Forget finger-painting. When it comes to art, Kohl Children's Museum is thinking big-as in Marc Chagall big.
The museum's exhibit, Chagall for Children, returns home this summer, and it brings with it a unique type of art education.
"It's an exhibit that really brings the work of Chagall to a level that the children can directly interact with," says Sheridan Turner, president and CEO of the museum. "The paintings are so easily interpreted for our age group. All of his pictures are very visually engaging."
The exhibit, created by Kohl in 1996, includes 14 different exhibit components, each attached to a particular Chagall work.
For instance, for Chagall's "America Windows," kids can help create their own stained glass window, moving pieces on a backlit surface. The painting "The Circus" inspires role play: kids don capes and pretend to be part of a circus, and the image is shown on a TV screen. And in conjunction with "The Blue House," kids build a structure with Lincoln Logs.
Plus there are opportunities to arrange flowers, create a tapestry, animate a painting, and explore symmetry.
While kids might think they're just doing creative projects, Turner points out that each component incorporates other areas of learning, including math and science.
"There's a lot of STEM learning going on in this exhibit, although you might not think it," she says. "It shows a beautiful marriage of STEM and art and why the arts are so important in STEM education."
Turner says the exhibit comes at the perfect time, since outdoor activities, including chalk drawing, are planned. On June 19, Lambs Farm will bring by some sheep, temporarily colored with Kool-Aid, an image frequently seen in Chagall's work.
Chagall for Children has traveled to museums throughout North America, but Turner says children and parents are always eager to see it return.
"The overall goal," Turner says, "is to get children exposed and to develop an appreciation for the arts."
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.