The Art Loft

In The Art Loft, children learn to create visual art that is meaningful to them using both authentic and unconventional art-making tools and materials.  Guided by program specialists, children engage in unique visual arts projects that support their exploration of ideas, development of skills, and ability to perceive aesthetically.  Experiences offered in The Art Loft change regularly and may include drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, or sculpture.  Parents and caregivers can expect to spend about 30 minutes in The Art Loft assisting children in the art processes.

Experiences in The Art Loft are designed for children ages 4-10.  Older and younger siblings are also welcome in The Art Loft.  However, the tools and processes used may not be developmentally appropriate for younger children.  We encourage families with 2 and 3 year olds to visit the Art Studio in The Wonder Cabinet, where experiences are designed specifically for them.  Please note that The Art Loft closes at 4:00 pm each day to allow staff time to clean.

The Art Loft Hours

For ages 4 - 10 and their caregivers; siblings welcome

Jump down to current Art Loft activities

Visual arts experiences in The Art Loft honor the artistic traditions of the many cultures present in Silicon Valley, both in the context of celebrations and in everyday life.  Past activities have included tissue paper blossom trees (Hoa Mai) from Vietnam, Chinese paper lanterns, Mariachi instruments, and the decoration of skulls (Calaveras) for Day of the Dead.

Engagement in the visual arts can expand how a child understands and relates to others and the world perceptually, intellectually, culturally, and spiritually.  The art-making process encourages children to stretch their minds in ways that other subjects may not – using invention, imagination, and emotion.  The knowledge and skills they acquire through the arts can transfer to new ways of understanding traditional academic subjects, like science and math.

Experiences in The Art Loft are open-ended.  Children use the tools and materials available to follow their own artistic visions and communicate meaning through art.  The art processes are designed to support a child’s ability to intuit, symbolize, and express ideas visually.


Tracey Heymann Wing: Grand Opening

Honoring Tracey Heymann, former Art Loft intern, the gallery space between the Art Loft and The Wonder Cabinet has been renovated, thanks to generous contributions to the Heymann Memorial Fund. This space is dedicated to showcasing the creative work of children.

Meet the Artist
Julia Goodman
Saturday, March 1st
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Visual Artist Julia Goodman will talk about her artwork with beets of all sizes and colors! Explore the Mangelwurzel beet as material and inspiration. Join us for beet-inspired drawings and leave with your very own beet seedball!

For more about the artist, visit Goodman's work is featured at the San Jose Museum of Art's Around the Table: Food, Creativity, Community.

Art Gallery

A Canvas of Color

Tuesday, February 11 – Sunday, April 6
“A Canvas of Color” features collaborative and individual artworks on paper and canvas created by visitors in the Museum’s Art Loft.

Through the Discovery Youth Lens: Photography, Video, and Community

Tuesday, April 8 – Sunday, June 15
This exhibition features photography, video and community service projects by students in the Museum’s Discovery Youth programs. Discovery Youth programs are free afterschool workshops open to all fifth- through twelfth-grade students. For more information:

For more information, please e-mail:, or call: (408) 298-5437, ext. 272.

Previously in The Art Loft

Using weaving tools designed by Travis Meinolf, children were able to contribute to one of Meinolf’s works-in-progress.

Travis Meinolf
San Francisco-based textile artist Travis Meinolf joined us in the Art Loft for weaving demonstrations. Meinolf shared insights into his creative process and talked about his motivation for developing low-cost weaving looms. Meinolf’s work seeks to promote a different economic model, based on giving. Meinolf received his BA in Industrial Arts from San Francisco State University and an MFA from California College of the Arts. Meinolf has an exhibition on view now at the Vancouver Art Gallery in Canada with artist Kai Althoff.



Group Visits

Why Our Schools Need the Arts, by Jessica Hoffmann Davis

The Arts and the Creation of Mind, by Elliot W. Eisner


Related Programs
Special Art Loft Events

Why Our Schools Need the Arts, by Jessica Hoffmann Davis

Art Class: A Complete Guide to Painting, by Simon Jennings


Online Activity
Quilt Patterns

The Art Lesson, by Tomie DePaola