Pablo Picasso said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” What an extraordinary thought. Do you agree with it? Many do. Without a doubt, life wears on us. We all, young people included, get coated in the monotonous dust of daily life. Some adults try to remove this dust by disconnecting from reality through watching excessive TV, drinking too much, gossiping, etc. Other have healthy ways of washing away the grime of this world. But what about children? They also choke on the dust of daily living–going to school, coming home, doing homework, going to sleep, then waking up and repeating the process. Life isn’t always easy for them. They must have the dust of daily life washed off of them, too. How? One way is to teach these young people about quality works of art and the artists who create(d) them. Pablo Picasso would likely approve of this strategy.
Are Children Being Exposed to Enough Art?
In today’s world, most children are definitely not being exposed to a sufficient amount of art. Instead, they are staring mindlessly into an iPad screen and watching YouTube, or watching television for hours. What a tragedy. There is nothing inherently wrong with YouTube and television, but there is something very wrong with the absence of art in a child’s (or adult’s) life. These precious souls should be nourished with the rich fare of beautiful, soul-shaping works of art.
How to Get Children to Love Art
If a person is to be well rounded, he or she should have at least a basic knowledge of acclaimed works of art and notable artists. The process of learning about art outside of the classroom should preferably be started in an individual’s youth. Not every child will fall in love with art during this process, but a good many will. To get children to love art, parents must show them pictures of art that would be interesting to kids, read them kid-friendly biographies of artists, ask them questions about their opinions of art, and give them a chance to create their own art using similar techniques as renowned artists. Will this require an investment of time and effort on a parent’s part? Yes, but it will be an investment that will yield a priceless result: children who have an appreciation, if not love, for art.
8 Artists Every Child Should Know About
There are many artists that every should know about; today we will highlight just eight…
- Michelangelo – No one’s general education is complete apart from an introduction to Michelangelo. Children will love hearing about how long it took this artist to paint the Sistine Chapel and the lengths he went to to complete this task.
- Faith Ringgold – If you really want to engage a child’s interest, teach him or her about Faith Ringgold. However, before you share facts about her, read the child Tar Beach. This book, written and illustrated by Ringgold, won the Caldecott Medal in 1992. It has captivated the imaginations of children around the world and will open up opportunities for you to teach kids about Ringgold’s story quilts. Find out more about Faith Ringgold here.
- Vincent Van Gogh – Vincent Van Gogh’s art is something everyone, including young people, should be familiar with. Starry Night would be a good introductory Van Gogh painting for children to study. Here is a Starry Night-themed art project for young people.
- Beatrix Potter – If you want to quickly interest children in an artist, read Beatrix Potter’s books to them. Start with The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and by all means show them her illustrations. Even older children are likely to want to know more about the author/artist who has been beloved by young people for over 100 years.
- Norman Rockwell – Norman Rockwell is known worldwide for the work he produced for The Saturday Evening Post. He expertly created pieces of art that depicted everyday life for Americans. His work is so animated that one almost expects the subjects to breathe or speak. The artwork he produced lends itself to being studied and delighted in by children. Get kids interested in his work by reading them his kid-friendly biography. Researching Rockwell’s artwork is also a great way to spark conversation about what life was like for Americans decades ago.
- Georgia O’Keeffe – Georgia O’Keeffe’s work is, in a word, beautiful. She is the master of detail. Heather, host of a homeschool blog, suggests introducing kids to O’Keeffe’s art by giving them this art project to complete. She wrote, “This project is always one of the first I do with kids who are new to art. Georgia O’Keeffe takes something so simple, and explores it in detail. She makes it big, and beautiful. I want the kids to really LOOK at the world around them. I want them to see the details. Georgia O’Keeffe’s art is also special in that her art is so seemingly simple – this is a project the kids can do and get amazing results. I teach kids ages 6-12, and every one of them ends up with a beautiful final project.”
- Grandma Moses – Grandma Moses is an artist that children are bound to love. Show them her primitive art and enthusiastically tell them the story of how she didn’t begin her art career until she was much older than was usual. You might be surprised to discover that kids want to know more about Grandma Moses. Learn all about Grandma Moses here.
- Bunky Echo–Hawk – Born in 1975, Bunky Echo-Hawk is a painter who was the co-founder and director of a national Native non-profit that centered on Native youth development. His extremely colorful and expressive artwork is sure to be a hit with children. Not all of his paintings may be appropriate for children, so use discretion when choosing what pieces of art to show them.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, you are clearly interested in enriching the lives of children through art. Here are a few post-reading questions for you:
— Do you agree that children should be familiarized with the artists we suggested? Why or why not?
— What are the top 3 artists you feel every young person should learn about?
— Who is your child’s favorite artist?
— What piece of art does your child most enjoy?
Please share your answers with us in the section below!
Read more Segmation blog posts about kids and art:
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