Families take over the gallery in Bluecoat’s summer exhibition Abacus

Abacus: Friday 21 July – Sunday 01 October

Families take over the gallery in Bluecoat’s summer exhibition  Abacus

by Culture Liverpool

This summer Bluecoat, Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, invites children to take over their galleries in their new exhibition Abacus.

This free, interactive exhibition encourages visitors of all ages to break the traditional rules of a gallery. Artists from Liverpool and beyond have designed artworks to inspire visitors to watch, draw, read and make.

Children are invited to draw on the gallery walls using special chalk boards in a new work from Simon & Tom Bloor.

Elsewhere in the gallery children can dress up in costumes and play with small scale sets based on varied locations, including a courtroom and a church, created by
Liverpool artist Emily Speed. They are invited to make up their own rules for these spaces, which normally have established routines.

Kids Video Art Program, a collaboration with Kunsthall Stavanger, features a selection of short films and animations by UK and International artists, including Trine Lise Nedreaas’s shimmering hula hoops, Rhys Coren’s snapping fingers and Yusuke Mashiba’s small colourful creatures practicing a mystical routine called Masbatics.

Abacus responds to Bluecoat’s history as both a charity school and arts centre, while celebrating contemporary cultural spaces as places where children can learn.

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive programme of family activities
including Toddlertastic, where little ones can get active in a session combining movement and mark making; Storytime Puppets, which invites children to make their own puppet based on a chosen book of the week; and Pick ‘n’ Mix, which offers something different every week including stand-up comedy, learning French, and drawing with robots. Family activities are for specific age ranges, and full information can be found on Bluecoat’s website at

The offer for families continues throughout the building, with a special children’s menu in the café and upstairs Bistro.

Marie-Anne McQuay, Head of Programme at Bluecoat, said:

“We are delighted to present Abacus at Bluecoat this summer, an exhibition developed especially with children in mind.

Families are an important part of our audiences here and we think this show will offer them a hugely enjoyable experience whilst also giving children an opportunity to learn something new in a creative space.”

Back to news items