This year's Teen Read Week theme is Picture It @ Your Library. If you read through my previous Teen Programs in a Box posts, you will find a variety of fun craft/picture themed ideas. And I have already shared one TRW idea called the Book Quotation Celebration. But I thought I would put a fun twist on the topic and celebrate art itself. Art has a rich history that begins way back with cave paintings and proceeds through things like pottery, pointillism, cubism, and postmodernism. I am not an artist, but I am married to a man who was an art major. Occassionally I have learned something from him. So in an era where the arts are struggling for school funding and teens are struggling for the time and means to express themselves, I think a celebration of art through the ages would be a great Picture It @ Your Library program. So jump in your time machine and let's go back in time . . .
For an awesome Art Through the Ages program, you'll want to choose several of the crafts below, or find your own (High School Art Lessons is a great resource), and set up a variety of stations. At each station have a table tent sitting next to an example of the craft with a brief explanation of what historical or artistic time period the activity represents. Also, be sure and pull a lot of your amazing craft books off the shelves and put them on display in the room where you are working. Worried about having enough hands to help with the program? Contact your local HS art teachers and ask for volunteers to help at each station; often they will offer their students extra credit if you agree to sign something stating they were there. A lot of these activities can be modified for various age levels; you'll only really need assistants if your audience tends to skew towards the younger teen years.
Some of the earliest recordings we have date back to pre-historic times in the form of cave paintings. Cave paintings usually told stories in hieroglyphics or in pictograms. You can create your own cave paintings using some very basic (and cheap) supplies. Either use flattened paper bags from your grocery store or use a roll of brown shipping paper as your back drop. This will help create a cave wall feeling. You'll want to scrunch them up to give them texture. Have teens create their art work using markers, paints, stamps or whatever works for you. This is a simple, open ended activity and in the end you can create a cave wall in your teen area decorated by your teens.
The ancient Egyptian art of Hieroglyphics is always a lot of fun. You can get a variety of fun Egyptian stencil and stamps at Amazon.com. Buy some air dry clay and have your teens use toothpicks to draw these symbols into clay beads that they make. Make sure you punch a hole in each bead before you begin working on your project. Then, simply let dry and string and you have an ancient necklace, charm bracelet or keyring. (There are also some African design stencils available for the same type of craft). Many colors can be used in layers to create a multi colored bead, they do not have to be one color. If you choose to use FIMO or similar clay that must be baked, you can bake these in a toaster oven.
Pottery and Statues
Ancient Greece and Rome are known for their pottery and statues. You can give teens the opportunity to create their own by using the same air dry clay mentioned above. To take the theme in a different direction, you could decoupage boxes with old magazine pics of famous statues. You could also create paper mache' figures that you later paint, but this is a very time consuming activity. This is a great way to get community involvement if you know someone in your community who could bring in a pottery wheel and give a demonstration.
Jewelry and adornment is a rich part of most cultures. You can give teens a wide variety of beads and beading stuff (think necklaces, keychains, head bands, and more) and see what they create.
Murals and Mosaics
Give each teen 1 sheet of plain white paper. Give them 15 minutes to draw, color, and fill the space. Then use all the pages together to create a giant mural or mosiac in your teen area or some other area of the library that could use some decoration.
You could also do this with digital photography and give teens specific challenges (say, take a picture of your friends reading their favorite books) and see if they can create a reading collage. Bonus points if you can use all the pics to make a larger picture of a book.
You can also purchase a variety of mosiac crafts (foam or tile) for the teens to do. There are things like picture frames and boxes that would work well. As far as activities go, this can be on the more expensive side.
You can also get individual ceramic tiles and some paint (enamel). Give each teen a tile and let them design away. After the tiles dry you can use them to create an amazing mural. If you know someone with the skills, you can put them together to make cool tables for your teen area as seen here. You could also frame them and hang them up as a picture. You'll want to put a clear coat (it is literally called "clear coat") over it to protect and preserve it. It would be great to give it that library twist and have them somehow incorporate their favorite book title or quote in their piece.
Paper Making and Marbling
Here you can find an intricate process to make paper. There is a 45 minute process outlined here.
An easier way to deal with the history of paper and paper making would be to do some fun paper marbling activities. The $5 Friday blog outlines and inexpensive way to do this.
Origami is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding. You probably have a lot of books in your collection to help you with this portion of art history. There are also some books available on duct tape origami or origami using money.
Stained glass is an intricate artform that is time consuming but beautiful. You can make basic stained glass replicas by melting crayong between two pieces of wax paper using the heat of an iron. You can also use tissue paper to make these stained glass windows. Or you can kick it up a notch and mod podge layers of tissue paper onto votive holders and make stained glass votives.
|Be inspired by this|
|to make this|
Cubism was made famous in part by Pablo Picasso. You can use discarded manga and magazines to create Cubism collages as seen here.
Andy Warhol is perhaps one of the most famou pop artists. And perhaps his most well known works are his representations of Marilyn Monroe and Campbell's soup cans in various colors. These are fairly simple to create digitally using photo shop editing tools. In fact, there are some iPhone apps that do it instantly for you.
Wait, you still have some of that clay left over, right? Make clay aliens to represent the future. Or have teens use things like tin cans, utensils, etc. to make their own robots.
|As seen at Book Clubs 4 Boys http://bookclubs4boys.blogspot.com/|
Don't forget to tap into your local resources. If you have a college near by with an art department ask the professors for inspiration, they may even be willing to come and do some hands on activities. The same goes for middle school and high school teachers. There are a wide variety of art history lessons plans online for you to consult.
You don't have to do all the time periods in one day, you could have several activities from ancient times one day, medieval another, and so on and do it as a series. Want a literature tie in? Make it a book/art club and read a book and do an art project from the time period. Or since we are talking about one week, Teen Read Week, you could do an after school art project every day for the week.