Meet Art: Creative hands-on art programs.

Matisse cut-outs

Matisse cut-outs

At the Deschutes Public Library, we offered a four week art series called “Meet Art” with

Jackson Pollock: Colorful yarn, butcher paper the size of one of his paintings, and "Splat".

Jackson Pollock: Colorful yarn, butcher paper the size of one of his paintings, and “Splat”.

an introduction to a new artist each week.  Through picture books, poetry, slides, various objects, we create a hands-on activity similar to the artist work.  We danced like a Matisse painting, “splat” like Jackson Pollock, and turned into Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Paint, yarn, toothpaste, big colorful sheets of butcher paper, cardstock paper, scissors, pencils and lots and lots of books equaled a fun day! The library was transformed into an art gallery.

Below are favorite books and a few sample ideas. 

Jackson Pollock: two colors, two objects, and one small box.

Jackson Pollock: two colors, two objects, and one small box.

Matisse: cut out fun with Matisse by Nina Hollein (all of the Adventures in Art series are fun and great for library programs)

The Art Book for Children text by Amanda Renshaw (Book One and Book Two)

Express Yourself! Activities and Adventures in Expressionism by Joyce Raimondo (series) and check out her website!

I Spy Colors in Art selected by Lucy Micklethwait  (series)

Picture Books:

A Day With No Crayons by Elizabeth Rusch

Art Dog by Thatcher Hurd

Art and Max by David Wiesner

Seen Art by Jon Sciescka and Lane Smith

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont


My Name is Georgia: a portrait by Jeanette Winter

Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter

Action Jackson by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan (I love all of Greenberg’s art biographies)

Oooh Picasso by Mil Niepold (check out Oooh Matisse too)

For more art books, please explore my shelfari page at or email

Check out art museum websites for more creative ideas:

Jackson Pollock: inside movement paint "splat" in a box

Jackson Pollock inside movement paint in a box

For the next few months, I will be working on art projects with Mock Caldecott 2014 books!  Through art mediums (such as gouache-my favorite art word to say) and different art styles we will explore a variety of interactive art projects and wonderful conversations about the best of the best  2014 Mock Caldecott books!

I would love to hear about art projects in your library.  Do you have a favorite new children’s art book? Please share in the comments below.


Paul Klee school outreach Paige Bentley-Flannery is a Children’s/Community Librarian at Deschutes Public Library.  Paige worked at the Seattle Art Museum and volunteered in schools all over Washington before becoming a librarian.   Her interactive art workshops and programs at library and teacher conferences have been presented from ALA to Alaska to hundreds of teachers and librarians.

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5 Responses to Meet Art: Creative hands-on art programs.

  1. Kary says:

    My colleague and I are going to do a program this winter based around The Day the Crayons Quit. Thanks for sharing these great titles.

  2. I’m a Children’s Librarian with two art program series. Our school year program is called Make and Take Art Club where we explore different fine and practical arts once a month. Our summer library program is called Art in the Park. It’s a free, drop-in youth art program sponsored by the Horicon Phoenix Program and runs in conjunction with the Music at the Market summer concert series and farmers market. For 2014 we’ll be exploring the intersection of art and science, as well as different types of printmaking. A couple books currently providing inspiration and ideas are Art Lab for Kids and Art Lab for Little Kids.

  3. Caitlin Sempowich says:

    This looks like a great program! We are looking to do something similar. Would you mind sharing what age group was this program for? Was it an independent or a family program? Thanks!

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