At-Home Art Projects for Families, Part 2 Read More
Explore exhibitions as a family with this selection of hands-on art activities you can do together at home.
Enjoy this second selection of at-home art activities inspired by exhibitions on view and the Jewish Museum’s collection. These new activities, which relate to works in the Jewish Museum’s spring and summer exhibitions, playfully explore art processes related to photography, sculpture, and more. The materials listed are suggestions; feel free to use any alternatives that you have available in your home. Have fun sharing ideas and exploring new ways of creating art together as a family!
Photo Experiments and Found Object Portrait
This photograph by Lilian Bassman was included in the fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar in 1950. Bassman was a photographer and art director who grew up in New York City, and she often captured people in their natural settings. As an editor, she was also known for her innovative use of color and graphic design.
For this activity, use your camera to take a unique portrait of yourself or a family member inspired by Lilian Bassman’s picture.
- Camera (iPhone, digital camera, or viewfinder)
- Favorite clothes, hats, objects, or props
- What is the woman doing in this photograph?
- Try to take her pose.
- What stands out to you about what she is wearing?
- What words would you use to describe this person?
- Where do you notice light and dark areas?
- Gather favorite clothes, accessories, and objects to include in your photograph.
- Think about how a person’s pose might tell something about themselves.
- What will you include in the background?
- How will you use light to create a certain mood?
- Experiment with different types of lighting, poses, costumes, and ways of framing the person.
- You may use a photo app to experiment with filters.
The artist team Grete Stern and Ellen Auerbach created this image as an advertisement for hair coloring products. Born in Germany, the two friends started a photography and design studio together in Berlin called Ringl + Pit, which were also their childhood nicknames. For this activity, create a portrait using found objects and collage paper inspired by this photograph by Ringl + Pit.
- Variety of small found objects
- Colorful paper
- Base paper or cardboard
- What do you see in this image?
- List three different materials you notice.
- Where do you see materials layered on top of each other?
- Glue cut pieces of paper and found objects to the base to create a portrait of someone you know or a character from your imagination.
- Think about using a variety of materials and get creative with the objects you might use to represent the features of this person.
- Experiment with layering materials in playful ways.
- Fill the background and think about what will surround your person or character.
Found Object Towers and Imaginative Character Portrait
Louise Bourgeois was a French-American artist. She created sculptures inspired by her imagination and her memories, as well as by the human body. She was also an expert painter and printmaker. As a child, Bourgeois helped sew, weave, and draw designs in her parents’ tapestry repair studio.
Found Object Towers
For this activity, focus on repetition and building upwards to create a pair of sculptures using found materials.
- Found objects such as cardboard, plastic bottles, small wood pieces, wire, buttons, and tubes
- Glue, Tape
- Clay — optional
- What materials do you notice in the sculptures to the right?
- What shapes do you see?
- Where do you see materials and shapes repeated?
- What is different about the structure on the left compared to the structure on the right? Think about them as characters in a conversation. What might they say to each other?
- Do either of the structures remind you of something from the world around you?
- Notice the glass box in which Bourgeois placed the sculptures. Why might she have put them in a display box?
- Use your found materials, glue, and tape to build your own tower-like sculpture.
- Think about how you might build up and use repeated materials, shapes, and colors.
- Will you stack the same objects or alternate different materials? Will you hang objects off the sides of your tower? How will you attach and bind them together?
- Optional: Create a second sculpture to pair with the one you just created similar to the way Louise Bourgeois paired her forms.
- How might the second structure look different or, how might the two structures relate to each other? Will they be connected or separate?
- Where might you display these sculptures in your home?
Imaginative Character Portrait
For this activity, use watercolors to paint an imaginative character to represent yourself or someone you know.
- Watercolor paint
- Watercolor paper or thicker weight paper
- What is unique about the character in this painting? Does this person look real or imaginary?
- What do you notice about the clothes they are wearing?
- What do you see in the background?
- The title of this painting is “Self-Portrait.” A self-portrait is a work of art that an artist makes about themselves. What can you tell about Louise Bourgeois by looking at this self-portrait?
- Use watercolor paints to create a playful character from your imagination to represent yourself or someone you know.
- Your portrait can include realistic as well as made-up features.
- Option: Consider painting an animal creature head on a person’s body.
- Think about what else you might include in your painting. What are some of your subject’s favorite things? What kind of clothing do they usually wear? Where does this person like to spend time?
Family Activities are created by Rachael Abrams, Associate Manager of Studio Programs and Rachel Levine, Assistant Director of Family Programs.
Visit TheJewishMuseum.org/Families for more art-making ideas.
At-Home Art Projects for Families, Part 2 was originally published in HDPE Black Full Brim Hard Hat with Fas-trac Suspension on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.