New Britain Museum of American Art – Family Open Studios
Here at the New Britain Museum of American Art, we have a wide variety of educational programs catering to children and adults of all ages. With the opening of our new Art Studios comes a program designed to make the creative process fun and accessible to all ages. Family Open Studios is free and requires no artistic ability whatsoever. Our volunteer educators tap into your creative side with simple, experimental projects inspired by artists from Gilbert Stuart to Sol LeWitt. The program allows families to work together to create art in a fun and welcoming environment. Free public programs like this one wouldn’t be possible without the generous donations from S&S Worldwide. Each week at Family Open Studios we create a new project utilizing a variety of supplies.
One project used masking tape, white paper, and tempera paint to create abstract art. The kids created a pattern on their paper using the masking tape, then each chose up to three colors of the tempera paint to paint over it. Once the paintings dried, the kids peeled off their tape to reveal an interesting and unique pattern. All the kids (and some adults!) really enjoyed creating their abstract masterpieces and the variety of different colored paint we offered really allowed them to express themselves. Everyone was in awe when we peeled off the masking tape to reveal the crisp white lines of the paper showing in between splotches of paint. It was a fun way to use simple tools to create exciting artwork!
The most recent project offered by Family Open Studios was a Make Your Own Monster project. To do this, children cut out different shapes of construction paper to make a head, body, and face for a monster of their very own design. Surrounded by different scraps of brightly colored construction paper, children sat and carefully cut out different shapes for their monsters. The construction paper allowed kids to really get creative and make any shape they wanted. Some kids strayed from the monster theme making pictures of flowers, cats, or people. They really took to the construction paper layering techniques and produced some excellent results!
School Programs – New Museum Britain of American Art
The New Britain Museum of American Art is uniquely able to offer a hands-on art activity component to all school visits for K-12. These art activities incorporate Common Core Standards with connections to our museum collection, and are tailored to cover the broad range of school children. Our academic studio programming relies very heavily on our generously donated materials from S&S Worldwide. These materials allow us to offer a wide selection of programming to the thousands of school children we serve every month.
Most of our school art activities rely completely on S&S donated materials. One excellent example of this is our Artist’s Benches Activity, suitable for grades 3-8. Connecting to our collection of commissioned functional art, participants create miniature benches out of railroad board and decorate with markers, pom-poms, pipe cleaners, confetti, and even googly eyes! Museum educators leading this activity encourage students to envision themselves as real artists receiving a commission to create a bench to pair with an artwork or a gallery at NBMAA.
Another project that uses exclusively S&S materials is our math-centric Symmetrical Cityscapes activity. Using a black construction paper background, participants in grades K-2 use glue sticks and pre-cut construction paper in geometric shapes to create a cityscape. We then use Color Sticks to create a symmetrical reflection beneath the cityscape. This activity encourages young students to problem-solve and plan their composition, as well as demonstrating how geometry appears in our everyday world.
About the Authors:
Ellie Lloyd is currently an intern in the Education Department of the New Britain Museum of American Art. She has been working there since January of 2016 planning and implementing lessons for the Family Open Studio Program. She is also currently a student at Central Connecticut State University studying Art Education, and will graduate in December of 2016.
Kate Swanson is the Studio Educator for Academic Programs at the New Britain Museum of American Art. She assists with Art Activity lesson planning, teaches Art Activities for school field trips, and conceives and implements ArtLab activities. Kate attended public schools in New Britain, and is a life-long visitor of the NBMAA. She received her BA in Art History at Southern Connecticut State University in 2011, and her MA in Art History with a concentration in Native American art from the University of Oklahoma in 2015.