Birmingham ArtWalk 2010: The Mom’s Guide

On September 10th and 11th, Birmingham businesses and lofts located in the 1st Avenue / 2nd Avenue North area (also called the Loft District) will open their doors to over 100 talented artists and 10,000 guests for ArtWalk 2010.     You may, at first, consider this an adult event – Fine Art, Offices, Chic Lofts plus Kids is not a typical combination.   However, Birmingham’s ArtWalk is the perfect way for you to enjoy an evening or afternoon downtown while providing a great opportunity to expose your children to art, artists and kid-friendly art activities.   Here’s your guide to ArtWalk 2010.

Dates/Times: Friday, September 10th from 5pm until 10pm and Saturday, September 11th from noon to 5pm.

Friday: Enjoy music, artists and cooler temperatures as you walk through exhibits.  Each year, we seem to always find a great outdoor band and watch our kids dance.

Saturday:  Don’t miss the ARTWALK KIDZONE which is titled “Retake and Remake Recyclable Art”.  At the KidZone, located in the parking lot behind Space One Eleven (2409 2nd Avenue North), children will explore what they can do with everyday recyclable materials.  Egg carton creatures, cardboard instruments, beach in a jar, life size figure collages and professional face painting to name a few.  It’s a place to free your imagination and see things in a whole new way.  Cool refreshments and an ice cream truck too!

In addition to the KidZone, introduce your children to a wide variety of art.   Jill Marlar, a local art teacher and artist, pointed out that “children are naturally better at talking about art and expressing what they see than adults.” Noting that her passion and commitment to art was fostered by her mother, Jill made the following insightful suggestions for Birmingham parents.

  • Let the child look for themselves first and then ask what they ‘see’ in the artwork
  • Ask the child to describe what is happening and, in an abstract piece, ask them to interpret the piece.  Tell them what you see and talk about it.
  • Remember:  There is no wrong answer.
  • Talk with the artist and ask questions about technique, materials, the studio/art space and how they found their personal interest in art
  • And, if you have a budding artist, consider one on one instruction for your child.

Select Artists for Children Under the Age of 8: Children over the age of 8 can appreciate the wide variety of art presented.  For children below 8 yrs, here is a list of artists that are appropriate for the age and a great starting point for their lifelong interest in creative thought.  Examples of each artist’s work are available on the Birmingham Artwalk website.   


Su Abbott, Lisa Michitti Cross, Kate Merritt Davis


Nada Boner, Sam Cornman


Jeanne Flint, Ann Wells, Amy McClure


Beau Gufstason

Realism painting

Stephen Smith


Patrick Mayton, Jeremy Markham, Debra Eubanks Riffe, Jill Marlar


Nancy Abney

Mixed Painting or functional

Veronique Vanblaere,Melissa Jones, Paul Codes Wilm, Christy Daniel Camp


John Lytle Wilson (a huge favorite of children, he paints robots on old paintings)

Additional Birmingham Mom Tips:

  • Bring a wagon for pulling older children
  • Comfortable shoes (it’s called ArtWalk for a reason!)
  • Remember to wear play clothes or bring a t-shirt/smock if you visit the KidZone (change of clothes and wipes might also be good)
  • Plastic bag(s) for carrying wet art projects, if necessary
  • Bring a notebook or sketchbook for young children to draw or take notes about the art
  • Plan to eat downtown.  There are so many wonderful restaurants like Rogue Tavern, Urban Standard, and Brick & Tin.
  • Drive by the new railroad park and get a sneak peak – it officially opens on the 17th.
  • If you are considering purchasing art, remember to measure your wall space before heading downtown.

Note:   A map of the event locations was not available in time for this post but we’ll link it as soon as possible.

Thank  you to Jill Marlar for her advice.  She teaches art at several schools as well as private lessons.  For private lessons,  contact her at or 205-602-1256

  • Deontée Gordon

    Thanks for the wonderful write about of the event. It’s hard to believe that it’s two weeks away. If you see the guy with dreadlocks speaking into a walkie talkie, be sure to speak.

  • Brooke

    Absolutely — hope we’ll spot you! Good luck with the final details!