Abstract Art with Alma Woodsey Thomas

This abstract art lesson let my students choose which painting format they wanted to try out — a circular or an vertical stripe one. By the way, this artist, Alma Woodsey Thomas, developed her signature style—large, abstract paintings filled with patterns of bright colors—in her 70s. She also was the first African American artist to have a show at the … Read More

Draw Martin Luther King Update

I created this Martin Luther King for kids project last year, but it needed a little tweaking. I hope it helps a few classrooms that are celebrating MLK Day. Please note that the eyebrows are made by coloring heavier with crayons. Older students may find that a good way to add some shadows to Dr. Martin Luther King’s face too. … Read More

Gee’s Bend Quilt Collage

The women of Gee’s Bend — a small, remote, black community in Alabama — have created hundreds of quilt masterpieces dating from the early twentieth century to the present. This community also has a pretty fascinating connection to Dr. Martin Luther King. You can read the book “Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend” to find out more. I have … Read More

Black History Month Artist: Lois Mailou Jones

Black history month art projects are a great way to learn about some amazing people who had to forge their own way in the world. Lois Mailou Jones (1905 – 1998) had an impressive career, but do you know how she got started? She had been working as a textile designer and often sold her bold fabric creations to department … Read More

Lois Mailou Jones Drawing

This Lois Mailou Jones-inspired drawing is one of my favorite black history month art projects. During Lois’ remarkable life, she painted, designed masks, textiles, stained glass, traveled the world and never stopped learning. MATERIALS • Black card stock paper • Colored pencils DIRECTIONS 1. Starting with a black sheet of paper (I prefer art paper, not construction paper as it often … Read More

Celebrate Black History with W. H. Johnson

In celebration of Black History month, I’ve created this mural in the style of William H. Johnson (1901-1970), a very talented painter who had a difficult life. He came to be widely admired for his primitive style and bright colors, but sadly, only after he had passed away. I love the rural scenes that he often painted, so I’ve created a new … Read More

Faith Ringgold Flag Collage

Faith Ringgold, an African-American artist, is best known for her large story quilts. In 1985 she made a piece titled “Flag Story Quilt” which inspired this collage. I love how the bright colors and irregular pieces look like a homemade flag. • View and download PDF Flag template MATERIALS • Card stock paper • Old magazines • Scissors • Glue … Read More

Bernard Hoyes Dancing Lady

Jamaican-born artist Bernard Hoyes is among the most widely collected and exhibited of contemporary artists. Through his art, many have been able to connect with Jamaica’s colorful traditions and culture. MATERIALS • Drawing paper • Black Sharpie • Oil pastels DIRECTIONS 1. Past experience has proven that students almost always draw images too small, so requiring art to touch all … Read More

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