Currently on View

PARENTING: An Art without a Manual

October 6, 2018 - September 1, 2019

Voted "Best Exhibition 2019" in Baltimore magazine's Readers' Poll

About the Exhibition

For nearly a year, The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) will focus public attention on what might be humanity's most essential performance art — the intuitive, transformative, and complex art of parenting. AVAM's exhibition showcases works by 36 artists, created out of every conceivable medium, to best express their own personal life experience of parenting and being parented — be it good, bad, horrific, and/or sublime, alongside revelations from the latest scientific research, globally sourced wisdoms, and fun.

Included in this lively and wholly honest contemplation of parenting will be an overview of historic and traditional patterns of parenting, its transcultural practice, as well as expert futurist projections regarding the swiftly evolving changes in parenting in an era of increased capacity for bioengineered baby design and robotics. Even trans species animal parenting — with photo documentation of real-life surprisingly loving animal adoptions outside of their respective species — will be on view.

This is an exhibition that aims to guide the visitor of any age to better understand parenting as one of the key, most powerful of influential forces known to humankind. But like all of its fellow great powers — money, sex, religion, and government — parenting is in and of itself neither good nor bad, but rather a powerful magnifier of intention. The hope of this exhibition is to deepen collective understanding of the challenges and importance of parenting and awaken the freeing power of forgiveness for both our parent and child selves. Our goal is nothing less than to inspire well-informed parenting best practice, honest dialogue, child and parent reconciliation, and a better way forward. In summation, the poet philosopher George Santayana wrote, "The family is one of nature's masterpieces." A special thanks to assistant and co-curator Anna Gulyavskaya.

Download the media kit.

Exhibition Artists

Bobby Adams • Anonymous Artists • Morton Bartlett • Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher • Daniel Belardinelli • Leon Borensztein • Wendy Brackman & The Catskilled Crafters • Tanja Brandt • Ed Brownlee • Allen David Christian • Jim Condron • Loring Cornish • J.J. Cromer • Scott Cromwell • Kahlil Gibran • Paul Graubard • Alex Grey • Betty Grodnitzky • Francisco Loza • Lower Eastside Girls Club • Jordan MacLachlan • Ray Materson • John O’Brien • P.NOSA • Mary Proctor • Carolynn Redwine-Geer • Chris Roberts-Antieau • Romaine M. Samworth • Philippe Saxer • Ann Sosbe • Linda St. John • Robert Sundholm • Mars Tokyo • Frank Warren • George Williams • Chris Wilson • Jack Ziegler

Thank You to Our Exhibition Sponsors


Generous primary exhibition sponsorship for PARENTING: An Art Without A Manual has been provided by Medomak Camp, America’s premier family camp. Nestled on the shores of a pristine lake, Medomak is a 300-acre classic Maine summer camp for the entire family. Medomak offers extraordinary counselor-led camp activities bespoke for all ages and delicious chef-prepared meals. A week at Medomak Camp makes lasting memories, strengthening family ties and a deep sense of community. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Medomak Camp.


Herbert Bearman Foundation • Lois & Irving Blum Foundation • Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts • Reva & David Logan Foundation (Dan & Gloria Logan) • Marilyn Meyerhoff & Samuel M. Feldman PNC Foundation • United Therapeutics • Whiting-Turner Construction Company


Friends of AVAM from Wrightwood CA • Marjorie Wyman Charitable Annuity Trust • Wheeler Foundation


Anonymous • Peter and Millicent Bain • Jane Daniels • Delaplaine Foundation, Inc • Sandra & Thomas Hess • Kielty Family Foundation - Deb & Daughters Jaden and Kyla • The Philip and Harriet Klein Foundation • Patty & Greg Kuzbida • Dorothea & Leo Rabkin Foundation • Brenda Brown Rever • Alison & Arnold Richman • Susan Rosenberg • John Sondheim & Emily R. Greenberg • Tides Foundation via Anonymous • Karen Whaley & James Magner


Charles C. Baum Foundation • Emile Bendit & Diane Abeloff • Joan Develin Coley and Lee Rice • Barbara & Louis Denrich • Suzi Ganz & Lyon Brothers • Goldsmith Family Foundation • George & Betsy Hess • Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund • Linehan Family Foundation


JoAnn & Jack Fruchtman • Jan Weinberg

Public Support

The Citizens of Baltimore County & the Baltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences • Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and the Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts • The Howard County Government & the Howard County Arts Council • Maryland State Arts Council • Maryland State Department of Education