What is art? That is a question that is open to interpretation. A formal definition might be that art is simply creative expression. With that idea in mind, ask your children how they define art. Their answers might surprise you. From there, you can find all kinds of ways to develop their interest in art. Start with this list:
- To begin, have your children create something they consider to be art. For example, if they feel art is a beautiful painting, have them each create a painting. Follow-up with a discussion about their paintings—continuing the “what makes it art” conversation? You can also talk about famous artists whose artwork your child thinks theirs might resemble. They can do research about these artists and then discuss what they have learned. Who knows… planning a weekly art activity like this one might just generate an ongoing love for Claude Monet or Pablo Picasso!
- Visiting art museums or places in your community where art is displayed is another way to foster your children’s interest in art. A lot of art museums offer free admission. There are usually places in the community where local artists display their work as well. Checkout these museums and places on a regular basis with your children. Discuss the art displayed by asking questions like: (1) What is your first reaction to the art? (2) The more you walk around the piece, do you begin to see it differently? (3) What adjectives would you use to describe the art? (See Cindy Ingram’s The Art Curator for Kids blog post “82 Questions to Ask About Art” for more questions.) Asking your children these types of specific questions will get the discussion going. Let your children know their opinion matters. You can also encourage them to write a letter to the artist or to the museum in regards to their favorite piece of art after the visit.
- Signing your children up for art classes will show them that art is important in their lives. Do a google search for local art studios or stop by your local library and ask a librarian to help you find a place that offers children’s art classes; the library might even be one of those places. Also, keep an eye on your local newspaper for announcements related to special art programs that are coming to your community. If you can’t find a place where your children can learn more about art, find a nearby university that has a fine arts program. Then, contact the program director to see if he or she knows of any students who might want to tutor on the subject.
- Giving your children recognition for their artwork will really get them motivated to continue creating. Display their artwork throughout the house, in places where visitors can see it too. With your lead, conversation can easily be generated between your children and the people who visit. This may be enlightening to the children or the vistors! Another way to display their artwork is by creating an Instagram account that you manage. Pictures of their newest artwork can easily be shared with friends and family members. Then, you can share the comments everyone makes about their artwork with them.