Sunday, September 15th, 2013...1:44 pm
Taking Kids to Castle Hill – Questionably Appropriate…
Yesterday afternoon I had no plan. The sun was shining, Miles woke up pretty early from his nap and Nora had exhausted all of the usual Saturday games we play. Perhaps because of my brother-in-law’s Slate piece this week, or because Nora and I had spent much of Miles’ nap time doing her homework and discussing creativity, I had graffiti on my mind. I wonder if taking kids to the walls at Castle Hill is a good idea, I thought. A google search was no help (maybe this post will fix that), so I decided to try it. I hadn’t been to these walls since they became a permanent graffiti spot last spring so into the car we went and headed downtown.
Nora was amazed from the very moment we drove up. Both the scale of the art and the challenge of walking all around the hill made her declare this adventure a success before we even got out of the car.
But I think she was a bit premature in her declaration. There’s no shade on the hill in the afternoon, so if you decide to venture out to see the walls, I definitely advise making it a cooler day activity.
Despite the heat, we climbed around on the first level of the hill, walking up to the art and touching it, looking at the layers of color and wondering what it was before the current display. Nora could navigate the first level well and, had she made a smarter shoe choice, could have walked up the hillside to the next level too. Miles slipped and slid all around on the loose dirt and I ended up holding him up or picking him up almost the whole way.
While we explored, we found two graffiti projects in progress – one being done by a team of artists and another by an individual. Miles stood and watched her spray her colors on the wall, still and trying to comprehend what she was doing and how he could get closer. Nora declared that her favorite picture was of a lady painted in red putting on her lipstick. Except… it wasn’t lipstick, though I certainly let her believe it was.
So? Is the Castle Hill graffiti wall a good place to take kids? Sort of. I’d say Miles was a bit too young because he wasn’t able to really walk around safely. It was fine yesterday as just a quick trip to look around, but if you really want to explore the whole thing, 2 year olds aren’t really ready. Nora was a perfect age, perhaps, since she was interested in the art but innocent enough not to understand some of the inevitable “bad” messages on the walls and since she can’t read too well yet, the messages were mostly lost on her. If she could read, I might have had some interesting questions to answer. We did have a really interesting conversation about graffiti and art and property. I’d go back again. When it’s not 100 degrees out…