What’s Art Anyway?
Art has been an integral part of culture and the human experience for centuries. The oldest cave painting made by a Neanderthal dates back 64,000 years! And the truth is, art can be just about anything. That's part of what makes it great—and what makes it so hard to understand sometimes (remember that artist who taped a banana to the wall? And remember the other one who ate it??).
Today we'll take a blazing-fast tour of art history and explore what makes art, art. You'll visit some of the world's most amazing museums, put some sound-art into motion on your own, and try your hand at recreating a masterpiece, right from your own home. (Just don't ask your parents for duct tape and a banana. It'll only make them nervous.)
what you’ll need
- A computer, tablet, or mobile phone and access to the internet
- Pens, crayons, markers or colored pencils
Ask About Today
What masterpiece did you recreate for the Getty Museum challenge? Why did that piece stand out to you?
Often, artists make art about what is going on in the world around them. If you were to make art about what's happening in our world now, what would it be about? What would it look like?
Skip the Ads
Unfortunately, online videos often start with short advertisements. Remind your campers to click the "Skip" button as soon as they can to move ahead to the video.
A quick dip into art history, with no grumpy museum guards.
What Is Art?
Excellent question. Let's find out together with this quick video.
Remember: Online videos often start with advertisements. (Annoying, we agree!) Click the "Skip" button as soon as you can to move ahead to the video.
A (Very) Brief History of Art
From cave painting to contemporary art in less than three minutes. Hold onto your paintbrushes, people.
African Art in Focus
Artists from Africa, Asia, and indigenous cultures too often get left out of the "history" of art, even though they have shaped the evolution of art in powerful ways. In this video, you'll take a visual journey through the history of African art and see how it continues to influence the art world today.
Let's Visit the Met (Kinda)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is one of the world's most famous museums. Check out Met Kids to explore an interactive map of the museum, hop in a time machine to see artwork from different periods in history, and check out videos made by and for kids.
Get Up Close with Google
With Google's Art Camera feature, you can get an up-close look at some of the world's most famous artworks. We're talking really close. Pick a painting and zoom in to see details you may have never noticed before.
Art is about color, composition, lighting, materials, and more. Today you'll get a feel for it by recreating a masterpiece, right at home.
This spring, the Getty Museum asked people to recreate their favorite artworks from home—and thousands responded. Today, you'll join in! Start by watching this PBS News video about the challenge and see some of the photos people shared of their at-home masterpieces.
Pick Your Artwork
Find a piece of artwork on the Met Kids page with the time machine. Search by location, time, or idea. When you’ve found one, think about objects and items you could use to recreate it. Is it a portrait with an animal? Take a selfie with a stuffed animal or pet! Love Van Gogh's Starry Night? Use beads, Legos, or jelly beans to make your own! If they're around and have time, your family can join, too. Think about the colors, clothing, and lighting you see.
Create Your Version and Snap a Photo
When you've got your version of the artwork just the way you want it, snap a photo (you may need a grownup's help if you're part of the art). Can your family guess what you recreated? What similarities and differences can they spot?
Share your work! We'd love to see it. Ask a parent to email your artwork to us or share it on Instagram or Twitter by tagging @CampKinda.
For younger explorers
Portraits with Picasso
Pablo Picasso was a very famous artist who never worried about making his art look exactly like real life. Grab your markers and some paper and follow along with the step-by-step instructions in this video on how to draw a portrait like Picasso.
Childhood Art of Famous Artists
Famous artists like Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Georgia O'Keefe were all kids once, too. What kinds of drawings would we have seen on their families' refrigerators (or wherever parents put kids' art before refrigerators)? See for yourself in this article.
Groundbreaking African-American Artists
Sometimes art history focuses only on the history of some art—mostly art created by white men. But we know that’s just one group of artists. Great art comes from all over the globe and has been created by people of all races, genders, and ethnicities. Take a few minutes now to meet six groundbreaking African-American artists and check out their work.
Wondrous Women in Art History
Next, this article from Art History Kids introduces you to some of our most notable female artists.
For younger explorers
When Pigasso Met Mootisse
When two painters with very different styles decide to paint a fence together.... well, things get messy. See what happens in this Storyline Online read-aloud.
For younger explorers
Pigasso, Meet Picasso
Learn more about the famous artist Picasso in this read-aloud.
Now that you know a little bit about the history of art, let's have some fun with it!
Art Games from Tate
Explore the Tate Modern museum's fantastic collection of games and quizzes page to find out which artist should design your bedroom, do some virtual painting, and more.
Pro Tip: Many of these games work best on bigger screens, so use a laptop or tablet if you can.
Art History Word Search
See if you can spot all of the art history words in this online word search. How fast can you find them all?
For younger explorers
Paint with Tate!
Head on over to the Tate Modern and create your own masterpiece with Tate Paint!
Art doesn't just hang on a wall, you know.
Get Moving in a Sound Suit
Nick Cave is a famous artist who makes "Sound Suits." These suits are costumes made of materials, often found objects, that pack a visual punch and make noise when they move. Notice how he combines art, dance and sound with these unique and beautiful costumes. Can you find things to wear or hold while you dance to a song that inspires you? Check out this short video of the Sound Suit performance "Invasion at the School" for inspiration.
more to explore
A lot of art museums are closed right now — but we can still find a way in.
Kids' Favorites from San Francisco
Take a look at some modern art favorites at San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art.
Loop Around the Guggenheim Museum
Google's StreetView feature allows you to take a virtual stroll inside the looping walls of New York City's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it's a building full of magnificent art that is also an architectural masterpiece on its own.
Even more to explore: Click here to learn more about the design and history of the Guggenheim Museum building.