Did you know that there is a reason we celebrate Black History Month in February? It was decided in 1976 by President Gerald Ford to coincide with Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas’ birthdays. Both have long been aligned with and celebrated in Black communities for their efforts as abolitionists. Black History Month is a great time to use play based learning activities to discuss prominent people in history.

In the Muse Art Studio at The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, crafts inspired by black artists are available to make, but they are always easy and fun to replicate at home!

Jean-Michel Basquiat was an American artist who lived from 1960-1988. He is known as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century! He was known for his very expressive and colorful paintings that were representative of his start in the art world painting graffiti in New York.

Crowns were a very prominent feature in a lot of Basquiat’s art. The crowns acknowledged his great ambitions in the art world and the brilliance of other artists and people in his life.

You can make your own version of a Basquiat crown at home with a few craft supplies:

  1. Cardboard (cut into crown shape)

  2. Ribbon

  3. Hole punch

  4. Scissors

  5. Paint sticks (or something to color with. Markers, paint, crayons, etc)

  6. Glitter (optional)

Using the cardboard cutout of the crown, color it however you like! This is your chance to make something bold and colorful like Jean-Michel, so go wild!

Use the hole punch to make holes on each side of the crown and tie the ribbon through each side so it fits around your head. 

When you're done you’ll have your own crown to wear and display like the artist you are!

If you want to read more about Jean-Michel Basquiat:

http://tinyurl.com/ysde5mu2 The Life of / La Vida de Basquiat

Who Was Basquiat? Made For Kids!

Alma Thomas was a teacher for thirty-five years and the first black American woman to receive a fine arts degree.  During her teaching career she created art but is most well known for the colorful expressionist paintings she did after retiring. Her creativity was inspired by science and nature! She would ask her students to look closely at nature to find the patterns to help them make art that made them happy. 

The type of art she is most famous for is called a color field. Color Field is a type of artwork in which painters use large shapes of colors to express themselves.

You can make Alma Thomas inspired color fields at home with some easy to find craft supplies.

  1. Dot markers (If you don’t have dot markers paint and cotton swabs will work)

  2. Paper

Using the dots make large shapes like a circle or square and then pick a different color to make the same shape again. Repeat the process until you've filled your paper!

If you want to read more about Alma Thomas:

http://tinyurl.com/yckejvby  Ablaze with Color: The Story of Painter Alma Thomas

Alma Thomas: Your New Favorite Artist