Aug 1, 2014

August is American Artist Appreciation Month

Do you love art? I do! Painting is one of my favorite hobbies and I love to visit art museums to gaze upon masterpieces. Many of us who appreciate art may be familiar with the works of famous European artists such as Picasso, Michelangelo or Monet, but not as learned when it comes to American artists. August is a special month for us to celebrate Americans who have dedicated their lives to creating art. There is a plethora of amazing American artwork and so many great resources for you and your family to explore!

The Penfield House Image from

One of the best ways to introduce your children to art is through up close and personal interaction with art! The state of Ohio has many wonderful public facilities that are perfect for a weekend visit. The Cleveland Museum of Art is world renowned and free! You even can view some of Cleveland's American painting and sculpture collection online here without having to trek downtown. Another great museum is the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. Butler also offers free admission. Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built two homes in Ohio that are open for public visitation. Schedule a tour of The Westcott House in Springfield, Ohio or reserve a weekend at The Penfield House in Lake County, Ohio.

You can search in the Google Art Project collections for American art for a more comprehensive look at various museum collections without ever having to leave your house. 

 "If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint."  Edward Hopper

Early Sunday Morning by Edward Hopper 
Image from the Whitney Museum of American Art

Yahoo has compiled 10 kid-friendly ways to celebrate American Artist Appreciation month. Suggestions such as sketching from nature in the style of John James Audubon, or designing a building based upon the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, are stellar ways to explore American creativity with your kids, no matter what their age.

Douglas's Squirrel by John James Audubon  Image from

The Artcyclopedia site provides an American Art index that allows you to browse by time period. You can learn where each artist has works housed and view pictures from image archives. 

For younger kids print out some art coloring pages depicting American art and artists from Enchanted Learning for an easy educational opportunity. 

Of course, you can visit the library for wonderful books highlighting the work of American artists. Check out Super Simple American Art: Fun and Easy Art from Around the World or Super Simple Native American Art: Fun and Easy Art from Around the World by Alex Kuskowski to get creative at home. Though not specifically focused on American art, older readers will be intrigued flipping through An Eye for an Eye: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work from the National Gallery of Art. Reading about American artists in a biography format is another fun way to learn about American art. I recommend Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O' Keeffe Painted What She Pleased by Amy Novesky, a great picture book biography perfect for introducing O'Keeffe to young minds. 
We can't forget that comic books, though not considered fine art, display amazing artistic and creative talent too! You can read about the creators of Superman (who were from Cleveland, Ohio) in Boys of Steel: The Creator of Superman by Marc Tyler Nobleman.

Have fun celebrating American Artist Appreciation month! Happy creating!