inspired by Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences and the Core Knowledge Foundation
When my oldest child was 2 years old, she showed me a picture in a magazine and said, "Mommy, look! It's a painting by Van Gogh!" Sure enough, it was Starry Night. After getting over the initial shock, I showed her some art books we had around the house. She identified several other paintings by Van Gogh. I was floored! At 2 years old, she was able to recognize Van Gogh paintings, thanks to Julie Aigner-Clark's Baby Van Gogh. It made me appreciate the brilliance of teaching colors by using art masterpieces. It also made me wonder and quickly got me exploring what other artists she could learn about (Monet was an early favorite) and what other concepts she could learn using art (letters, numbers, vocabulary words, history)...
Fortunately, I soon discovered HOWARD GARDNER's THEORY OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES which explores different learning and teaching styles using children's strengths and interests. (Take an ASSESSMENT here.) That was quickly followed by a lucky find at Costco, the CORE KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION's series of books, What Your (Kindergartender, First Grader, etc.) Needs to Know, and an even luckier happenstance that our local school actually used the Core Knowledge Curriculum.
At that school, I was introduced to the Art Masterpiece Program, a volunteer-run art appreciation program. It is an amazing and fun way for children to be introduced to and learn about the works of art that are integral to our culture and to world history. Kids learn about important artists and their styles, explore art masterpieces and how the artist tells his or her story using the elements of art, and create their own masterpieces based on the assigned piece. They gain an understanding of how events that shape history influence art and vice versa. The program made me realize how important it was for children to grow up having an appreciation for art. It also saddened me that with budget constraints, fewer and fewer schools had the ability or resources to have a full-blown art program, much less an extra, volunteer-run art appreciation program.
Hence, the development of this website. It is for my children and all the children I have been fortunate enough to teach through the Art Masterpiece Program who always welcome me into their classrooms with excited smiles. Thank you for showing me how much fun art and art history can be. It is also for all the children (and adults) who have not had the same opportunities to appreciate art. With today's technology and resources online, it is becoming easier to share what we know with each other. I hope that this website helps to facilitate that sharing of ideas not just about art, but also about how to incorporate the beauty of art in our everyday lessons.
So... come and have fun with us as we explore the wonderful world of art! Come visit often because we are constantly adding new lessons, activities, games, and links...
Some suggestions for using the materials in the program:
*Focus on an artist and masterpiece and discuss how the artist tells his or her story.
*Be inspired by the art that you see and recreate it using recycled materials.
*Explore different writing assignments (such as essays, poetry, math-art-science projects).
*Use the lessons for extra credit work.
*Do computer lab and/or library research.
*Hold weekly contests (such as scavenger hunts with drawings for prizes).
Visit a museum, look through an art book, look at art cards, or search the internet (with your parents’ permission, of course) for works of art. A great resource (with your parents' supervision) to get an amazing view of art is ART PROJECT BY GOOGLE. Now play…
SPY, SPY, ART SPY…
A fun twist on Spy, Spy, I Spy… Take turns calling out, “Spy, Spy, I Spy… a ballerina, a man in a wheat field, a little dog, a woman carrying a basket, some apples, twelve sunflowers, two white horses, a red circle, a blue line…” The possibilities are endless! For a more difficult challenge, try finding the elements of art! “Spy, Spy, I Spy… color, value, line, shape, form, texture, space…” Or try finding things in alphabetical order! “Spy, Spy, I Spy… something that starts with the letter A… B… C…”
Take turns telling a story using the artwork. Here are some variations:
Pick one painting or sculpture each and take turns telling your story;
Pick several paintings and/or sculptures and put them together to tell your story;
Have the first person pick a painting or sculpture and start a story with it. Then have the next person pick another painting or sculpture and add it to the first to continue the story. Take turns until you decide to end the story.
LIFE IMITATING ART (or ART CHARADES)…
Just like charades, take turns acting out and guessing the artwork. Use props and costumes if you would like.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR? WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
Pretend that you are going into the artwork. What should you wear? What should you bring? Think and talk about the weather and the season, the occasion, the period in history, the country, the people you might meet, what you might do there…
WHAT’S THE STORY?
Ask yourself, what was the artist thinking when he or she created the masterpiece? What was he or she feeling? Why did he or she use those colors or those shapes or those materials? Now it’s your turn! What are you thinking about as you look at the masterpiece? How are you feeling as you look at the colors or shapes or actions in the picture?
FIND A MATCH!
Find things that match in the different artwork. For example, find the same kind of fruits, vegetables, flowers, animals, or scenery. You may even find the same people or models in the different art pieces. Some artists painted the same subject several times. Artist friends often created similar artwork. Some artists also copied other artists’ work. Which paintings or sculptures do you prefer? Why? How are the works of art similar? How are they different?
Or if you have matching pictures (art cards), play Concentration (Memory) or Old Maid.
HEY, HEY, WHAT DO YOU SAY?
Make up a conversation between the people in the artwork. What are they saying? What are they thinking? Where are they going? What are they doing? How are they feeling?