Children have taken over the curating reins for a new exhibition at the Dowse.
Nineteen youngsters got a guided tour of the art museum's closed-to-the-public collection rooms and chose their favourite painting, sculpture, craftwork or piece of jewellery.
Learning programme manager Jen Boland says Pic 'n' Mix, which opens on June 29, is the first time children have called the shots for an exhibition at the Dowse.
"There was no pattern to their selections . . . it's an eclectic and fun mix."
The current crop of 10 youngsters in D Club, the Dowse after- school art experience programme, all jumped at the chance to be involved. Nine more pupils were chosen from local schools involved with education sessions at the art museum.
Selecting their favourite from the more than 3000 items in the Dowse collection wasn't their only task. With a little help, they've also created their own label describing the artwork and the reasons they chose it.
The words will be complemented by a small self-portrait of the child, and each youngster gets to bring along "someone special" to an official opening next week.
Ms Boland says some of the children agonised over what to pick; for others it was a case of instant appeal.
Tusiata Buchanan-Falema'a, 7, fell in love with a very glittery piece featuring koru and flower designs straight away.
The work, by Reuben Patterson, was last exhibited in the Spectrum show in 2011. Tusiata says its blue and gold colours are her favourites.
Looking at its design "makes me want to go to the beach, or get out lots of different glasses of glitter and start playing with them".
In D Club, the Our Lady of the Rosary pupil is currently creating a "dream catcher", made using a plate, wool, and brightly coloured felt tips.
An eye for art may be in her genes. Tusiata's uncle is Ben Buchanan, whose huge wall installation Forever was a big hit at the Dowse last year.
Other items chosen by the kids for Pic 'n' Mix include Barry Lett's brick dog and green plane, a pedal car made from beer cans, a Billy Apple painting and one of the late Kristian Frederikson's equisite ballet costumes.
* Pic 'n' Mix opens at the Dowse on Saturday and runs until September 1.
- Hutt News