A few weeks ago, I hosted my first art show. But the show didn’t feature my artwork. Instead, this show featured student work from my observational drawing class. A big thank you to the parents, students, and local library for making the First Annual Homeschool Art Show a smashing success!
Observational Drawing for Kids
I had every intention of writing a post about the year-long observational drawing class I’ve been teaching this past year, but man, life has been busy. I have plans to get to it…soon. After we move. And paint. And install floors. And I finish up the Art History class I’m taking. But enough about my shortcomings. Here’s a partial list of activities we followed.
Kids’ Art Show
Around October, I knew I wanted to host an art show for the kids, but I wasn’t sure what it would look like. Initially, I thought we should open it up to the homeschool community and my students could be the curators. But as we got closer to spring, I wasn’t sure how to tackle that particular challenge. Instead, the homeschool parents opted for a low-key affair with artwork from the students in the class.
Around February, I reserved the meeting room at our local library and started planning the specifics. I decided to showcase four art pieces from each student, three pieces were completed drawings and one was an entry from their nature journal. All entries were self-selected.
Nature Journaling for Kids
For the spring semester, I focused on animals and other items from nature. To reinforce the concept of observation, I introduced the students to nature journals. A consistent nature journaling practice develops observation skills, something all artists need. I found a lot of inspiration in Clare Walker Leslie and John Muir Laws.
In addition to a online drawing tutorial, each week the kids created an entry in their nature journals. We shared our findings at the beginning of the class. It was such a large part of their spring semester work, and I wanted to honor that work at the art show (the kids were less enthusiastic about the idea, but they came around).
I had never hosted an art show before and I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to display their four pieces of art, so I was grateful when a friend mentioned artist statements. She had asked her children to create one for their own pieces of art and conveyed the idea to me. I realized this was the missing piece to the show.
The students filled out this worksheet, and typed it up in paragraph form. After a little bit of editing, I printed out two artist statements for each student and matted them on black construction paper. I also had the students write a short autobiographical note about who they were and what they liked about making art.
Art Show Logistics
I wanted to make this a special event to help the kids see how far they’ve come in their drawing skills. Thankfully, the parents were willing to help. Everyone brought a dish to share (cookies, veggie tray, etc.), and one parent even bought potted plants to liven up the meeting room.
I set up most of the artwork using book displays (borrowed from the library), and laid out the kids’ work in an alternating pattern. Thanks to our local library, set-up and take down was very easy and the central location contributed to the show’s success.