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Transform your classroom into a virtual art studio and museum. Have students create their masterpieces with free online drawing, painting, and sculpting tools. Then, invite parents to the school gallery where they can view their children's artwork. The following Web sites are fantastic starting points for introducing students to the world of artistic design.

The Alphabet of Art

Learn about the elements of visual design and "read" works of visual art to understand these concepts and why they work the way they do. Examples are included to illustrate and define composition, shape, value, texture, and color. This site is for the more sophisticated high school art student.

Art Safari: An Adventure in Looking, for Children and Adults

Choose an artwork. Look for clues to determine what is happening in the image. A series of guiding questions will help you each step of the way. Use your imagination and write a story about what you see. When you have completed your safari, craft your own masterpiece of animals on the computer using the interactive Java applet. Print your picture and view the works of children and adults from around the world in the create view. Explore the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collections. These Guides for Looking will lead the observer in exploring interesting questions around the work of art. This is a great site for encouraging students to think critically about visual arts.

Artists Toolkit: Visual Elements and Principles

Discover the tools of the trade such as line, color, and balance to build works of art. As you explore the toolkit, you can watch as art is created, find the same elements in other works of art, and design your own work using an interactive palette along with the elements and principles that were demonstrated. Videos show artists in action and the processes they use for producing art. Rounding out the site is an encyclopedia that includes definitions and visual demonstrations of the artistic concepts.

Etch A Sketch at wikiHow

Learn how to master Etch A Sketch in 9 steps. Then try your hand at creating art using the Etch A Sketch pad from OhioArt or downloading the app.

Eyes on Art

This Learning to Look curriculum is designed for teachers to help students appreciate art through a series of engaging activities. Begin with You Choose and select from a variety of famous artists' works to hang in your own museum. Once you have made your selections, explain what you believe is good art. Then, click on "Make My Museum" and a gallery of your favorites is displayed. The thinker image database provides information about each painting. In ArtSpeak, 101 questions are posed that cause the observer to think about what techniques artists have used in their paintings. Double Vision provides activities on comparing and contrasting design elements of art. Art works are compared with responses written online. No Fear o' Eras helps the viewer discover features, aspects, traits, or characteristics that make up the style of a particular artistic era. Your True View allows you to be an art critic by examining works of art on the Web that have not been "certified masterpieces." How would you interpret the quality of the art? The Eyes on Art Quiz presents the eyes of 10 artists' works. Your challenge is to match them to a famous artist. In addition to all of the great activities for students, there is a teacher's guide with visual art standards, rationale for the lessons, and a review of literature.

Henri Rousseau: An Interactive Story

Find the name of Rousseau's style of art and the famous artist who was influenced by it. Enjoy an animated story that explores the style and technique of Henri Rousseau. By looking at the methods he employed, students will gain insight into his paintings and a better understanding of the art of that era. The interactive story also provides information about Rousseau and other contemporary artists along with their paintings. Magnify areas of the paintings with the click of a mouse for a close-up view. Guiding questions aid in the investigation.

Long Island Children's Museum

Visit the Long Island Children's Museum for hands-on fun. Go around the point in KaleiDraw to create a kaleidoscope. Borderliner makes patterns that can go on forever. Create your favorite wall pattern in wAllovers and design your own quilt pattern in QuiltMaker. Kids will love this site.

Mr. Picasso Head

Create a Picasso painting using shapes, paints, lines, and design. This interactive painting tool allows the artist to create and then post in the Picasso gallery with other Picasso-like artists. You may also print a paper copy of your work.

NGAKids Art Zone

Children of all ages can produce interesting color patterns with the collage machine. Select from a variety of objects, then flip, turn, adjust transparency, modify the size, and change the arrangement. Want a new design? Simply erase and begin all over again. Creations may be saved and printed. Instructions for creating paper collages are also provided. After completing this activity, try your hand or brush using PixelFace to draw portraits and other designs. The children's brochure describing the life and art of Romare Bearden ties all of the activities together. Finally, join Lizzy as she takes a walk through the sculpture garden. Help her make the sculptures come to life.

Van Gogh's Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Learn about the different artistic periods of Van Gogh's life through paintings and audio commentary. Descriptions of the art and full screen images depict the style, color, and technique of the artist. Travel virtually through a 3-D museum and see the magnificent works of this great artist.

As you expose your students to art through virtual museum visits, you can feel gratified that you are developing individuals with an appreciation for creativity, artistic style, and interest in the arts that will last a lifetime. By constructing a gallery of art in your classroom, your budding artists will be even more connected to the artists they study.

 

Originally Published Jul/Aug 2004

Updated October 21, 2009
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