On March 16, just a couple days after the Arlington Museum of Art closed its doors due to the spread of COVID-19, AMA marketing coordinator Lily Williams was working from home and feeling blue. What should have been happening was the museum’s popular Youth Art Month event, a rotating exhibition of works by students from all grade levels, hosted in partnership with Arlington ISD.
Youth Art Month is a national celebration of arts education, and the AMA-AISD exhibition is known as the largest in the state. And for the first time in thirty years, the show did not go on.
“A big part of the Museum’s mission is education,” said Lily. “I felt terrible for the kids and the teachers who had worked so hard to create beautiful, inspiring art.”
Her thoughts turned to all the kids at home, and she wondered what the Museum could do to keep them connected to making and celebrating art.
This was the beginning of #AMAcreate.
“A year ago, I ran a series on our social media that was like bite-sized art history lessons,” said Lily. “So why not create something like that for kids?”
Grounded in her art history and design background, Lily set to work on a hands-on art history video series for kids. Using ProCreate on her iPad, she created stop-motion instructional videos of arts and crafts projects inspired by artists ranging from Pablo Picasso’s contour drawings to Frieda Kahlo’s floral crowns to Edgar Degas' ballerinas. Since March 17, she’s been posting a new video every week day.
“I’m aligning each project with what families typically have on hand at home,” Lily said. “I’m also keeping it simple enough for little ones to do with help, but flexible enough for older kids to put their own twist on it.”
Next week Lily will broaden the content to include “Did you know?” features for adults while continuing 1-2 craft projects for kids weekly. Or are they really only for kids?
“It’s been fun! There aren’t a lot of times in adult life where you get to do kids crafts for yourself,” said Lily. “As I’ve been working with nostalgic materials like construction paper and crayons, I’m enjoying the flash backs to happy times in elementary school.”
More virtual inspiration
Other Downtown Arlington “artrepreneurs” are also developing innovative ways to engage kids in art while we abide by COVID-19 social distancing protocols:
Board & Brush Arlington has the perfect springtime project: Take Home Kits for kids to create a cute bunny or chick out of wood. Email Arlington@boardandbrush.com for details.
Catalyst Creative Studio offers Take Home Kits and free tutorials on IGTV and Facebook. Stay tuned for expanded offerings on social media and online.
The George W. Hawkes Downtown Library, as well as the entire Arlington Public Library system, hosts numerous free virtual programs.
Lindsay’s Art Cart is regularly holding free kids craft project tutorials on Facebook Live. Donations are optional.
Urban Alchemy Coffee + Wine Bar is teaming up with Lindsay's Art Cart to bundle Art+Wine DIY Kits with live virtual classes. Perfect for grown-ups! Kit delivery is free to our local area.
Watch Downtown Arlington’s social media for information for even more opportunities to nurture your inner artist.
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