, so probably very little risk of anyone else getting to the food before them!
My gallery has limited space, making a dedicated “kids corner” almost impossible, but we’d still like to have activities for kids - can you recommend resources for this?
There are tonnes of websites that offer free kids activity sheets available to download online - from dedicated educational resources, to pinterest boards. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Museum educational resources
Most big galleries produce educational resources for school children. Each of these kits is aimed at specific age groups and specific shows, but if you were keen, you could extract some great ideas from these to make up your own resources. Here are some examples:
Google “kids colouring pages” and off you go:
Make sure to have some coloured pencils/crayons/textas available too.
Free activity sheets
There are a number of sites where you can download activity sheets for all topics and ages. A volunteer or intern could while away an invigilating shift picking their favourite ones to print out and keep handy.
My gallery has limited administrative resources, and although we are interested in programming special events, we are not sure how best to focus our efforts?
Start with what is most available to your gallery. If that means changing operating or opening hours slightly - start there. Maybe a bigger event is something that you could work towards. But think of it this way: if every gallery had one event a year that was child and parent friendly in some way, there would be literally dozens of events and shows accessible to artist parents that were not before.
My gallery has very limited resources for installation - is there anything we could do to assist artist parents apart from paying for child care?
Yes! Having a change mat, bin, baby feeding welcome sign and somewhere to feed the baby would all help as a base line. If you and your staff felt comfortable, you could also offer to watch the baby in the space with the artist while they are installing. Activity sheets, coloured pens and pencils, books or old toys (like in a doctor’s office or cafe) could all come in handy during install. A cheap playpen could also be strategically deployed. Talk to artists with kids who are showing in your space and ask them what you might be able to help with - you might find there are ways you can help you had not anticipated.