Friday, December 12, 2008

Kinnelon Library Holds Chagall Art Workshop

I wish you could have been there. Actually, I wish I could have been there, too! The Kinnelon Public Library held an art workshop this past Thursday December 11, 2008 from 5 to 6pm for children in grades 1 through 4. It looked and sounded dreamy. Kind of like Chagall.

Note the quote from Pablo Picasso in the photo: "When Chagall paints, you do not know if he is asleep or awake. Somewhere or either inside his head, there must be an angel."

At 5pm, Miss LuLu [Louise Solomon] opened the doors to the art room next to the Children's Library and welcomed the children registered for the event. Sounds of Klezmer music wafted through. The entire room had been transformed into a dreamscape that Marc Chagall would have felt completely at home in.

Unfortunately for me, the parents were sent away. This was for kids only.

However, before leaving I caught a few tidbits and snapped some photos through the door windows.

The first part of the session entailed walking around the room to absorb facts and images about Paul Chagall's life - all elements that influenced his art work.

He was born in Russia in 1887, but moved to Paris to be part of the up-and-coming art community. He eventually became a French citizen, but fled France to the United States during the German occupation. He died in France in 1985. [Note: biography greatly simplified.]

As they learned about Chagall's life, the children discovered the symbols associated with those events and times.  Chagall's artwork is filled with them:

+ a cow represents food, milk, leather, meat and power

+ a heart means love

+ a clock represents the passage of time and getting older

+ a fish relates to his father who worked in a fish factory [i.e., a herring merchant]

+ a horse symbolizes freedom

[These come from my daughter's weekend journal entry for the event.]

[Here is a biography and listing of Chagall's works.]

Marc Chagall worked in stained glass later in his life [approx. 1957] creating beautiful windows for churches, synagogues and the United Nations building

That and Chagall's use of bold colors and symbols wound up being the inspiration for the children's art project.  They created their own stained glass working with tissue paper and glue on an oily base paper.

The result was exciting!  

Kudos to the Kinnelon Children's Library for putting on such a hands-on and immersive sound-sight-touch interactive creative experience for the kids.  My daughter left talking enthusiastically about what she had learned and done. She now has a special appreciation for an artist's perspective on life and how that translates into his or her art.  She has also made Marc Chagall's acquaintance. 

Should another similar type event be scheduled, I strongly recommend that you take part.  You won't regret it!

Note:  While researching Chagall, I came across this link to Daydreaming with Marc Chagall - lesson plan for kids.

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