Thursday, June 23, 2011

iRead "Make Art Mistakes: A Creativity Sketchbook"

Before beginning grad school, I worked to manage and grow the Family Workshops program at The New Victory Theater. I was consistently inspired by the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art)'s family programs. They offer workshops, talks, and gallery guides for families, which are usually free or heaviliy subsidized.

I particularly enjoyed reading through their gallery guides. The team of arts educators who developed these, used very direct and accessible language. You can only imagine how thrilled I was to find their new art book for kids on a recent museum visit! The MoMA has just published Make Art Mistakes: A Creativity Sketchbook.

The book is filled with motivational quotes from well-known visual artists and provides a scaffolded guide of experimental art activities, including line-drawing, portraiture, and pattern-making. Included on almost every page of the book are those well-written directives that made me love the MoMA family guides. However, there are a few pages distributed throughout the book that provide blank space for a child's (or adult's) own doodles.

I completely fell in love with several sections of the book. So many pages provide graphing squares or dotes to help create shapes. Two pages at the beginning prompt young artists to draw lines that exhibit different emotions. This kind of activity seems fun, simple, and could support positive emotional development in very young children who are acquiring the vocabulary to identify the way they feel. I also loved the "create a color wheel" section, where artists fill in the shades between the primary colors. Lastly, the book provides three spaces "to record the color of the sky at three different times of the day." It might be nice to do some of these activities on large pieces of paper for homemade artwork to hang on the wall.

My only criticism is that the book would value from more descriptions. If I was a young artist, I might wonder, "What is a portrait?" "What is texture?" "How do I create rubbings?" Putting the descriptions right on the page of the directive might be nice. A glossary could easily be overlooked.

I could see this being a great activity book for a rainy summer day! Though I think kids as young as 3 would enjoy working with this book, I recommend it for ages 6 to 12. It requires a lot of reading and would provide a great deal of independent work for this age cohort.

Learn more about the MoMA family programs here. Buy the book from Amazon and check out MoMA's other books for kids here.

"Don't worry about mistakes. Making things out of mistakes, that's creativity." -Peter Max

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