Art Project with Kindergarten Kids

Click the thumbs for larger pictures
1. Painting of a Dog 2. Studio - Kindergarten 3. We the Children
4. The Oranges 5. The Bananas 6. Raindrops
7. Going for a Walk 8. The Flower 9. Running
10. Teardrops 11.Sunshine 12. The Cat
13. Group Paining, start 14. Group Painting, final 15. Invitation Card

Looking for the Future - Look to the Kindergarten!

I've been lucky to be able to work with many kind of art projects, with artists of nearly all professions, from business leaders to woman football (soccer) team, youngsters and elderly - but most important is maybe the concept of kindergarten artproject with people up to six years of age.

When I was invited to this kindergarten (where the images above come from), the leader of the Kindergarten agreed that the kids should have the same quality of artist material as professional artists use. Kids should not dive into their own creativity with lousy art tools and material, that would be the same as driving the same kids in cars that should have been scrapped. The creativity of kids should be taken seriously, and we as responsible adults must understand the consequences of not doing so.

These kids got to work with different media as charcoal, pastel, acrylic paint and more. The works we can see here is acrylic paint on canvas - 40x30cm (16x12 inches). The colours was only primary colours (red, yellow and blue, plus white), but the kids got only two primary colours each time they worked (as the result of giving them all three primary colours, would most times end in just brown colours) - but that was about the only limitation they had.

Every piece of work was an collaboration between the youngest and the older kids. Children often start to create visual figuration about four to five year old, and many call what kids do before figuration, as "scribble". It's not scribbling, that just a word adults who don't understand what's happening who call the smallest childrens expression, it's just an abstract form of expression.

This age difference was reflected in a work sharing where the youngest did the groundwork of the painting, and then the oldest kids came in on a later stage with the figuration. This way of sharing work, took also the edge of a sole focus on what he or she did, to a focus on collaboration.

Another part the kids learned me pretty early, was not to have too many together at each session. Further - not to let each session last too long as the attention span often don't last too long for small children in a group.

But just look at the great results above, the combination of background and figuration, and look at the figuration in itself in the paintings. That was the reason I on the invitation card for the exhibition of the childrens work, let the iconic dog of Keith Haring meet the dog of a five and a half year old girl from Bergen in Norway.

The final work was a large canvas (150x120cm / 59x47 inches) which all the kids worked on, and after they all were finished I was happy just to add some few figuaration strokes. It was difficult not to think about what Picasso once said: "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child".

But, and this is important - if we don't take childrens creativity seriously, and let kids play out their creativity - also in the visual field, where will the generations of tomorrows find all the innovation they will need?

Excuse me, this is not just phrases from an artist seeing the world through his artistic tinted glasses. We got nothing less than a creative crisis, and I havn't seen a better explanation of the situation today than from Everyartist in US:

"Simply put, our future depends on our ability to innovate. The creative capacity of our young students will determine whether our country - and indeed our world - flourishes or not. All around us are challenges that demand creative solutions; from addressing climate change to delivering healthcare." Read the full text from Everyartist.

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