Fresh Artists was invited to create an outdoor art gallery of children’s artwork to decorate the construction fence surrounding the new Barnes Foundation building on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Rather than simply reproduce pieces from our existing collection of children’s art, we used this opportunity to give a group of Philadelphia school kids an up-close-and-personal experience to create a special relationship with this world-class museum and its art. We brought a group of kids from Hancock Elementary School out to the Barnes Foundation in suburban Merion for a private tour. They were invited to adopt their favorite masterpiece and - something unheard of - to sketch their piece in the galleries! Back at school, the children set to work interpreting a famous Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Matisse that captured their fancy, in acrylics or oil pastels. We brought the kids back to the Barnes to compare their “mini-masterpieces” with the originals. Kids who are part of Fresh Artists Mini-Masterpieces Program feel like the museums belong to them. Because a piece of it does!
This journey begins with a class visit to a local art museum, led by the art teacher, where kids learn about selected artworks and the artists who created them. Each child selects a favorite from among the artworks and spends several sessions in their art classroom interpreting and putting their own “spin” on it. Their playful, fanciful, even wacky interpretations demonstrate how children are able to develop a personal relationship with “their” masterpiece and re-imagine the piece through their own creativity.
Many times, the museum or hosting organization will organize an exhibition of the children’s completed masterpieces!
Fresh Artists’ Mini-Masterpieces program is free to any full-time art teacher in a public school with 70% Free and Reduced Lunch, a universal metric of high poverty.