The Getty Center
Family festival at the Getty Center

Family festivals offer a day of celebration and discovery inspired by exhibitions at the Getty Center. Each unique festival features performances by local dance and music groups, storytelling, art-making workshops, and gallery activities.

Recently in the series

Conservation Ambassadors, Screech Owls Atlas and Axis

Family Festival Celebrating
The Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World

Date: Saturday, June 15, 2019
Time: 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Admission: Free; no ticket required.

Lions and tigers and bears and...unicorns and bearded dragons – OH MY! Find delight and wonder in fantastic animals, real and imagined, who will roam the Getty inspired by the exhibition The Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World. Become a winged, hoofed, or scaled animal yourself through hands-on demonstrations, performances and workshops. Whether you prefer real or fanciful creatures, there's something for everyone to enjoy at this beastly festival!


Rangoli Dance Company
Vahanas: God's Own Vehicles
10:30–11:15 a.m. & 2:00–2:45 p.m.

Inspired by the vahanas, animals ridden by gods in the Hindu pantheon, Malathi Iyengar creates dances that portray these mythological figures through symbols and storytelling. The significance of these vahanas lies both in the mundane and the spiritual. Using vibrant rhythms, sweeping gestures, and facial expressions, dancers showcase bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) and folk movements to depict the gods and their animal mounts. Some of the deity and animal pairs include: Ganesha and mooshika (mouse), Shiva and nandi (bull), Muruga and mayura (peacock), and Vishnu and garuda (eagle).

Rangoli Dance Company

Conservation Ambassadors
Live Animal Presentation
11:45 a.m.–12:30 p.m. & 3:15–4:00 p.m.

Reality is often stranger than fiction! Meet the real live animals that inspired ancient myths. Conservation Ambassadors, a rescue sanctuary and education organization, is here to connect you with this mythical wild world. Come face-to-face with a bearded dragon, giant African frog, parrot, African crested porcupine, lemur, and alligator!

Conservation Ambassadors, Bacari a black and white ruffed lemur

Bob Baker Marionette Theater
The Circus
1:00–1:30 p.m. & 4:45–5:15 p.m.

Los Angeles' beloved Bob Baker Marionette Theater brings The Circus to the Getty in a wonderful display of circus merriment—all on strings! Let the puppeteers wow you with their cast of animals, clowns, and more! With beautifully handcrafted puppets, and songs that are sure to stick in your head, this show is one not to be missed!

Bob Baker Marionette Theater. Photo: Ian Byers-Gamber

Creative Faces Animal Face Painting
10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. last seating at 5:30 p.m.

Our talented artists will transform you into your favorite animal friend! You too can become a beast like the ones seen in the Book of Beasts exhibition.

Creative Faces Animal Face Painting

Where the Wild Beasts Roam
10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Artist Kiel Johnson has rounded up three glorious beasts discovered during an exploration of medieval prints and drawings. He has captured their images in life-size form for you to meet and photograph. Don't worry—they will be fed before the event.

A Mythical Encounter
10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Become a unicorn, Pegasus, or centaur with Kiel Johnson's interactive sculpture.

Dragon Knights
11:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m., 12:30–1:00 p.m., 1:30–2:00 p.m., 3:00–3:30 p.m.

High above the crowd, fantastic creatures on stilts will amaze you. Catch a glimpse of the glittery dragonfly, royal griffin, and colorful shaman. An up-close encounter with these characters is a special experience to behold.

Dragon Knights. Photo: Aaron Paley

Reading: Don't Let the Beasties Escape This Book!
11:30 a.m.–Noon & 1:45–2:15 p.m.

Strange and magical things can happen when you peek inside a Book of Beasts! Join award-winning author Julie Berry, and illustrator April Lee, for a reading of their new children's book, Don't Let the Beasties Escape This Book! Stick around after the reading for a live drawing demonstration and Q&A with Assistant Curator, Larisa Grollemond. Beasties bookmarks will be provided to all attendees. Don't miss out on the fun!

Don’t let the Beasties Escape This Book

10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. with last seating at 5:30 p.m.

Unicorn Magic with Marianne Sadowski

Create a unique unicorn headdress with diverse collage materials and wear it while discovering the beastly magic at the Getty.

Unicorn Magic

Wing Bling

Glide through the museum with your own pair of wings! Turn into the sky-soaring beasts of your dreams through this interactive workshop. Choose to be an extraordinary dragon, a majestic bird of prey, or even a winged Pegasus!

Beastly Frames

Add something special to your photos with a handmade frame. Design it with your favorite animal's aesthetic—whether scaly, fury, or feathered. Your favorite photo will come alive in a new wild way.

The Family Festival is produced for the J. Paul Getty Museum by Community Arts Resources.

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Most recently in the series

Family Festival Celebrating Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911–2011
September 9, 2018
Dance to the sounds of a century of music as you delve into the world of fashion, image, style, beauty and photography at this free, daylong and creatively interactive festival inspired by the exhibition Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911–2011. Vogue, vamp, and pose at our photobooth then design a magazine cover with your photo as the feature. Glam it up at the Getty for this day of hands-on, stylish fun!

Ancient Egypt and India
June 2, 2018
Join the Getty in celebrating the exhibits Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World and Rembrandt and the Inspiration of India through a series of workshops and performances. Be wowed by high energy Bollywood dancing, mystifying storytelling, and dazzling hands-on workshops. A flurry of delights from ancient Egypt and India will inspire you.

Family Festival Celebrating the Getty Center's 20th Anniversary
March 10, 2018
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Getty Center, so let's celebrate this important milestone by wishing the Getty a Happy Birthday! Enjoy an unforgettable birthday bash featuring dance, music, and Getty Center-inspired crafts.

Family Festival Celebrating Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
October 21, 2017
Explore Latin America through a day of interactive fun! Make your own golden pre-Columbian treasures in a hands-on workshop, be regaled by the dance, music and stories of Mayan and Aztec empires, and delve into the mysteries of Argentina through the magic of tango. Complements the following exhibitions: Photography in Argentina, 1850–2010: Contradiction and Continuity; The Metropolis in Latin America, 1830–1930; Making Art Concrete: Works from Argentina and Brazil in the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros; and Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas.

Family Festival Celebrating Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe and The Lure of Italy: Artists' Views
June 3, 2017
Enjoy a day of celebration and discovery for the whole family inspired by magnificent historical scenes on view in the exhibition Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe, featuring music and dance performances, storytelling, and art-making workshops.

Family Festival Celebrating The Alchemy of Color in Medieval Manuscripts
November 12, 2016
Dive into the wonderful world of color in this daylong family festival. Immerse yourself in red, blue and gold through multi-dimensional workshops and demonstrations. Experience the rainbow as our DJs spin colorful tunes, enjoy evocative theater featuring life-sized puppets, conduct science experiments, and pick up a commemorative mini coloring book. This Getty-wide event takes you "under-color" for a day of learning and fun! Complements the exhibitions The Art of Alchemy, The Alchemy of Color in Medieval Manuscripts, and The Shimmer of Gold: Giovanni di Paolo in Renaissance Siena.

Family Festival Celebrating Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road and Traversing the Globe through Illuminated Manuscripts
June 11, 2016
Navigate the myriad cultures of the Silk Road and beyond in this family festival inspired by the exhibitions Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road and Traversing the Globe Through Illuminated Manuscripts. With hands-on workshops and interactive events, you can make your own book, write a couple of Chinese characters, witness the beauty of calligraphy from the Middle Kingdom, be entranced by stories of Buddha in animal forms, and feel the world's interconnectedness through music and dance from China to Peru.

Family Festival celebrating In Focus: Animalia
October 4, 2015
Explore your animal nature at this daylong family festival celebrating the exhibition In Focus: Animalia. Transform yourself with painted whiskers and spots and build a headdress based on your favorite creature. Embrace your wild side through storytelling, games, and workshops at this free, interactive event.

Family Festival celebrating In Focus: Play
March 28, 2015
We're turning the Getty Center into a gigantic playground for this daylong festival celebrating the simple act of play in all of its forms. From hula hoops to dance workshops, and from chess masters to checkers, there's something for everyone in this fun-filled day. Storytelling and music mix with circus acts, board games, pick-up sticks, and the Getty's first ping-pong party. Get your game face on!

Family Festival celebrating Chivalry in the Middle Ages
September 20, 2014
Travel with your imagination to the age of chivalry in this daylong festival celebrating knights in armor, ladies of the court and all things noble, inspired by the exhibition Chivalry in the Middle Ages. Listen to tales of Arthur's Round Table and deeds of great bravery through age-old stories and myths. Watch as a master blacksmith demonstrates how to forge a suit of armor, design a family coat of arms, and decorate a goblet for your own royal feast.

Family Festival celebrating A Royal Passion: Queen Victoria and Photography
April 12, 2014
Hear ye! Hear ye! Her royal majesty Queen Victoria invites young and old alike to journey to her 19th-century realm via the magical world of photography and the excitement of a family festival. Visitors can enjoy the majestic bagpipe sounds of the Queen's beloved Scotland, sing along to boisterous English music hall tunes, revel in the topsy-turvy world of Gilbert and Sullivan operas, and have pictures taken to create a personal "carte de visite." Girls and boys can even make their own royal crown at a hands-on workshop. Kids of all ages can remember the day for the rest of his or her reign with a photo album of this royal visit to the Getty Center.

Family Festival celebrating Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister
October 19, 2013
Make the pilgrimage to Canterbury at this day-long immersive festival and be transported back to the medieval world. Experience the music and dance of Chaucer's time with LA-based Capella-Cordina, Brigid's Daughters and Ciaramella. Discover the richness of the Canterbury Tales through acclaimed performers We Tell Stories and David Prather, and create your own 21st-century version of a stained-glass window at one of the hands-on workshops.

Family Festival Celebrating Gardens of the Renaissance
June 8, 2013
Celebrate the Gardens of the Renaissance in this free daylong family festival. Create a garden of your very own or fashion a floral wreath at one the interactive workshops. Delight in the sounds of madrigals from the 15th and 16th centuries or listen to tales of distant kingdoms with renowned storytellers.

Family Festival Celebrating Looking East: Rubens's Encounter with Asia
April 13, 2013
Experience Korean culture in this family festival inspired by the exhibition Looking East: Rubens's Encounter with Asia. Master choreographers Kim Eung Hwa, Kwan Gyu Lim, and Don Kim present their world-class dance companies. Make your own charm, propeller, or Korean headdress at interactive workshops led by the Paper Culture Foundation.

Family Festival Celebrating Herb Ritts: L.A. Style and Portraits of Renown: Photography and the Cult of Celebrity
June 9, 2012
Delve into the world of celebrity, image, photography, and Los Angeles at this free daylong family festival inspired by the exhibitions Herb Ritts: L.A. Style and Portraits of Renown: Photography and the Cult of Celebrity. Participants designed a magazine cover with a photo of themself as the featured celebrity, learned how to vogue like Madonna, and danced to the sounds of Los Angeles at the close of the 20th century.

Pacific Standard Time Family Festival
October 22, 2011
Inspired by art in L.A., this daylong festival invited a new generation of local artists to reinterpret the creative legacy of artists featured in the Pacific Standard Time initiative. Guests discovered special performances and unexpected installations by Machine Project, Kim Ye, and other local artists, made their own mail art, helped to recreate a version of Di Suvero's Peace Tower with Becca Lofchie, and so much more at this only-in-Los Angeles event! This event was part of Pacific Standard Time at the Getty Center.

Family Festival Celebrating Gods of Angkor: Bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia
June 4, 2011
Visitors experienced the beauty and wonder of Cambodia in this daylong celebration complementing the exhibition Gods of Angkor: Bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia. This festival featured traditional Cambodian music and dance performances, hands-on workshops, storytelling with Sheetal Gandhi, and a fashion show featuring traditional Cambodian clothing.

Family Festival Celebrating Photography from the New China and Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road
March 19, 2011
Visitors discovered the richness and beauty of the ancient empires of India, Japan, and China as well as recent explosions in artistic creativity. This festival featured traditional Chinese opera, Chinese folktales told by a master storyteller, and the amazing music and dance of these vibrant cultures. Inspired by Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road and Photography from the New China.

Family Festival Celebrating Leonardo da Vinci and the Art of Sculpture: Inspiration and Innovation
June 5, 2010
Visitors entered the world of Leonardo da Vinci and Italian culture in this daylong celebration with music, theater, storytelling, and interactive workshops. Featured were the tale of Pinocchio as performed by Will & Company, the timeless magic of commedia dell'arte in The World on the Moon directed by Orlando Pabotoy, folk music by Musicàntica, story teller Carl Weintraub as Leonardo da Vinci, and art-making workshops including making a sketchbook inspired by Leonardo's drawings, creating a maquette of an equestrian monument, making a frame and designing a postcard. Inspired by the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci and the Art of Sculpture: Inspiration and Invention.

Family Festival Celebrating French Art and Culture
September 12, 2009
Vive la France! Visitors enjoyed a day in the Gallic countryside with this Family Festival, which featured the chanteuse Jessica Fichot as well as the cosmopolitan sounds of Jean-Paul Monsché. The event also featured folktales and the giant fantastic creatures by Dragon Knights. Inspired by two exhibitions: Capturing Nature's Beauty: Three Centuries of French Landscapes and Cast in Bronze: French Sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution.

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