Should private galleries provide the appropriate environment for kids to learn about art?
Judging by our educational programs, the answer to the above question is a resounding YES. During the last two years, we have organized two Cycles of Educational Programs for children aged 6 to 11 in collaboration with Popi Georgopoulou, a museologist and museum educator with experience in the design and production of educational material for museums and cultural centers.
The aim of these programs was children’s familiarization and multi sensory interaction with the work of old and modern Greek artists. Our main purpose was for children to understand the gallery’s special character, which is the second most important space for an artist after his own workshop, as well as the interface between an artist and his public. Taking as a starting point the gallery’s collection and visual, audio and tactile stimuli, supported by the physical presence of artists (whenever this was possible), children were introduced into the world of art, getting acquainted with the artists’ work which inspired them in order to create their own
The first Educational Cycle introduced in 2018, was centered on three basic shapes. The Circle, the Square, and the Triangle, 3 concepts clearly defined in a child’s perception, which became the vehicle for the first journey into the magical world of art. Form and color were explored as Painting’s main ingredients.
The first educational cycle prompted the children to venture across the borders of logic, energizing their imagination in order to discover circles in paintings and create their own, while approaching the theoretical connotations of shape, as much as possible.
– “The circle with the marker” took place on Saturday 24 th of March 2018. During the program, children discovered circles in artworks and created their own. They also had the opportunity to discuss with painter Mrs Mina Papatheodorou Valyraki, sharing with her their thoughts and comments on the exhibition “Women bridging worlds”.
– During the second educational meeting, titled “Fantastic Squares”, which was held on Saturday 21 st April 2018, children talked about the shape (and concept) of the square as presented inside and outside a work of art. They searched for squares in paintings and sculptures and explored their own position in relation to this shape through simple and interactive actions. This time our young friends had the opportunity to discuss with artist Dimitris Vlassis and discover his exhibition “… when the body wakes up”.
– On the third educational program titled “Colorful Triangles”, children learned about the meaning of the triangle through the work of great modern Greek artists, while getting acquainted with the phenomenon of light dispersion. During this meeting, they met with painter Kostas Spyriounis who guided them around his exhibition “At a Long Distance” and answer their questions concerning his paintings.
In this second cycle of educational programs, centered on a trilogy of shapes (circle-triangle-square), four new concepts and equivalent techniques became the vehicle for new journeys into the arts. The gallery artworks were used as a stimulus for reflection and inspiration.
This year, we took a step further. Based on the analysis of the children’s cognitive and emotional progress (the knowledge and the amount of satisfaction they have gained by participating in our programs), we took it upon ourselves to improve even further our educational meetings.
– On Saturday 16 th of February 2019, our little artists attended the program “Deconstruct and Reconstruct: The Collage Technique” which gave them the opportunity (after getting to know the collage technique) to create their own collages, inspired by the gallery’s artworks.
– On Saturday 30 th of March 2019, children attended the program “Touch, Feel & Sculpt: Sculpture with clay”. Wheels, spheres, antennas, machines… conceived as trophies which compose the art world of Nikos Giorgos Papoutsidis. The children felt the forms, in order to discover their own images, using clay to shape their own
memories into sculptures.
– On Saturday 4 th of April 2019, during the program “Visible-Not visible, colors and hints: Painting with watercolors”, children were inspired by numerous engravings created by the most important Greek artists (Exhibition: “Group portrait – The artists of our heart”), using watercolors in order to create their own illustrations.
– On Saturday 1 st of June 2019, the last educational meeting for this year took place, under the title “Compose and Dream: Mixed Technique program”. The children freed their minds, looked back on everything they have learned and experienced during our previous art meetings and made … a “promise for next year”.
More educational actions…
“HE(ART)”, which was organized in collaboration with the painter Thanassis Lalas, occasioned by Global Heart Day (29 September) and Global Obesity Day (October 11), an educational program titled “The Colors of the Heart” took place at Ikastikos Kiklos Sianti. Our aim was to enchance the “Elpida” Association of Friends of Children with Cancer. On Saturday, 13 th of October 2018, a group of children visited the exhibition, observing the way the artist uses color. With the invaluable help of Th. Lalas himself, they created their own artworks on a large paper surface, resulting to a collaborative heart of colors…
– On Saturday 1 st of December 2018, during the “CYCLADES” exhibition by Demosthenes Kokkinidis, Ikastikos Kiklos Sianti in collaboration with Nikoleta Xydea, Archaeologist & MA Museologist / Museologist organized an educational program titled “Colors & Canvas: a trip to Cyclades”. Our little friends attended a colorful tour around the Cycladic islands, while discovering new artworks created by this great painter.
“When, as spectators, we understand the artist’s efforts, we recreate the process of self-discovery, so we become artists.”
Freeland, S. “But is this art?”, Pletron, Athens, 2005
After having successfully concluded the first two Educational Cycles, we continue, aiming at the cultivation of the artistic awareness of younger generations. In collaboration with Popi Georgopoulou, we are preparing our next educational journeys into the magical world of art…