The Program

by Marie Plug

Leela Perea and I are colleagues in Youth Services at Pasadena Central Library. We are both passionate about art, libraries and working with children. We wanted to create a library program that would engage the minds and imaginations of children ages 7-12, while introducing them to art history, art, and artists.  Thus, Kids’ Art Salon was born. Since March 2015, we have shared our love of art with over 200 children.

Kids’ Art Salon is a quarterly art/art history program designed to teach children about artists and the ways art can act as a catalyst for transformation and social change.

Kids’ Art Salon is a quarterly art/art history program designed to teach children about artists and the ways art can act as a catalyst for transformation and social change. It also provides children with the opportunity to create a work of art inspired by a Master artist or art form. Complex concepts such as “abstract” art, “readymade art” and “activist” art have been topics of past sessions, while various media and art styles are also incorporated.

Click image for the PDF.

Each year’s sessions are planned with an overarching theme in mind. During our first year, we tried to answer the question: What is Art? Works by Piet Mondrian, Frida Kahlo, Henri Matisse, and Marcel Duchamp provided the backdrop for this question. For last year’s Artist as Activist theme, we explored the art of Corita Kent, Jesse Arms Botke, Joseph Cornell and Norman Rockwell. The current political climate inspired our theme for 2017: Multicultural Art: Art that tells the story of a people. We’ll explore art forms from Ghana, Indonesia, India and Panama.

Teaching children about art encourages tolerance, helps build bridges between cultures and highlights the importance of understanding things from another person’s perspective. It also promotes visual literacy and cultivates the love of making things.

Teaching children about art encourages tolerance, helps build bridges between cultures and highlights the importance of understanding things from another person’s perspective. It also promotes visual literacy and cultivates the love of making things. We believe all of these inform the work of public libraries – providing access to information, supporting literacy, embracing diversity, and modeling inclusivity.

The First Quarter Project, 2017 –Ghana, Kente Cloth

by Leela Perea

Once we come up with our “theme” for the year, we further discuss and research the different aspects of our subject, keeping in mind that the Salon lecture and project need to be interesting enough to capture the attention of children ages 7-12, that the whole session must be completed within a two-hour time frame, and that we must stick to our budget. Marie and I also want the children to make art without fear of judgement so the emphasis is always on creativity, inspiration and fun, not perfection.

For our 2017 first quarter topic, we found a great Kente cloth art project on the Crayola website. Ultimately, the project fit our budget, age range, and time constraints.  

Reflections

Overall, the Kente cloth session was successful. Marie gave a brief introduction to the history of Kente cloth and how it was brought as a domestic art form to Ghana (see the PDF of the PowerPoint presentation here). She then explained the symbolism and colors used in Kente cloth and the actual process involved in weaving the cloth. The children were fascinated when they viewed a video of a Kente weaver using his entire body to work the loom:

One thing I was concerned about was trying to convey the idea of weaving cloth by using paper, but as usual one of the older boys caught right on, started weaving the paper strips, and made a lovely example of the Kente warp and weft weave. The younger children were able to grasp the concept of sewing together long strips of cloth by taping their decorated paper strips together to form one complete art piece. The project was simple enough for the younger children, yet could be made more complex for the older children. It also conveyed the concepts of weaving, of attaching (sewing) the strips to form a whole piece, and of telling a story through design.

Want More?

 

Marie Plug is a Youth Services Specialist at Pasadena Central Library. Her areas of expertise include library programs and services for children with special needs, art and art history programming and outreach to foster youth and families experiencing homelessness.   She is also fascinated by issues of community and global health and has a Master of Public Health degree.

 

 

Leela Perea is the founder of Pot.Au.Feu Studio located in Los Angeles. Leela has been making art nonstop since childhood and shows no signs of stopping. She loves to encourage other children to do the same. This combined with her passion for art/art history has led her to a partnership with Marie Plug, creator of Kids’ Art Salon at Pasadena Public Library.

Pin It