Today is a big day for the arts - it's Arts Advocacy Day 2010! Various arts groups visit capitol hill today to remind congress that the arts are essential to our education and they should not be left out of future reform legislation. A few famous people will be milling around the Hill, even testifying in congressional hearings.
In honor of this important day, I'll share a few of our recent art endeavours. I've directed 2 art days at Little S's preschool class in the last month. The first was all about Jackson Pollock. We read the children's book ACTION JACKSON We looked at a few pics of Pollock in action - working on his famous drip paintings. Then we headed outside and I had a giant canvas (about 6 feet)for the kids to try their hands at action painting. I had a bucket of tools and oddities for them to choose from, pie plates of various paint colors for them to dip the tools into and then drip/splatter/toss them across the canvas. All the while Louie Armstrong was playing in the background (because the book we read stated that Pollock loved to listed to Jazz).
Overall, the Pollock project was a hit. Even when more than one of the kids started scooping paint with their hands from the pie plates onto the canvas and then smearing it around like finger paint. I never said they couldn't do that, right? My mantra with child art projects: It's About the Process, Not the Product! They loved it and I came home with paint in my hair, on my back, even my watchband got a smear - obviously, a successful day at school. Seeing the kids enjoy themselves and let loose with creativity is what it's all about.
Less successful was my Dada project a la Marcel Duchamp. I attempted Happy Accident art where the kids dip string in paint and drop it from above their paper to see in what shape the string lands. They liked it for a few minutes, but most wandered off. BUT, the bigger success that time was the book I read. Whereas they didn't love the Pollock book (Little S said she didn't like the pics - they were in this loose illustrative style), the kids were captivated as I read them Art by Patrick McDonnell. This book is our family favorite, given by my dad to Little S when she was 2. It was the first book she memorized - she LOVES it and I do, too.
So, save the arts in your schools and love the arts in your homes.