The Art of Reading

Mercer County Library System announces its spring 2012 art show, “The Art of Reading.”  Children in grades 4 through 8 will be able to submit one painting or drawing, no bigger than 9”x12” to their local Mercer County Branch Library by Friday, March 23, 2012.  The art work will be judged on adherence to the theme, “The Art of Reading,” content, form and texture and will be displayed in each branch library for the first two weeks of April. A panel of local judges from each community will award local prizes of first, second and third place. The first, second and third place winners from each branch will then go to the Lawrence Headquarters Branch for a final system-wide judging. There will be a distribution of prizes and an art reception on Sunday, April 29th from 1-2 pm. Refreshments will be served.  For more information log on to the Library System’s website.

Here are some art-related websites that may inspire you to explore and celebrate art!

Teach Kids Art
A site for art teachers, classroom teachers, home school teachers, parents who enjoy doing art with their kids, and anyone who believes that art is an essential part of a well rounded education.

Modern Art 4 Kids
This blog is to share with other art teachers, lovers of art and homeschooling families some simple projects for children that draw inspiration from all things modern art.

That Artist Woman
This is an instructional blog for making projects, crafts and art activities. Included are sculpture, paint and paper and mixed media by artist Gail Bartel.

MoMa Red Studio: A Site for Teens.
Red Studio, developed by MoMA in collaboration with high school students, explores issues and questions raised by teens about modern art, today's working artists, and what goes on behind the scenes at a museum.

NGAkids online
NGAkids Adventures with Art is The National Gallery of Art's web site for kids and has lots of interactive activities.

Recommended art and illustration books available for circulation in the MCLS collection:

Behind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of Museums by Lee Bennett Hopkins
A collection of poems that describe the wonders found within museums, including mummies, medieval relics, fine art, and fossils. 2007

The Art of Reading : Forty Illustrators celebrate RIF's 40th Anniversary by Reading is Fundamental, Inc.
Reading is Fundamental (RIF) has brought together forty children's book illustrators to discuss their favorite books from their own childhoods. 2005

5 Steps to Drawing Faces by Susan Kesselring
Presents step-by-step instructions for drawing parts of human faces, like the eyes and mouth, and depicting emotions, including happiness, sadness, and fear. 2012

The Art Collector by Jan Wahl
A little boy who is not pleased with his own artistic efforts but treasures his great-grandmother's drawing goes on to collect art throughout his life. 2011

How to Survive Modern Art by Susie Hodge
This guide for teens is a thorough yet manageable guide to art in the modern world. Sections cover the major movements and artists in the history of modern art as well as introductions to its major themes, together with suggested ways of looking at modern art and tips on where to see it. 2010

How does art fit in with libraries?

There is a body of research on the relationship between art education, student achievement and reading comprehension topics.  For years, public libraries have partnered with artists, schools and local art organizations to promote and exhibit art within their communities.  Public library collections contain non-fiction on art instruction topics, art appreciation and biography.  Youth services librarians utilize crafts to add value to library programs.  Story-time crafts can enhance a child’s experience with books, using tactile methods to help them remember the book’s story, characters, or message.  Picture book collections in libraries are of huge importance to early literacy and a movement toward promoting picture books has received national attention. The very youngest library users are exposed to art and early literacy through picture book illustration.

One research paper concludes that “Artworks in a library can transform the space and broaden the palette of both experience and the possibilities for knowledge therein.”   (Kirston C. Johnson. The Art Library as Exhibition Space: Ten Case Studies. A Master’s Paper for the M.S. in L.S. degree. November, 2006.)

Patrons of all ages are encouraged to utilize the art resources of the Mercer County Library System in a way that they may not have done so before.  Check out a book or DVD, view an exhibit, browse the art sections in the stacks, read an art article in a magazine or journal, attend a library program, ask a librarian for a reading suggestion, download an ebook, or contribute your own work to an art contest!

- Laura G.

Photo credits:
1st photo: Lusi
2nd photo: sootyangel
3rd photo: matchstick