By Beth Simon
There’s no doubt that art plays a huge part in our lives and especially in the lives of children. Before children learn to write, they learn to draw. Painting, drawing, sculpting, dancing, music…all aspects of art surround us and provide a connection between ourselves and others and a connection between us and the world around us. World Art Day was established April 15, 2012 by the International Association of Art (IAA) in honor of Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday. So how can you celebrate World Art Day? We have some ideas.
Visit a museum or gallery
If there is an option local to you, you may want to plan a visit to a museum or art gallery. This will provide children the opportunity to experience different art mediums (sculpture, painting, drawing, mixed media, etc.) in person. There’s no denying that experiencing art up close and in-person is ideal, but we know that’s not always possible. Currently some museums are offering free virtual tours, check it out!
Do an art lesson
To set up the art lesson, immerse children in the works of famous artists, local artists, and books that not only display examples of art, but also books that encourage children’s artistic creativity. Turn the classroom into a museum/art studio with access to a variety of art materials and mediums, including but not limited to markers, pencils, papers, glue, paint, scissors, buttons, brushes, canvases, pipe cleaners, clay, craft sticks, etc. Reading books about famous artists and works of art and discussing the artwork displayed in the classroom in a meaningful way will spark creativity among children. Talk about the strokes of the brush, the colors that were mixed to make the perfect shade, and how the artist might have created the piece of art. Allow children to explore with the art materials provided and create their own masterpieces. A variety of art lesson plans are available at the Boca Raton Museum of Art website for grades K-8.
Invite a local artist or theatre company to visit
Does your local high school put on productions or do art shows? Do you have a local community theatre? What about a local artist or artisan willing to share? Children love when a visitor comes to their classroom. Invite a special guest to perform or share their artwork with them firsthand. This doesn’t have to require a lot of time on the teacher’s part or the part of the visitor. Children have short attention spans. Be specific with your guest on what you’re looking for in their presentation and keep it short and sweet, 15-20 minutes. And allow plenty of time for questions!
Support a local non-profit
The arts are in dire need of our support and funding. Provide resources for families about local art organizations who need volunteers, supplies, ticket sales, donations, etc.
World Art Day is a day for us all to come together to appreciate and support the arts in all shapes and forms. Art appreciation begins when we’re young. By encouraging a love for the arts in children there will be a well-supported art community!
Children’s Books for inspiring young artists:
The Art Book for Children, by Phaidon Press
Children’s Book of Art: An Introduction to the World’s Most Amazing Paintings and Sculptures, by DK
I am an Artist, by Marta Altes
Women Who Made Their Mark on the World, by Thames and Hudson
Katie and the Sunflowers, by James Mayhew