Each day of the week has a unique sound. I have learned to notice this because my sweet daughter finds a wide spectrum of auditory moments unbearable. Sundays, according to her, are the quietest days. Quiet makes navigating life easier for her.
Her need for opportunities to navigate life in quieter ways is how I came to be passionately interested in creating, supporting, and attending sensory friendly events. My favorite sensory friendly event is the program run by the Walker Art Center.
Sunday mornings, the quietest moments of our weeks, are the perfect mornings to explore the Walker Art Center. On the second Sunday of every month, the Walker opens its doors to welcome individuals that need sensory friendly peace to explore the galleries, art lab, and a short film.
What makes Walker’s Sensory Friendly Sunday Unique?
Unlike a number of sensory friendly programs that offer a limited time head start to an experience, the Walker’s Sensory Friendly Sunday is a beautiful three hours of peace, inclusion, and acceptance. Visitiors get to settle in and truly enjoy the space in their own ways with the ease of knowing they will be welcomed, supported and encouraged to discover the place without having to hurry through before the rest of the world arrives in 60 minutes. There is time to adjust to the vastness of the building and the noises unnoticed by most, time to step into a gallery and figure out if the latest wild exhibit captures your imagination or if it is not your cup of tea. Having the time to discover what you don’t enjoy is just as important to discover what fuels you. Having time to revel in what you enjoy is an incredible gift.
Each month, lights are lowered, sounds reduced, and an artist is featured with a new project to dive into that every age and ability can enjoy. It is a joy to watch each artist share their passion with visitors and help adapt projects so all can create. Seeing a variety of generations and abilities creating together is magical. Art is a language we can all share. It can help people express themselves in new ways.
Come as You Are
Since the events launched last spring, I have seen a true community form around this event. Some people have been coming since the very first event and have created friendships with other families. People feel accepted in all their beautiful uniqueness. No shushing. No harsh looks of judgement. There are cozy corners to find some quiet. Grab fidgets and headphones in case you need a bit of extra support. Enjoy art, lots of wonderful art!
The next Sensory Friendly Sunday is THIS Sunday, December 9th from 8am-11am. Take in a fun, peaceful event in the wild whirlwind of the holidays. Add the second Sunday to your calendar going forward. A regular sensory friendly, accepting event on the calendar throughout winter is sanity saving!
This program for people with need of sensory friendly modifications was designed by incredible Walker staff, artists, parents, and self-advocates—people who know that the arts plus acceptance creates powerful community connection.
So, visit their website and make a reservation. The program is free, but reservations are recommended. The Walker caps attendance to maintain the peaceful environment. They offer wonderful supports on their website to help plan your visit to the museum. Make art, see art, and enjoy a magical opportunity to come exactly as you are.