Color!

Last weekend, we went to the Corcoran‘s Family Day, where we saw a breakdancing/tap dancing performance, tie dyed handkerchiefs, participated in a drum circle, took in the art and generally enjoyed ourselves for several hours.  It’s having amazing free stuff like this that helps balance out some of the other costs of living in the city (you know, the monetary ones).  The kids were super engaged, especially BalletBoy, who seemed to get over his whiny attitude once he was back out in a large group of people again (reminder to self: BalletBoy is an alien who likes to interact with people nonstop, otherwise known as an extrovert).  Here’s BalletBoy making an edible color wheel (Nilla wafers with icing mixed from little pots containing the primary colors).

The exhibit that’s wrapping up now shows off the Washington Color School painters, such as Gene Davis and Thomas Downing.  This was an abstract movement in the 1960’s that utilized lots of bright, big blocks of color.  Our city sometimes seems pretty stuffy what with our government bureaucrats everywhere, so the Color School painters (along with Duke Ellington’s jazz, go-go music, and Ben’s Chili Bowl) is one of our few cool cultural achievements.  You can see some of Davis’s stripes and Downing’s cool circles below.  When you get right up to Davis’s striped paintings, many of them seem to be moving.

Well, after doing all the various activities, we saw the exhibit and BalletBoy immediately noticed all the connections to the activities we had done.  Circles! – like the color wheel!  Stripes! – like the masking tape art workshop!  Dyed cloth! – like the tie dying!  I usually do art the other way around and most of the time when we encounter art (such as through the National Gallery’s Stories in Art program), it’s also done the other way around.  We see the art then do the activity that somehow emulates it.  That works, but with this my brain just went, a-ha!  Clearly doing it backwards works as well to help kids appreciate the art better.

Well, since then, BalletBoy has been inspired.  He’s been hard at work creating lots of stripes of bright color and arrangements of shapes.  This one was on one of the white boards, so it needed to be photographed to be captured anyway.

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