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Caution: Future Masters at Work!

October 23, 2015 | By Rachel Zink

This month at Arts For Life, students are taking their cues from the experts: Keith Haring, Frida Kahlo, Alma Thomas, Roy Lichtenstein, just to name a few. October’s theme is Art History and Teacher’s Choice, and students and teachers alike are seizing the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of some of the world’s most influential artists.

Erica's GardenIn this lesson, which focuses on the vibrant works of Japanese artist Miroco Machiko, students have been inspired to draw and paint their own Machiko-style plants and animals. Erica, 14, was immediately drawn to Machiko’s botanical paintings when she saw them hanging in the art room on the 9th floor at Brenner Children’s Hospital. She sat down with a box of oil pastels and quietly created her piece “Garden” (at right) while younger children at the busy art table bounced from project to play all around her.

Spencer's TigerAt the same time, a couple of those bouncy younger students, Joseph and Spencer, inspired by Machiko’s playful animal paintings, stopped at the art table to make their own animals. Joseph drew a turtle swimming in a bright blue crayon-resist pond (at top), and Spencer created a ferocious tiger (at left).

Program Director Betsey McLawhorn, knowing that kids would be attracted to the playfulness and childlike nature of Machiko’s work, decided to take the lesson one step further by offering a 3D element (based on this Paper Plate Flowers lesson). “We have a picture hanging of Miroco Machiko creating a sculpture of one of her plants, and many children are intrigued to see the artist at work,” Betsey shares. “We included a 3D flower project alongside Machiko’s work for any of the students who wanted to try their hand at sculpture.”