Enjoy Messy Mondays in your home!

Published on 02 July 2020

Messy Mondays online

Enjoy Messy Mondays in your home!

Rockhampton Art Gallery offers immersive art experiences and public programs to visitors of all ages, from toddlers to lifelong learners. Its Messy Mondays program has proven to be a hit with early years children (under 5 year olds) and their parents from across the region in the three years since it began.

But with COVID-19 changing the way we do almost everything, Rockhampton Art Gallery has had to rethink how to deliver this popular program, and the solution has been to take it direct to people’s homes via the internet.

Since 2017 Messy Mondays has been the place to go for early years children and their parents, offering a friendly place to play; a place for parents with children to be welcomed into a gallery setting. Each class is hosted by an artist educator, presenting activities which are designed to enrich children's creativity and awareness of the visual world around them while also helping to develop fine motor skills.

Before COVID-19, Messy Mondays was a weekly program held twice each Monday at Rockhampton Art Gallery with a capacity of 15 children and 15 parents in each class, amounting to direct engagements of 1,560 each year.

Messy Mondays online, which is free to access, is created in a video format, through the Art Gallery’s website. The first instructional video, Make A Purple Monster, is now available here.  

Rockhampton Regional Council Community Services Spokesperson Cr Drew Wickerson said that the Gallery’s Messy Mondays Program was a valuable asset to the community.

“At Messy Mondays children are exposed to creative thinking and problem solving, and research shows that this style of play better equips our younger generation into the future.

“One of the benefits of making Messy Mondays available online is that parents can take part at a time that suits them and their children. That could be something as simple as fitting in with a child’s nap time or perhaps enabling a child to take part with a visiting grandparent,” Cr Wickerson said.

For over two years, The Capricornian has been a Messy Mondays program partner.  Although Messy Mondays in not occurring in person, The Capricornian has maintained its partnership and support for this program.

“The Capricornian is very proud to continue to be a supporter of Messy Mondays, and to help enable this innovate program to be seen by a far wider audience than just those who walk into the Gallery,” The Capricornian CEO Dale Grounds said.

“It’s a great opportunity for our littlest learners to be exposed to the arts from a young age, while being guided by a qualified Gallery educator,” Mr Grounds said.

Artist Educator Ainslie McMahon, who facilitated the Messy Mondays program at Rockhampton Art Gallery, said: “My role as an artist educator at Rockhampton Art Gallery is very rewarding. It is not only incredibly satisfying, encouraging others to enjoy the art experience, and have pride in their creation, but reinforces my understanding of the power of creativity to change lives in a positive way. Art nourishes a more inclusive community, and breaks down barriers through this commonality, which is something I witness constantly. It is an honour to guide others in being creative and learning new skills. Being an artist educator is also a valuable income source for me, providing an income to assist in continuing my studio practice.”

Amy, a parent who attended Messy Mondays with her two boys, said: “The kids really enjoy it. Having a guided activity makes it a lot easier for me to feel like I’m doing the right thing and the kids are learning new and useful things. My boys love the story time and singing along with the song as well.”


Further Information:

About the Tutor

Ainslie McMahon is a local artist educator who has been running Messy Mondays sessions at Rockhampton Art Gallery since 2017. She has exhibited widely in regional Queensland and facilitated numerous community art workshops for people of all ages. Her work is included in regional gallery collections in Bundaberg and Rockhampton, and numerous private collections.

Ainslie works from her home studio in a rural location near Rockhampton, producing contemporary artwork in the genre of the landscape and culture of Central Queensland.

Rockhampton Art Gallery is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.