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The Art (and Craft) of an NYC Birthday Party

In NYC, art lovers come in all shapes, sizes and ages. With stroller tours at the Met and preschoolers commonly in attendance at downtown gallery openings (we once heard one precocious tot grasping the concept of a DNA helix by exclaiming, “Like the Guggenheim!”), it’s no surprise that many city birthday parties have a tendency to take on an artistic flair. Whether your kiddo is into crayons, watercolors, sculpture, collage or mixed media, there’s a party place – and theme – for every creative taste (subsequent dry-cleaning not included).

The Art Center
423 East 75th Street
Upper East Side
Cost: $695 for the first 10 children and $30 for each additional child at the Art Center gets you two hours of birthday party fun including invitations, cake, pizza, juice, balloons, candles, plates, cups and utensils.
Why it’s a Masterpiece: A party here promises to bring out the artist in everyone!
The Creative Stuff: Each child will get a mural and T-shirt to decorate, but that’s just the beginning. You can choose additional art activities – drawing or collaging, laminating a placemat, making a paper mache mask, sculpting with model magic, painting a banner and more. The Art Center parties are recommended for children ages kindergarten and older.

Kids at Art
1412 Second Avenue
Upper East Side
Cost: Prices begin at $650 for 10 children minimum. The 90-minute parties include all projects/painting, a personalized invitation with a picture of the birthday child, balloons, paper goods, water and staff to both work on the art and help serve refreshments. Add-ons like face painting and glitter tattoos are available for an extra charge.
Why it’s a Masterpiece: This is your chance to be a rock star, fashion model or a ‘Glamorista!’
The Creative Stuff: Kids will start with a mural, then expand their horizons into decorating a backpack, a pillowcase dress, a T-shirt, an umbrella, a picture frame, pajamas, a flower pot and more.

photo party room

Little Shop of Crafts
Upper East Side and Upper West Side Locations
Cost: First 10 guests are $690, with $30 for each additional guest. Paints, brushes, smocks, glazes, stamps, stencils and sparkles (you can’t forget sparkles!) are included, as is a private room for 90 minutes, pizza, cake, candles, drinks, balloons, invitations, music for an impromptu dance jam, and a T-shirt for all your friends to sign.
Why it’s a Masterpiece: You’ll find over 700 pieces of raw pottery, plaster, wood, beads, Cuddlies or t-shirt designs to choose from.
The Creative Stuff: This isn’t merely an arts & crafts party! At Little Shop of Crafts, kiddos get to expand their repertoire into PlasterCraft painting, pottery painting, mosaics or even Create-A-Cuddly! The staff will help the art get made, serve food, clean up afterwards and even pack up the presents.

Color Me Mine Tribeca
92 Reade Street
Tribeca
Cost: Fill out an online form for a quote.
Why it’s a Masterpiece: Feel like pottery is more your kid’s thing? Then Color Me Mine is your kind of place.
The Creative Stuff: You can reserve a table, a private area, or rent out the whole studio for your little ones to paint their choice of bisque figurine piggy banks, plates, mugs and more. Their motto is: You Pick It, You Paint It, We Fire It, You Take It. What could be simpler than that? The facility has an arrangement with the Mehtaphor restaurant on Duane Street, so that all orders are 10% off, and they’ll deliver. Food must be kept on your own table though, so if you need another table to set up, you must reserve it in advance.

Children’s Museum of the Arts
103 Charlton Street
West Village
Cost: Pricing begins at $625 for up to 15 children.
Why it’s a Masterpiece: Where does art belong? Why, in a museum, of course! So what better place to celebrate your mini-Picasso’s birthday than at the Children’s Museum of the Arts?
The Creative Stuff: Here, parties are availble for kids as little as 1 to 3 years old and as grown up as 7 to 14 and every age in between. The youngest crew spends 30 minutes in free exploratory time, followed by 20 minutes of a workshop where they get to construct animal masks, decorate wacky hats or make like Jackson Pollack (i.e. Dress for a Mess). Then there’s 30 minutes for food and cake, and a crowning 10 minute Birthday Bounce in the Ball Pond. For the 4 to 6 crowd, the projects get more complicated, with clay-molding, costume decorating, a mural and even a little lesson in Cubism!

Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17th Street
Chelsea
Cost: Program fees start at $1000 for a maximum of 15 children, with food and party room extra.
Why it’s a Masterpiece: Here kids don’t just make art, they learn about it too.
The Creative Stuff: At the Rubin Museum, there’s painting, there’s sculpting, there’s costumes. Sequins, gemstones and glitter, too. But there’s also a Thematic Art Lab led by Rubin Museum Educators, which includes a guided exploration of the museum’s galleries. Two to 5 year olds can get moving during a wild animal party, complete with classic folk tales, or become Super Sculpters for the day, while 6 to 10 year olds also have a Super Sculpter option, plus painting, or a chance to turn themselves into a hero or a God.

Studio Art
Cost: Parties start at $455 for the first 8 guests, then $24 for each additional guest. You’ll also pay $150 for travel to your apartment and parking.
Why it’s a Masterpiece: Not up to shlepping decorations, paper goods, pizza, cake and more across town by bus or subway in order to get to your party place (or museum)? No problem!
The Creative Stuff: Studio Art and their Art Adventure Party will come to you! Design a tote bag, a belt buckle (or a belt), a hand mirror and brush set or yoga pants, make a mixed media collage or painstakingly assemble a mosaic right in your own home. Studio Art will bring all the materials, plus music, pizza, and drinks. They’ll also bring their own music, do some face painting and provide slime. Seriously. What other place promises that?

ArtParty

Your Home
Cost: Varies
Why it’s a Masterpiece: You can throw your own arts and crafts party at home at a fraction of the cost of a formal one (but prices don’t include cleaning your floors, walls and cushions afterwards, or the tally on your sanity).
The Creative Stuff: A place like Michael’s or Lee’s Art Shop has all the supplies you could need. Buy some sticks and stars and have your guests assemble their own magic wands, followed by cutting out and decorating construction paper crowns. Get white T-shirts and markers and play Project Runway Jr. Make your own Paper Mache, or twist fuzzy pipe cleaners into a variety of figures. After all, kids aren’t the only ones who should get to be creative!

What are your ideas for an artsy birthday party?

–Alina Adams

Images by Children’s Museum of the Arts, Little Shop of Crafts, Rubin Museum and Alina Adams

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