HONOLULU - "I always get excited when I come to museums," said 10-year-old family member Rebecca Childers. "I see things I've never seen before."

Childers, along with her mother and three siblings - Timothy, 13, Grace, 5 and Gabriel, 2, recently participated in a free tour offered at The Contemporary Museum (TCM), here, as part of the museum's Military Family Outreach Program.

The program, which provides free one-day membership passes to all active duty, reserve, retired military and their families, was launched to coincide with the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce's May Military Appreciation Month activities.

Seeing mixed media art was a unique experience for Rebecca and her younger sister Grace.

The two girls stood in front of a large canvas filled with charred glass, paint and numerous paper products, creating a genre of art that was new to them.

"What is it'" Grace asked her big sister.

"It's amazing," said Rebecca. "I mean, this artwork has a bunch of different materials, and they just put it together and made art."

After looking at the piece a bit longer, the young critic turned and added, "I think it means we should recycle."

Rebecca's mother, Eileen Childers, said she enjoys exposing her children to new ideas and places.

"Being in the military offers all these unique opportunities. It opens your eyes and allows you to travel," said Rebecca's mother. "We like to do and experience as much as possible."

"Being in the Army is a perfect fit for us," added Eileen.

On their first trip to TCM, the Childers family viewed numerous pieces of art including another mixed media piece that caught the eye from far away.

"There's an American flag over there," said Eileen, pointing at the piece to show her children.

As the family stepped closer, they saw the American flag was created by using hundreds of images of Soldiers who had lost their lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The piece, by Tom Sewell, also displayed flashing images of Soldiers in the left corner.
"Looks different from far away," said Eileen. "Art can change in a second. It's all a matter of perspective."

"Seems like you can use anything to make art," said Rebecca. "I'm going to try it."

The young artist and her family then moved outside to the Nuumealani gardens, or "heavenly terrace." As they walked through the floral wonderland, each member of the family spoke of what they learned and the new art they saw.

"The moving statue was pretty cool," said the eldest sibling, Timothy.

"I liked that the artwork had nature in it," said Rebecca.

"This museum is fantastic," said Grace. "I'm glad we came to visit."

TCM is Hawaii's only museum devoted exclusively to contemporary art.

The TCM's mission is to develop public appreciation and understanding of contemporary art through exhibition and education programs.

With the new, ongoing TCM Military Family Outreach program, military and their families may return as often as they want throughout the year.

"This special offer is our way of taking care of those who take care of us," said Charlie Aldinger, director of museum advancement, TCM. "We appreciate their service and the sacrifices made by their families."

Aldinger also stated that TCM is dedicated to bringing quality contemporary art to the residents of Oahu.

BAE Systems SSL, a global defense, security and aerospace company, and Boutiki, a not-for-profit volunteer-run gift shop at Pearl Harbor Naval Base, sponsor the Military Family Outreach Program.

For more information about The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, visit <a href="http://www.tcmhi.org">www.tcmhi.org</a> or call 808-526-1322.

Page last updated Fri May 15th, 2009 at 23:01