Inspiring Children to Express Themselves through Art

Children who have a tough time expressing themselves with words often find comfort in using art to describe their emotions.

The challenge is that they sometimes think all art consists of coloring between the lines. But with paintingkids often find freedom to create art without limits. Educators say encouraging children to test boundaries and explore their creativity through painting can give real insight into youngster’s thoughts and feelings. 

Luckily, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has a Visiting Artist Program to help stimulate this type of creativity. The Visiting Artist Program is a project of the Lechleiter Indiana Visiting Artist Fund with support provided by The White Oak Foundation, and Sarah and John Lechleiter.

Rita Spalding, a fine artist and Indiana native, is the second featured artist in the Visiting Artist program (C.W. Mundy was the first). Over the next year, Spalding and the Visiting Artist Program will offer three exciting experiences: 

  • Critters to Canvas takes place in the Playscape Art Studio of The Children’s Museum, and is designed to help little ones years of age and younger explore how to paint ducks. Kids can develop an appreciation for nature by studying the iridescent feathers and colorful beaks of ducks from the museum’s private collection.
  • The Natural Science Painting Program inspires visitors of all ages to pay more attention to animals and birds that are native to Indiana. Spalding says that learning to see what is around us and learning to appreciate the subtlety of color adds a whole new dimension to life, whether one pursues art or not.
  • In the National Art Museum of Sportthe whole family can unleash their creativity with Painting Expression and Movement of Dance. This activity supports an expressive approach and teaches families how to incorporate movement into paintings. 

“In all three areas, our focus is to make our paintings look realistic by incorporating the concepts of light, color and shadow,” Spalding saysIt’s amazing how quickly children understand this concept. They begin to look at their world and understand what they’re seeing.”  

By understanding what they see in the world around them, children can express their vision and feelings in their artwork more clearly 

Spalding urges adults to make sure children have plenty of unstructured, unhurried time available for artistic exploration at home. Allowing children to explore their vision gives them the opportunity to communicate in their own way. With the help of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and artist Rita Spalding, children can be inspired to let their imaginations run wild, and who knows  maybthey will be the next Monet or Renoir?!

Click here for specific program times and dates. Program entry is included in ticket pricing but is first-come, first served.

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