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Art Education

“One of the Best Days of the Year:” The Art of Writing Conference

Children sitting in the Museum gallery writing

On the first Monday in December, the Milwaukee Art Museum opens its doors to a passionate group of young people from the greater Milwaukee area. Dedicated educators and organizers prepare to greet more than 500 students in grades 3 through 12 who have come to be inspired by the thousands of works of art and express themselves through writing and drawing. This annual event is called the Art of Writing Young Authors and Artists Conference.

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Art Collection Contemporary Education Studio at Home

Kohl’s Art Generation Studio at Home: Shape and Line

Abstract art with black and white shapes
Al Held, Inversion XIII, 1977 (detail). Acrylic on canvas, 96 × 144 1/4 in. (243.84 × 366.4 cm). Gift of Herbert H. Kohl Charities, Inc. M1983.208 Photo by P. Richard Eells © 2017 Al Held Foundation, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Abstract art with black and white shapes
Al Held, Inversion XIII, 1977. Acrylic on canvas, 96 × 144 1/4 in. (243.84 × 366.4 cm). Gift of Herbert H. Kohl Charities, Inc. M1983.208 Photo by P. Richard Eells © 2017 Al Held Foundation, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

American artist Al Held (1928–2005) was an abstract painter, most famous for his large-scale, geometric works. His paintings are full of circles, squares, cubes, and other geometric shapes and forms that overlap. In the painting below, he used a masking technique to create lines with sharp edges. He masked (covered) the white sections with tape and painted the remaining sections black.

Here’s how you can make your own geometric painting using materials you may already have at home:

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Art Education Studio at Home

Kohl’s Art Generation Studio at Home: Scratch Art Story

Follow along to learn how to make a scratch art story inspired by the hydrias, or ancient Greek water jars, in the Museum’s collection.

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Art Collection Education European Studio at Home

Kohl’s Art Studio at Home: Make Your Own Flower Still Life

Multi-colored flowers overflowing in vase
Jan van Os (Dutch, 1744–1808), Flowers in Terra-cotta Vase, after 1780. Oil on panel, 35 1/8 × 27 5/8 in. (89.22 × 70.17 cm). Layton Art Collection Inc., Gift of Frederick Layton L111 Photo by John R. Glembin
Multi-colored flowers overflowing in vase
Jan van Os (Dutch, 1744–1808), Flowers in Terra-cotta Vase, after 1780 (detail). Oil on panel, 35 1/8 × 27 5/8 in. (89.22 × 70.17 cm). Layton Art Collection Inc., Gift of Frederick Layton L111 Photo by John R. Glembin

It’s almost Mother’s Day! Give your mom, grandma, or any other special person in your life a flower bouquet that will last forever. This week, we’re making paper flowers inspired by the gorgeous blooms you can find in artworks throughout the Museum’s galleries. This is one of my favorite floral still lifes.

Let’s get started! Here are instructions for making two different kinds of paper flowers.

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Art Education

Museum Moments at Home

Look, talk, imagine, learn, and wonder—together! During a child’s earliest years, their brain makes one million neural connections every single second. Inspired by Vroom, these Museum Moments activities provide you with the tools you need to be a brain builder—while encouraging a love of art. We’ve modified the in-gallery activities for you and your little ones, ages 5 and under, to use at home.

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Art Education Studio at Home

Kohl’s Art Generation Studio at Home: Start Stitching

This week, we’re drawing inspiration from quilts in the Museum’s collection, including Margaret A. Beattie’s Crazy Quilt.

Margaret A. Beattie (American, b. ca. 1860), Crazy Quilt, 1883. Pieced and quilted silk with metallic yarn, and oil paint, 76 × 64 1/2 in. (193.04 × 163.83 cm). Purchase, with funds from Marion Wolfe, Mrs. Helen L. Pfeifer and Friends of Art M1997.58 Photo credit: Larry Sanders

Look closely at the rows of fancy stitches and designs on top of the fabric patches. This is called embroidery and is made with needle and thread. It is a traditional way to decorate crazy quilts. Experiment with sewing your own fancy stitches, as you learn to make and stitch a lacing board.

Kohl’s Studio at Home activities are designed to be enjoyed with the whole family, regardless of age. Families can work together to learn new techniques and materials, and to explore creativity. As with all new things, provide your child the support and supervision that they need for their developmental level, practicing safe use of tools and materials. You know your kids best!

Brett helps two children with art-making

Brett Henzig is the Youth & Family Programs Educator. He manages the Kohl’s Art Studio, leads school tour workshops, and teaches Youth Studio Classes and Summer Art Camps. Outside the Museum, you’ll find Brett making art, rescuing injured wild animals, and spending time with his wife, son, dog, cat, and rabbit.

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Art Collection Education Modern Studio at Home

Kohl’s Art Generation Studio at Home: Create a Shadow Box

Shadowbox with map background, cutouts, bird figures, and shells
Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Celestial Navigation by Birds, ca. 1958. Mixed-media box construction

American artist Joseph Cornell (1903–1972) was famous for his imaginative, mixed-media shadow boxes. A shadow box is an enclosed box, with glass on the front, that contains artistic or personal objects. Cornell purchased trinkets from secondhand stores and cut out images from magazines to use as art supplies. He then arranged these objects to create dreamlike, mysterious, and whimsical scenes. Many of his shadow boxes had themes, like outer space or birds. Cornell spent a lot of time by himself; each shadow box offers a glimpse into his private world.

Here’s how you can create your own shadow box, using objects you find at home!

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Art Collection Contemporary Education Studio at Home

Kohl’s Art Generation Studio at Home: Shopping for Inspiration

Do you remember a time when you wanted a new toy that looked awesome in its box? Maybe you were drawn to the bright colors, fun characters, and exciting words that covered the outside. Or have you ever wanted to try a new snack because the pictures on the packaging made it look extra flavorful? 

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Art Collection Education Folk and Self-Taught Studio at Home

Kohl’s Art Generation Studio at Home: Forest Friends

Jephan de Villiers, Rêve d’envolement porté par la forêt tranquille, 1999 (detail). Wood with applied collage elements. Gift of Anthony Petullo M2012.29 Photo credit: John R. Glembin © Jephan de Villiers

Now that it is officially spring, I love going outdoors to enjoy fresh air, sunshine, and exercise—and to explore nature. The artist Jephan de Villiers (HEFF-an duh vil-ee-AY) was inspired by the things he found in nature. As a child, de Villiers was often sick, which forced him to spend a lot of time in his bedroom. Being inside so much made him appreciate the outdoors even more. Leaves, branches, nuts, feathers, and fungi became his art supplies.

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20th and 21st Century Design Art Collection Education Studio at Home

Play Date with Art at Home: Make Your Own Futuristic Fashions!

Neckpiece made of plastic and gems resembling computer parts
Alice H. Klein, Calculation, 1984 (detail). Acrylic, cubic zirconia, peridot, amethyst, cultured pearls, gold filled wire, mother-of-pearl polyester resin, 5 × 8 3/4 × 1 1/2 in. (12.7 × 22.23 × 3.81 cm). Gift of TKO Designs Incorporated M1991.52. Photo by John R. Glembin.

In our Play Date with Art program this month, we imagined what we’d be wearing in the future, and then we used found materials to bring our vision to life. You can do the same at home, using materials from around your house! Your designs can be anything you want. Think of future styles, or think of a special occasion you’d like to dress up for.