Today’s post comes from Gabrielle Miranda, class of 2018 and Art Center Student Docent.
A group of young art appreciators joined us at the Art Center on June 3 for Storytime at the Museum to read about and explore the theme, “Lines and Shapes in Art.” This was the third Storytime the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center has hosted this spring, the preceding two focusing on “Animals in Art” and “Astronomy and Art.” Each 45-minute-long Storytime program consists of a reading of two picture books, a poem, a song, and a hands-on activity all relating to the given topic. The youngsters (ages 3-5) also get the chance to walk around the galleries, looking at specific paintings to enhance the stories.
After reviewing our vocabulary for “Shapes and Lines,” we read Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh and Perfect Square by Michael Hall. Mouse Shapes chronicles the story of three mice and their adventures using shapes to build houses and trees and to save themselves from a big cat! Perfect Square is a marvelously illustrated story of a square whose shape is changed each day of the week into beautiful landscapes and collages. Our review of shapes, lines, and corners through the books prepared us for our gallery walk where we looked at Marsden Hartley’s Indian Composition, Georgia O’Keefe’s East River No. 3, and Mowing Machine and Broome County from the Black Diamond by Arthur Garfield Dove.
Each of these paintings exemplified the different uses of lines and shapes that artists used to create their images that we had begun talking about using the storybooks. Moving along through the galleries, we also looked at José Bedia’s Dominio de La Situación in Fluid Ecologies, our temporary exhibition of Carribean art from FLLAC’s permanent collection.
We paused briefly in front of Jackson Pollock’s Number 10, 1950 and asked the children to try to trace the direction of some of the lines in the air with their fingers. To finish our tour we took a look at Roy Lichtenstein’s Modular Painting with Nine Panels; the painting offered a thorough summary of what we had learned from the other pictures.
Equipped with the knowledge that shapes and lines composed so much of what we could see in the world around us and in art, the children, with the help of their grown-ups, then used cut-out shapes to make their own artwork in Hartley-inspired, handmade drawing books that they could take with them.
Storytime at the Museum will resume in September with new themes, activities, and another chance for little ones (and their guardians-turned-studio-assistants) to enjoy the Art Center.