Young Picassos

LEM Image 075“Dear Angela, My kids generate so much artwork? Can you help?”

A common question. What you can count on as the years go by however, is less artwork being produced. Quality will eventually replace quantity. I find the best way to win cooperation is to make a game of the process while teaching life experiences via setting boundaries.

Phase 1: “Monthly Gallery”

Display items produced in the current month on either a small area of wall or on the child’s bedroom door. Use about 5 old frames of varying sizes, brightly paint the frames and remove the glass. Use small pieces of removable masking tape to tape into frames from behind. Above and below the frames, add 2 widths of tension wire or string, and use for pegging other items. Buy a large plastic crate with a lid to store and display awkward craft projects near the hung items.

Rationalle: To respect and appreciate the artist’s work for the current month.

Phase 2: “Exhibition”

Held close to the last day of the month. Artist/s and guests dress up and help make snacks. The artist/s welcome guests and all discuss the pieces. Photos are taken of the pieces with the artist, 3 items are awarded 1st, 2nd & 3rd place along with 2 honorary mentions. These 5 pieces are kept. Other items may be purchased or given as gifts. (use lollies, trade time or toys as payment).

Rationalle: To teach that art is appreciated, celebrated, shared, judged, critiqued, bought and sold.

Phase 3: “Bump Out”

A term used when theatre sets or an exhibition is dismantled in preparation for the next. Here the artist/s sort the work.

Keep: Awarded items
Distribute: Items for sale, or for relatives and friends.
Recycled: Items easily dismantled and reused in new art.
– Large paper items can be used as wrapping paper.
– Flat cardboard items can be cut up into gift tags.
– Medium paper items can be used to cover school exercise books, storage boxes, pencil cups etc.
Discarded: Some items can go into paper recycling as long as there are no non-recyclable materials (e.g. sticky-tape, glue, staples etc.).
Archived: Suggested storage methods as follows:

A4 – Foolscap Sized Flat Items
–    Binders with plastic sleeves.
–    Portable suspension file crates. Label each tab for the month.
–    Digitally photographed.

Flat Items above A4
–    Large A2 or A1 size cardboard portfolio envelopes decorated with child’s artwork (buy or make your own).
–    Jumbo sized plastic zip-lock bags. (yes they exist, usually to store linen).
– Digitally photographed.

3 Dimensional Items
Digitally photographed from a few angles and kept on each child’s yearly USB stick, label and keep in a small box. Load into computer or a digital picture frame to view. I’ve also created slideshows of my children’s artwork using a iPhoto’s ‘make a book’ feature, but this could also be done using Keynote (for Mac) or Powerpoint. You may also want to look into online storage ‘clouds’. Or downloadable scrapbooking software such as Smile Box.

Rationalle: How to be selective, decisive and discerning. Lessons in recycling, reuse of materials. Generosity. Valuing experiences over material possessions. That all processes have a beginning, a middle and an end. Just as in the real world. Spatial awareness i.e. only keep what you have room to keep.

The whole cycle starts again at the beginning of the next month. Cull again at the end of the year. A nice holiday activity  for when boredom sets in!

Inspirational Links on how to display and preserve special pieces of  children’s artwork:

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