REVIEW: GOMA in Brisbane | A fantastic place for kids and here’s why!
Are you looking for an easily accessible, free, stimulating, and enjoyable place for your family to spend a day? GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) in Brisbane’s beautiful South Bank precinct is the perfect destination for families with children of all ages. Immerse the family in creativity at the Children’s Art Centre or, for older kids, view the best in international film and video at the Australian Cinematheque. There is always plenty to see, do, and experience!
What is GOMA?
GOMA is one of the most dynamic, innovative and exciting cultural and art spaces in Brisbane. Paired with the Queensland Art Gallery, it is located across two riverside buildings. The galleries present evolving programs of Australian and international exhibitions with a focus on contemporary art from Australia and the Asia Pacific.
Where is GOMA, exactly?
The cultural precinct begins at The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and then moves north past the Sciencentre, Museum (with its famous Whale Mall), Queensland Art Gallery, State Library of Queensland, and then GOMA at the end. Clear signage will direct you between venues and there are plenty of shaded rest stops if required. Lifts and ramps abound so pram, stroller, and wheelchair users will find their needs well catered for.
How do I get to GOMA?
If traveling by bus, there is a bus station in between the Museum and QPAC called South Bank busway station. If you are catching the train ensure that you disembark at South Brisbane, not South Bank, for the cultural precinct. If you get off at South Bank you’ll have quite a distance to walk which could be an issue with little ones.
There are many secure parking options in the area but check your maps prior to driving in – many of the streets are one way and can be confusing for a first-timer. Think smart and book your spot in advance (click here) to ensure you pay a discounted rate. Ticket inspectors regularly patrol the South Bank area so make sure you’re not caught out!
What’s there that I should know about?
Planning a big outing, especially when you have got little kids, can be daunting but we’ve got you covered. GOMA is fully accessible for wheelchairs and prams. A cloakroom is available upon entry for bulkier items but staff will permit you to keep your nappy bags and pram with you if you prefer. The GOMA Children’s Art Centre has a pram storage bay so you can have your hands free to join in on the fun. The air-conditioned climate is perfect for baby-wearing without getting hot and sweaty – you’ll most likely find your littlest ones quickly drift off to sleep in the cool, calm environment so you can focus on the exhibits.
There are a number of different bathrooms across different levels. All parent’s rooms are well-equipped with change mats, chairs, and heating facilities. GOMA was designed with families in mind and the enjoyment and comfort of your family is a vital part of the experience.
GOMA Café Bistro, on the bottom garden level, is perfect for family or large groups. A huge outdoor dining area with a beautiful view of the river complements a menu ranging from breakfasts to burgers to brownies. Upstairs in GOMA restaurant you’ll find a two-hatted dining experience that might be better suited to an adults-only outing.
What’s on at the moment at GOMA?
(Please note – we leave exhibits here as a living record of all the cool stuff GOMA puts on for kids! Some of these exhibits may no longer be installed)
QAGOMA Children’s Art Centre works with artists to create interactive installations, artist projects and activities for kids and families.
Please note entry to the Children’s Art Centre is limited to 30 people at one time due to current restrictions.
Art Starters is a free program for babies 4– 12 months and their parents and carers. Together they can explore select works through an engaging walking tour and a multi-sensory interactive play session.
Art Play Date is a self-directed program engaging children aged 1-3 years through movement, song and sensory play, inspired by key artworks.
Art Explorers uses games, music and making activities to engage children aged 3-5 years with art. Children can now engage with the Art Explorers program from home through a series of interactive videos.
Now is the Time | 7th August 2020 to 26th January 2021 | Free entry at the Children’s Art Centre
Raquel Ormella invites children to speak up about climate change and the environment in her upcoming exhibition at the Children’s Art Centre. Raquel highlights Australia’s long history of environmental activism with a timeline featuring historical photos and posters. The exhibition also includes two videos made in collaboration with Junction Park State School students. In these videos, the students perform protest songs and share their views about climate action with the artist. In the exhibition space, children can design a protest t-shirt and watch their message come to life in an animated protest scene, while listening to a playlist of protest music.
Roy & Matilda Australian Art Collection | Permanent | Free entry at Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Galleries
Discover paintings by artists in the Australian Art Collection with Roy and Matilda, two friendly mice who love art galleries and live behind a tiny door in the Queensland Art Gallery. The mice visit artworks and create an adventure in ‘Roy and Matilda: The Mysterious Music ’. Focus artworks can be used in conjunction with the publication to complement before, during, or after-the-visit to support engagement. You can also create your own artwork guide with ‘My Collection’.
Kids Trail – Australian Art Collection | Permanent | Free entry at Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Galleries
From the earliest rock paintings to contemporary works, animals have featured in art for thousands of years. For many artists, animals are subjects that allow them to share ideas and experiences. In this trail activity, you can discover a wild and wonderful menagerie of animals hiding in the Australian Art Collection.
Island Fashion (10th August 2019 to 15th March 2020, free entry at the Children’s Art Centre)
Visit the Children’s Art Centre to explore fashion and adornment through creative hands-on and multimedia activities created by artists from Australia and the Pacific especially for children and families. Join in a paper folding activity by Grace Lillian Lee, design your own textile pattern in a multimedia interactive by Letila Mitchell, and create a wearable accessory inspired by the work of Maryann Talia Pau and Ranu James.
Ben Quilty – Family Portrait (15th Jun 2019 to 20th October 2019, free entry at the Children’s Art Centre)
As part of the major exhibition ‘Quilty’, Brisbane’s Children’s Art Centre presents ‘Ben Quilty: Family Portrait’.
In this interactive exhibition, leading Australian artist Ben Quilty encourages children and families to explore the art of portraiture in an artist studio setting. The exhibition also stars Ben’s children – Joe and Olivia – who appear in a video on display, which takes children inside Ben’s studio in New South Wales and provides insights into his approach to making art.
As part of ‘Family Portrait’, you can draw a portrait of a family member or a friend following an instructional video with tips from Olivia, play with colour and distortion to create a digital self-portrait, and experience Ben’s work in a new way through painting replicas that you can touch.
Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art – For Kids!
Children’s trial for Gary Carsley ‘Purple Reign’ 2018
(Running 24 November 2018 to June – Free Entry for all!)
(Purple Reign from 6 October 2018 to June 2019)
APT9 is coming to town. This joyous celebration of colour and light will expand to include artworks especially for kids. They’re interactive and hands-on and come complete with multimedia activities. There are 8 interactive artworks that are designed specifically for children and families. This is an incredible participatory experience that’s reflective of themes of the main exhibition – contemporary art in Australia, Asia and the Pacific. It would be well worth your while touring the rest of the exhibition as well – whenever this comes to town, it’s always a wonder to behold!
Children’s trial for Nona Garcia ‘Illuminate’ 2018
The APT9 Kids projects are displayed in spaces across both the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) and Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) buildings, including the Children’s Art Centre at GOMA. This project aims to involve the youngest visitors to the gallery (and their families) to creatively engage with the ideas on shows both in the Children’s Art Centre and the other gallery sites.
The first part of APT9 is ‘Purple Reign’ by Australian artist Gary Caulsley, an ‘immersive ‘secret garden’ populated with images of jacarandas and interactive experiences’. It also has on display the inspiration for the artwork, a beautiful painting from 1903 by R Godfrey Rivers. Inside the exhibit space, there are touchscreens that invite children to learn about extinct animals and their habitats. They can also re-enact a scene from the Rivers painting on a stage opposite the painting. Their pictures can then be posted online, furthering the spread of the jacaranda while giving it a new history.
ATP9 Kids sees artists come from:
- the Autonomous Region of Bougainville
- the Philippines
- New Zealand
And they’re all focused on creating special, interactive projects for children and families! The exhibit is supported by Principal Benefactor the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation. Other supporters are the Queensland Government, Tourism and Events Queensland, the Australian Government through the Australia Council, the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy and other business, cultural, tourism and media partners.
Vincent Namatjira, Western Arrernte people, ‘The Queen and Me’ 2017
25th May 2019 – 2 Feb 2020
‘Geometries’ brings together works that dazzle the eyes with colour and form. Using deceptively simple strategies — structuring relationships between the most elementary components of shape, scale and relative sequencing, for the most part described in pure, flat and vibrant colours — the artists behind these arrangements excel in creating mesmerising optical effects. Contemporary in their lively spirit, and sometimes surprisingly classical in their sense of order and proportion, these works are certain to stir the senses. This is an adults exhibit that’s great for kids as it will really expand their horizons and perceptions and might lead to them creating some great projects of their own.
CREATIVE GENERATION EXCELLENCE AWARDS IN VISUAL ART 2019
25 May 2019 – 25 Aug 2019
The 2019 ‘Creative Generation Excellence Awards in Visual Art’ recognises and promotes excellence in visual art education throughout Queensland state and non-state secondary schools.
The exhibition showcases senior visual art students’ high degree of sophistication in concepts and diversity of technical competence. This year the outstanding achievements of 38 students are on show.
The exhibition features an interactive digital catalogue with artwork information and images. Artist statements are also available throughout the space. Teachers and students can download a copy of the Artists’ Statements.
The ‘Creative Generation Excellence Awards in Visual Art’ is an initiative of the Department of Education, supported by the Queensland Art Gallery ǀ Gallery of Modern Art.
THEY LOOK AT YOU
15 Jun 2019 – 28 Jun 2020
Nicolas Molé’s immersive animated installation embodies the forest environment of his ancestral home, Lifou in New Caledonia. Pulsing natural life forms found in this environment are symbols for the forces of nature. They also stand in for complex human emotions and relationships including with those that the living have with an ancestral realm. This is a cool and colourful exhibit that kids should really enjoy!
Previous exhibits at GOMA for kids
Tony Albert: We Can Be Heroes
(Running 19 May – 7 October 2018)
In collaboration with the Children’s Art Centre, this exhibit explores how our fears can empower and strengthen us, rather than overcome us.
The children and artists of the Warakurna have developed a series of artworks for this display including photographs and illuminated paintings. Children can create their own digital superhero identities, create monster collages and bring creatures to life!
Patricia Piccinini: Curious Creatures
(Running 24 March 2018 – 5 August 2018)
This exhibit is specifically designed for children aged 8 and under. They are invited to participate in imaginative play while they come across curious, strange, wonderful creatures who live in a burrow-like environment. There is lots of potential for interaction and wonder as the children get up close and personal with these soft creatures. They can move them around, manipulate them, play with them and let their imaginations run wild!
Me, Myselfie and I
(Running 9 Dec 2017 – 22 April 2018)
These are interactive, multimedia art projects where children are challenged to create their own self-portraits using a variety of mixed media.
From GOMA: “In recent times, self-representation has become more complex and varied through the use of digital technologies. The exhibition explores what a self-portrait is and how it can express our emotions, personality, memories and experiences through images, sound, spoken word and movement.” Find out more here.
Yayoi Kusama – The Obliteration Room
(Running 14 Oct 2017 – 4 Feb 2018)
This is one of our ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE exhibits and it’s back again! The Obliteration Room was originally a blank canvas where participants are invited to apply coloured sticky dots to any surface they wish. This creates a living community art space and it’s an absolute delight for kids! Definitely a must-see!
Kate Beynon: Friendly Beasts
(Running 1 April 2017 – 22 Oct 2017)
Kate Beynon draws on multiple visual traditions as the foundation for her artworks, including Western and Eastern comic books, mythology, animation, film, graffiti, calligraphy and fashion.
In ‘Friendly Beasts’, Kate Beynon brings to life four hybrid figures who are inspired by mythological figures, deities, theatrical masks and supernatural creatures. Young visitors will meet these benevolent friends – Blue Shaman, Lotus Monkey, Tu-Dao Dog and Gorgon Girl – who each have their own traits and personalities and aim to promote imagination, creative expression and fun.
Children and families can engage with the Friendly Beasts through interactive activities, which include creating a new ‘beast’ identity by combining character features as part of a mask-making activity, dancing with the beasts in the artist’s video installation Visions from a Ghost Tale / Friendly Beasts edit 2017, and contributing to the beasts’ magical world in the collaborative drawing activity The Lotus Garden.
Sugar spin: You, Me, Art and Everything
(Running 3 December 2016 until 17 April 2017). 250 artworks exploring light, space, architecture and the senses. See Nervescape V 2016 by Shoppy (a landscape made of synthetic hair) or Heard 2012 (a group of vibrant sculptural horses brought to life by dancers)
Left/Right Slide (2010)
The awesome GOMA Slide will send you flying from the top floor right down to the bottom! You’ll need to be 1.2 metres to ride though… read more about it when we visited – click here.
In bed (2005)
Ron Mueck’s world-famous over-sized woman
What’s on for Kids at GOMA?
Gabori Sisters: Gathering by the sea
‘The Gabori Sisters: Gathering by the Sea’ takes children on a journey to the artists’ homeland of Bentinck Island in Queensland’s Gulf of Carpentaria. Through specially designed interactive hands-on making and multimedia activities, young visitors will be introduced to the unique and important relationship the Kaiadilt people share with the sea and the creatures who inhabit the waters around the Island.
Children can create their own extraordinary paper hairstyles and help style a wall of artificial hair-like material.
Children can work with floral and animal motifs to create their own personalised, expressive pieces.
Is there anything else I should know?
GOMA opens daily from 10am – 5pm. Entry is free but certain exhibitions may sometimes require a special entry fee – this will be signed very clearly and staff will be happy to help if required. For more information, including maps, visit QAGOMA.
Make the most of your day out and see what the rest of South Bank has to offer before heading home. Countless food and drink options, beautiful gardens, innovative play options, and the always fun Streets Beach await. Brisbane is so lucky to have the kinds of public facilities that people in other cities could only dream of – get out there and let your kids experience it all!