‘Be our guest’ is an encounter with a personality and an issue. For a few lines, the Mag belongs to them. They can make it their own. Its tone, its style and the story it tells is theirs alone.
My name is Mille Maria. I live in Nørrebro, Copenhagen’s most vibrant, multicultural area, with my partner Jonas and our four girls (Alma aged 14, Hannah aged 10, Olivia aged 6 and Bella aged 4).
Both my partner and I work in the art world – I’m the Communications Manager at Ordrupgaard museum just north of Copenhagen, and Jonas is Head of Digital at the National Gallery of Denmark in central Copenhagen. We spend a lot of our free time visiting galleries and museums – art is an important part of our lives.
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t passionate about art. I have hundreds of museum memories – as a child with my parents seeing the classics in impressive museums with columns and marble stairs, and as a young woman exploring smaller galleries and discovering my love for contemporary art. I have a Masters degree in English Literature and Art History, and after uni I knew that I had to work within the art world somehow. I had recently discovered Instagram, and I loved being able to distill my art adventures into neat little squares. My private Instagram profile (@missmillemaria) turned out to be a big help, and it landed me several important internships as a Social Media Manager in different art institutions. After numerous internships and several in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time situations, I finally got the job I have now – at beautiful Ordrupgaard, where I get to do what I love surrounded by Monet, Manet, Gauguin and Renoir as well as Olafur Eliasson, Jeppe Hein, Carsten Höller, Simon Starling and many more.
When my eldest daughter Olivia was born, I decided that my life would change as little as possible – realizing of course that this would be a real challenge for a new mom. But I was determined. When Olivia was just a few months old, I took her to an art museum for the first time. We had a decent time without any major crises, and I felt like such a cool, urban mom, museum hopping with my child like that. As she got older, I would talk to her about the exhibitions we saw, and I always enjoyed hearing her opinion – children are wonderful art critics!
When my youngest, Bella, was born – just 18 months after her sister – I faced the real challenge! I had one baby in a stroller and one in a sling, and when one of them got hungry and the other one would fall asleep or one would cry and start the other one off as well. We had some interesting museum outings, but we got the hang of it. Now we are fearless.
Children change your life in many ways – mostly good ones of course – and I do believe that you can decide what you want your life to look like, and then work towards that. I try to integrate my passion, my work and my kids as much as I can. That’s one of the reasons I started @rockthatmuseumkid.
Experiencing art with my girls is a huge part of who we are, and one I wouldn’t want to live without. As I’ve talked about kids and art over the years I’ve had many different reactions from other parents. Mostly positive ones, but also a little puzzled. I’ve talked to many parents who really want to expose their kids to art, but they tend to drop the idea before they even leave the house. They have all sorts of fears – they’re afraid their kids will be bored, make a scene or destroy something expensive. @RTMK is all about trying something new and changing the way we use art museums. I tell parents to start by simply taking their kids to a gallery or museum – that’s the first step. Many parents are pleasantly surprised when their little ones are interested in the paintings on the walls, and seem to genuinely enjoy the experience. Kids are really great at looking at art. They see all sorts of things that we adults completely miss – their imagination is a great help. Even if they don’t enjoy the particular exhibition, they will love hanging out with their parents, having their full attention without cellphones, iPads and TVs.
My kids have favorite museums. They love the beautiful garden at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, and their entire wing dedicated to children. They also love The National Gallery of Denmark – especially the famous front lawn parties the museum throws when the weather is warm. Of course they also love visiting me at Ordrupgaard, where they explore the sculpture park full of fun and artsy experiences – they particularly enjoy Jeppe Hein’s mirror maze and Carsten Höller’s giant mushroom. I really love that they’re growing up with art in their life like that. What a luxury! Great art teaches us about ourselves, other people and the world we live in. Art spaces are places of deep contemplation, but also places for fun and discovery. I really love teaching my girls that, and with @RTMK I hope to inspire other parents to do the same!