Black History Month presents a wonderful opportunity to discuss and expose race, civil rights, artists, musicians, authors, food, public figures, and so on to celebrate the groundbreaking impact that Black History paved for so many. Educating children from a young age about the many achievements of Black History and how it has shaped cultures worldwide, provides for concrete learning experiences that permit children to build an understanding that will impact their learning, attitudes, and beliefs about diversity and multicultural education.
One of our Artists of the Month is Kehinde Wiley, who is the African-American painter who is best known for portraits that feature African Americans in the traditional settings of old paintings with naturalistic brightly colored flowery backgrounds. After talking about who he is and his artwork along with looking at what he has created, we invited the children to do a Collaborative Canvas Collage. First the children were invited to paint layers of paint on a canvas. Next they were invited to draw portraits of people. Lastly they were invited to freely glue flowers and greenery around the portraits just like Kehinde Wiley.
Most of us know that art is important for children. But beyond why it is important for them to create art it is just vital to expose children to famous artists. Art connects us all. It can take us through history, introduce us to other cultures, the world around us, and to ourselves. Therefore the more a child is exposed to the arts, the more techniques they are aware of, the more they can problem solve to think critically, the more they can creatively express themselves, the more accepting they are, and the more beauty they can see in the world around them. Art is one of the fundamental components of what makes us ALL uniquely human.
Here are links to other invitations to explore Black History Month.