For this month's "Cookies & Canvas" program on Saturday, March 22nd, I focused on the paintings of French artist Georges Seurat and the style of pointillism. It was another really successful program--every child who attended asked me when the next "Cookies & Canvas" will be so they could sign up! I am still hashing out my summer programming, but I think it is safe to say that I will be doing a few "Cookies & Canvas" programs because the turnout and response has been so positive. Especially in a community where so much of the arts in our public schools have been cut due to funding, being able to plan and provide a program like this at no cost to our patrons (and little cost to the library) is pretty amazing.
I changed up the format of the program a bit after seeing what worked well and didn't work well back in January. Instead of having our cookies first while I talked about the artist, I saved the cookies for the last 5 minutes of the program. This worked out much better--not one child left the room during the program to get a drink or go to the bathroom! Last time nearly every child was so thirsty after the cookies that they all left to go get a drink which was, of course, a bit chaotic. If you're planning on doing an event like this, definitely learn from my mistake and save the cookies for last :-)
I started by discussing the handout that I made and had attached to the back of their matted paint paper. We worked with acrylic paints again (because I have so much from previous egg and pumpkin painting events in years past) and used q-tips as our brushes because they make such good dots! I gave everyone paints on a paper plate and enough q-tips to have one per color. I decribed the technique and how Seurat studied optics to create this unique style of painting that he called divisionism and was later called pointillism.
I would definitely recommend doing a "Cookies & Canvas" program at your library. It only requires one staff member, little planning in advance, and the materials are relatively inexpensive. For this program I used:
7 different colors of acrylic paint (that we already had)
20 paper plates (from previous crafts)
q-tips (7 per child)
Oreo cookies (Benton's brand from Aldi)
Acrylic painting paper ($2.97 per 15 sheets at Walmart)
Construction paper for mouting the acrylic paper
Here are some pictures of the program! (as a side note, I do make sure to always obtain signed Photo Release Forms from all the parents while the children are in the program! I leave them on the reference desk and ask the parents to please fill them out if they would agree to have their child's picture sent to the paper or shared via Facebook or blog post.)