ART IS FUNDAMENTAL
I have been interested in art and art history most of my life. I loved traveling the world through my books and glimpsing into the lives of fascinating people who shaped history. I have an eclectic background as a working artist, gallery director, and teaching art to children. All of these came together in Art Literacy Academy which developed as an after-school and summer enrichment program for K-4th in Portland, Oregon. The ALA class's focus is on learning about art while also having fun and developing their own style. My intention, in addition to creating art, was to introduce the students to a deeper understanding of the artist's journey, and other cultures as we study the country, the techniques, and influences of the time period. I do not follow an exact timeline, but I do begin with ancient cultures which are the foundations of all art.
I show examples of the art and designs and how they are reflected in contemporary art. In the lessons, we explore the connection between Art, Nature, Science, and the Humanities. Art develops skills in observation, research, critical thinking, problem-solving, and above all a "can do attitude". Many of the artists we look at have overcome disabilities and limitations to create great art. Their personal stories of perseverance and resourcefulness are important parts of each lesson. Of course, it is important to edit for the age level.
After a discussion about the artist and techniques, I emphasize that they can be inspired by the featured artist, but also infuse their own personality into the art. The children love a challenge and have a great sense of accomplishment when the projects are completed. It has been amazing to see their confidence rise as well as their ability to converse about art. I call them my "Art Stars" because their light shines so bright and they always surprise and inspire me.
Many thanks to my students and their amazing parents that have been so supportive. Since the school closures in March, I have missed my classes and summer camps so much, so I have been adapting the lessons to be available online. I appreciate your feedback, especially if you have questions in regard to the step-by-step process or the material sources for the lessons. Please check out the Resources List within each lesson. I will be adding new artists and print-out activities each month.
Take care, and check back from time to time.