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Explore and Make Art at The Met

Emily Sutter
April 28, 2016
The class working on their artworks

Kids painting in Material Exploration, a Children's Class at The Met. Photos by Emily Sutter

«Did you know that The Met offers art classes for kids? Once a week for eight weeks each fall and spring, experienced educators and teaching artists use the entire Museum—from the studios to the galleries—as an expanded classroom. Last Saturday, I stopped by Material Exploration, one of the Children's Classes at The Met, to see what Teaching Artist Rosemarie Fiore and her class have been up to.»

Evelyn painting

A kid artist at work in Material Exploration

The class first had fun using watercolors to finish paintings, and everyone chatted while they worked. Inspired by the work of French artists Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, they used dots of paint to add color to their artworks. Sydney, age 9, made a painting based on Signac's The Town Beach, Collioure, Opus 165 (Collioure. La Plage de la ville. Opus 165).

Sydney's landscape

Sunny City by Sydney, age 9

Later, the class visited the exhibition Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawing #370, where the kids observed that Sol LeWitt used stripes to create shapes. Based on this technique, Rosemarie showed them how to make a composition using shapes cut from patterned paper. Composition is the arrangement of elements such as shapes, lines, and colors in a painting or other work of art. Find an artwork you made or a favorite photograph, and look at its composition. Which elements of art make up its composition?

The class in front of a Sol Lewitt painting

The class explores the shapes and patterns in Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing #370

Back in the studio, the class made their own artworks inspired by LeWitt. While they worked, I asked them about their experience of Material Exploration, and they were happy to share!

Olivia and Megan working

Kid artists making a large composition inspired by Sol LeWitt

Since it was the last class for the spring, Rosemarie and Studio Assistants Alayna Wiley and Ralph Sanabria hung all of the art the kids made each week on the wall for them and their parents to see. Everything they created was inspired by artworks at the Museum, and Evelyn, age 7, said, "all of them were fun to make!"

They constructed paper collages inspired by the four-cornered hats made by people of the Wari culture in Peru. Elinor, age 7, told me that she cut shapes and pasted them on the piece of paper she used as a background to make her collage. Kaylia, age 7, overlapped many of the shapes she cut.

Meenakshi and Kaylia's artwork

Left: Drip painting by Meenakshi, age 7. Right: Collage by Kaylia, age 7

Kaylia also made drip paintings inspired by Pat Steir's Sixteen Waterfalls of Dreams, Memories, and Sentiment. After painting the background one color and letting it dry, she applied tempera paint to the top of her painting and let gravity pull it down, which created a drip effect.

Sydney, who enjoyed making prints, described how she made one of a horse. She first "drew it on the foam" by pressing down with a pencil, and then "painted it with rollers" and "pressed it on the paper." Afterward, she washed off the foam to make a print in another color. Do you notice a difference between the foam plates and the prints? Hint: think about when you look in a mirror.

Sydney's prints

Prints with foam plates by Sydney, age 9

The class also experimented with texture and paint when they made collages inspired by Irene Rice Pereira's White Rectangles, Number 3. For these collages, they mixed different colors of acrylic paint and applied them to canvas paper. Some kids even mixed in sand to add texture! Then, they cut up the canvas paper into different rectangular shapes and pasted them together on a piece of paper.

Olivia's cubist artwork

Abstract composition by Olivia, age 8

Every kid left with new art and experiences from their class at The Met!

Would you like to join a Children's Class? The Education department is hosting an open house at the Museum on Sunday, July 10, from 1 to 4 pm. Don't miss out! You can also email or call 212-570-3961 for information about the Children's Classes that will be offered in the fall. A limited number of class scholarships are available; call or email for details.

Related Event
Children's Classes Open House
Sunday, July 10, 1–4 pm
The Met Fifth Avenue - Carson Family Hall, Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education
Free with Museum admission; admission is free for children under 12 with an adult

Emily Sutter

Emily Sutter is a producer and editor in the Digital Department.