The Artist's Toolkit: Visual Elements and Principles

Name:The Artist’s Toolkit: Visual Elements and Principles

Brief Description of the Site:
Don’t let the scholarly name fool you. This site is totally hip, modern, and cool. Sponsored by The Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, it provides a fascinating look at Line, Shape, Color, Space, and all of the other building blocks that artists use and that young art students need to understand. For each “toolkit†item, such as Shape, there are three activities: “Watch†(an animated and amusing introduction), “Find†in which the student must locate specific items in selected works of art, and, most fun of all, “create†in which students can assemble original (and printable) works of art using vivid colors and bold shapes, both geometric and organic. The site also offers two QuickTime videos of working artists (an African-American male and a white female) creating a piece of original art. Finally there is a comprehensive visual encyclopedia of art terms, such as density, tint, etc.

How to use the site:
In the hands of a creative teacher, this site is suitable for almost every grade. The toolkit items can be viewed as often as possible as students begin to gain an appreciation for what the talented individuals we call artists are attempting to do. Once students have grasped the basic vocabulary of art they can be led to other art-oriented sites where they can put their new visual understandings to use. Yes, teachers of art will leap at its opportunities, but even those who are not teaching art per se will find it useful for helping students’ creative impulses to flow. It is a fun and non-threatening creative experience.