I've mentioned before that my husband Marcus and I have been pretty avid art collectors. It's not like we own Picassos or Monets or anything, but we own a lot of art, purchased, for the most part, when we travel. Some of the pieces were pricey, but others are just the works of local artists -- sometimes even street artists -- of various cities where we've vacationed. We just buy what we like.
Because our house is full of art that really, for the most part, makes absolutely no sense, we're hoping that we're imparting an appreciation of art on some level to our daughter, Alex. We've taken her to museums, and she seems to enjoy them: she seems to ask the right kinds of questions (although, now that I think of it, what exactly would be the "right" question from a 5-year-old art critic?). And in addition to the art we've purchased, we've purchased canvases for Alex, along with some acrylic paints, and some of her more colourful pieces have been hung among the art we've purchased.* Art is, therefore, a big part of our home.
As part of my hope that she appreciate art, I also buy art for Alex: pieces which I think she might enjoy taking with her when she leaves us to make a home of her own. I understand, of course, that Alex's tastes may be far removed from mine by the time she leaves, but that's okay, too -- it's really just the thought that counts, and hopefully there will be at least a few pieces that she'll enjoy.
I'd love to know if you mindfully do anything to encourage an appreciation of art in your children. And if you don't, but think that perhaps this might be something you'd like to do in your own home (or for the children of a close friend or family member), here's some inspiration for you:
I love this idea for a photo "coffee table book" reader for young toddlers, as executed by the very talented Liz of say YES! to hoboken -- if you're a shutterbug (or have a talented shutterbug friend) this could easily be put together. In fact, this may become my new baby shower gift.
Behold the absolutely stunning illustrations by artist Marie Desbons -- seriously, her blog is completely addictive eye candy. And once you manage to tear yourself away from the blog, be sure to check out La Marelle, an online store that sells all kinds of lovelies that are adorned with Marie's designs (among others). Perfect for buying art journals for older kids, or even stationery cards which can be framed for art collectors of all ages.
And finally, I love the amazing 20x200 -- the premise is that art should be affordable for everyone. This site allows you to purchase limited edition prints by bona fide artists for as little as $20. Founded and organized by Jen Bekman, this site is incredibly inspired. Follow the blog for frequent updates.
* I admit that sometimes you can't tell the difference between our daughter's art, and some of the art we've purchased. I never said we were knowledgeable.
Karen is a writer and photographer in Houston, Texas. You can read/see more of her work at Chookooloonks.
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