Let's Talk About Art!

Let's Talk About Art!
Shannon Brady

Art in PM is based on the art education philosophy of TAB learning: Teaching for Artistic Behavior. This means that in the PM art studio, our students are artists, and they have the autonomy to choose what materials and themes they will explore during each session. It is a way of learning that fosters independent problem solving through the creative process and celebrates exploration, choice, collaboration, reflection and even failure as integral parts of that process. It also means that your child may bring home artwork that is unfinished or experimental.

As grown-ups, it can be challenging to know what to say to children about their art! As tricky as it may be, it is so important for reinforcement and creative growth to continue the conversation about art at home. Below are a few tips to help get the conversation going! 

1) Ask a lot of questions! 

Asking questions about process and noticing details are both great ways to begin a conversation with your child about how they have made their artwork. Maybe you notice a color that is particularly striking to you. Rather than saying “Wow! How beautiful,” you could say, “That color is interesting to me. Can you tell me how you mixed that color?” Asking questions about the artistic process can help kids to recall what they did, strengthening their skills. It also gives you, the viewer, an inside look into the steps they’ve taken to get to their finished artwork. 

2) Listen carefully! 

In my experience, kids love to share about the ideas behind their artwork. It can be hard to navigate how to ask what concept a child was exploring without deciding in our minds what something might be (“Is this a….frog?”). Over time, I have learned that rather than taking my guess at what something is, asking open-ended questions like, “Can you tell me about your artwork?” can be the best way to give kids the space to share. Though it may seem vague, this type of question avoids imposing an idea and opens the floor for students to tell you all about the inspiration for what they have made. Once you open up this discussion, the most important part is listening carefully so that they know their ideas are important to you. 

3) Ask even more questions!

There are so many questions to ask about student art. Maybe you are noticing a narrative or theme, wondering about a skill that has come up a few times, or are curious about a type of line your child has drawn. Asking your student many questions about their work helps to develop their ability to discuss what they create, enriches their vocabulary, and shows your investment in their creative process. 

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