Creative Corner: Expanding the World through Art

"The World is but a Canvas to the Imagination.”
Henry David Thoreau
In my blog last week, I highlighted several of my favorite resources for exploring art through hands on activities. Children's creative efforts often suggest a theme which is related to their daily lives such as; their family, their school or their community.  These activities consequently, provide a foundation for children to further investigate their place in the world. 
Children also need the opportunity to discover that the world is much larger than the things that they experience, and viewing the work of artists is one way to expand their perception.  
Fortunately, by living in Harris County, we are not far from the MFAH and they have several special programs for families.  One of my favorite programs to attend is their Summer Storytime Tours, in which children view original artwork in the museum, and are given the chance to create hands-on art activities. This is a program that I would strongly recommend for those who live in the Houston area. 
Parents can also create a positive learning experience at home by simply reading books with their children. Many people assume that art appreciation is for just for adults, but that is simply not the case. Art provides a universal language that even the youngest children are able to understand with guidance from adults. 
When working with children, I like to read books more than once so a conversation can develop about each art piece. We begin by looking at the art as a whole and discuss the mood or emotion of the work. What was the intention of the artist? What was he trying to communicate? After each person is allowed to share their thoughts, I then have them look for repetition and patterns, and I take time to point out elements of line, shape, space, color and texture. Finally, we look for any similarities or differences between the artwork in each book.  Through open ended questions children begin to share their views and participate in an art-based dialog. In turn, they not only experience their world, but become more aware of the world around them.  

Museum Shapes The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Image not Available Museum ABC  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
123 POP!  Rachel Isadora 
 ABC POP! Rachel Isadora 
Animals Observed  Brigitte Baumbusch
Figuring Figures Brigitte Baumbusch
 Can you find it inside?  Jessica Schulte

  Can you find it Outside? Jessica Schulte.

Colors: A First Art Book  Lucy Micklethwait 
Children: A First Art Book  Lucy Micklethwait
IMAGE NOT AVAILABLE Can you find it? Judith Cressy
IMAGE NOT AVAILABLE Can you find it, too? Judith Cressy
I Spy: an Alphabet in Art Lucy Micklethwait
 I Spy Shapes in Art Lucy Micklethwait
 Look! Zoom in on Art!  Gillian Wolfe