The Columbus Museum offers many of opportunities for groups in the community to come and experience our collections while creating their own art in our studio. The Girls Scouts of America are a group that regularly comes to us for such an experience. We offer a class that is tailored to their needs by focusing on the requirements for specific badges.
This past Saturday, the 25th of October, we were able to meet with two Brownie troops to complete a lesson plan that earned them their Painting Badge. There were 16 girls and 8 parents present. The requirements were: to visit a museum (check), paint a portrait (check), paint a mood (check), and to do it without using any paint brushes (check). So, we had our work cut out for us!
When the group first arrived we took a tour of our permanent collection gallery so that they could learn about different art movements and become versed in the terminology I would be using later on during our class. Our first stop was the American Impressionist gallery, where we discussed the movement and how it originated in France. Then, we began to pick apart the paintings to try and understand what made them Impressionist paintings. We discussed the subject matter, the painterly strokes, and the time period.
Next, we went to talk about some Expressionist works, which came after Impressionism, and focused more on creating a feeling for the viewer. Finally, we went to our Abstract gallery and talked about obscuring images and how it can change the meaning of what it is portraying. After each piece of art, I would have the group vote on whether they liked the piece or not by giving me thumbs up or thumbs down.
After our tour of the gallery, we proceeded to the studio where we made three different types of paintings while using nontraditional materials to apply the paint. We started off with creating self-portraits by applying paint with Q-tips, which forced them to use small strokes like the Impressionists. When they had completed that task we moved on to our next project, which was painting a feeling like the Expressionists. I played a lyric-less song and ask them to paint whatever feeling came to mind as they listened and their application tool was a feather. Once this activity was finished we moved on to our final painting activity, which was an abstracted landscape. They would apply paint with their fingers and then remove it with baby wipes, allowing them to build and remove the paint as needed.
This summed up all the time we had, but the girls were able to leave with three individual pieces of art, a new understanding of Impressionism, Expressionism, and Abstract art, all while being able to earn a badge!
All photos taken by Inge Winter. Keep an eye out for a full gallery of our Girl Scout activities that will be on Facebook!