CAM Raleigh, the contemporary art museum in downtown Raleigh that opened its doors more than two years ago, is different from your usual museum.
There's no permanent collection here. Instead, the museum's features a steady rotation of new exhibits by emerging artists from around the country. You might see an actual night time rainbow, or at least an artist's version of one, one month, and a collection of photographs the next.
It's the kind of variation and change that can help to pique a child's interest in art. A visit here every couple of months will never be the same.
But, perhaps it needs to be repeated. You likely won't see many classic landscapes or portraits here. These are modern, sometimes interactive exhibits from artists, who often are on site working on their latest creation. Destination: CAM Raleigh
"It's all very, very contemporary artists," said Julia Rice, the museum's camps and workshop coordinator.
The museum makes for a great place for families to cool down on hot summer days. Kids ages 10 and under always get in free. General admission is $5.
And the museum offers a variety programs for kids and families, especially middle school and high school students.
Admission is free for all on the first Friday of each month for downtown Raleigh's First Friday. A few food trucks usually gather for the evening. There's music or performances from any number of local performing groups. And there's always a hands-on activity in the museum's creation station. The projects, which tie into one of the museum's exhibits, are designed for all ages. The next First Friday is next Friday, July 5.
During the school year, the museum also holds occasional Family Sundays, with special programs and crafts for families. And, once a month, the museum has held Stroller Tours, when caregivers of small children are invited to explore the museum (though they are welcome any time).
For middle school and high school students interested in art and design, there are many offerings. That includes a slate of very popular summer camps and programs that are going on right now.
But, during the school year, there also are monthly open studios for high schoolers. They can bring in their latest project and work on it together with other teens and with the help of a knowledgeable facilitator.
The museum hosts workshops for both age groups, along with a teen council and art exhibition and a student docent program. Click here to check out the museum's programs.
For more about CAM Raleigh, watch my video interview with Rice and interim director Kate Thompson Shafer. CAM Raleigh, 409 W. Martin St., is open every day but Tuesday.
(And if you go, you should know that you're just a block or so away from Videri Chocolate Factory).