Education, J. Paul Getty Museum

Online Art Activities Designed by Artists

Texting a story, talking with pictures, taking a color tour, mapping a lunchroom: these are some of the activities included in a new set of online materials for K–12 teachers and their students. Open Studio: A Collection of Art-Making Activities by Artists is an exciting project conceived by Los Angeles–based artist and MacArthur Fellow Mark Bradford. Over a year ago the Museum extended an invitation to Mark to be the first artist in the Getty Artists Program. Through this open-ended program an artist can select the focus and audience, as well as the other key aspects of a project or series of projects.

Mark agreed to consider the invitation, but wanted to discuss it. I knew of Mark’s engagement with community and his interest in opportunities for teens, so I was surprised when he announced that he’d identified his audience of interest as K–12 teachers. As he explained, after speaking at a conference of art educators in 2009 he’d been thinking about his own experience in grade school and then in art school. He wondered how to provide the art-making experiences he’d had at CalArts to younger students earlier in their education.

With Mark, the Museum asked some of the world’s most noted contemporary artists to share art-making activities based on their own inspirations or approaches: Kerry James Marshall, Xu Bing, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Jon Cattapan, Catherine Opie, Amy Sillman, Graciela Iturbide, Kara Walker, Michael Joo, and Carrie Mae Weems all contributed to the collection. The activities are as diverse as the artists who developed them; some are more like suggestions, others offer detailed instructions.

Open Studio complements the materials the Museum currently offers online to teachers, all of which are aligned to national and California state standards. Those curricula, in-depth and sequential, focus on objects in the Getty’s collection. The materials in Open Studio, inspired by the artists’ own practices, create a dynamic balance in the free resources we offer to educators across the country and around the world.
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      Wanna manna?

      God rained down manna (bread from heaven) on Moses and the hungry Israelites on their journey out of Egypt. 

      Described as white “like coriander seed” and tasting “like wafers made with honey,” manna was both physical and spiritual nourishment and a sign that God was watching over the Jews.

      In this image, the Israelites around Moses bend down to hurriedly collect manna, which the Bible says melted in the sunlight.


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