The temporary closing of schools represents a drastic change for students, parents and teachers. To keep the creative spirits of budding Pablo Picassos, Frida Kahlos and Georgia O’Keeffes alive, local art teachers are encouraging students to make creations from found objects, nature and household items.

“Art doesn’t have to be made from fancy kits or expensive lessons. It can be made from things found right around the house. Kids can make a lot of art from just everyday objects,” said Beth Young, art teacher at Austinville, Eastwood and Walter Jackson elementary schools.

In an effort to connect with students, Decatur City Schools' elementary art teachers are posting videos of art lessons on Google Classroom, Monday to Friday.

Tammie Clark’s first videos feature a found object color wheel challenge and natural found objects art project. The art teacher at Frances Nungester and Oak Park Elementary used oranges, cans of green beans, a pink shampoo bottle, purple hairspray can and red travel coffee mug to create the color wheel. For the natural found objects project, Clark collected dandelions, rocks, bark, limbs and acorns.

With spring beginning last week, now represents the perfect time to find inspiration from nature, Robert Belcher, Decatur High art teacher, said.

“With the change in seasons, quarantine and social distancing, it is hard to process it all. The good news is that we can get outdoors and really spend quality time outside, exploring and experiencing our natural world,” Belcher said. “Taking part in something creative, personalizing it and using it to help make sense of the craziness that is our new normal is a great thing to enable our kids to do.”

Try these art projects at home

Crayon resist

Materials: White crayon, paper, food coloring or watercolor paint.

Celebrate the “lonely little white crayon that never shows up” in this art project recommended by Young. Color with the white crayon and then paint with food coloring or watercolor over the crayon.

Melted crayon stained glass 

Materials: crayons, cheese grater or pencil sharpener, wax paper, iron.

Grate crayons and keep them separated by color. Cut or tear a sheet of wax paper and fold it in half to crease the center. Unfold the wax paper. Add crayon shaving to one side of the wax paper in any pattern or design. Set the wax paper with crayon shavings on a piece of newsprint on an ironing board. Place another piece of newsprint on top. Run iron over the paper slowly and evenly to melt the crayon. Hold artwork up to light to reveal stained glass effect.

Nature prints

Materials: Paper, paint or ink, flowers, leaves, grass, etc.

Collect some samples of nature. Dip natural objects in paint or ink and make a print on paper. Use sticks as pencils and grass bundles as paint brushes. Or use the sun as a painting source. Place objects on colored paper and leave in the sun for several hours. The paper will fade where it is hit by the sun.


Materials: Amazon boxes, paint, found objects, collage, etc.

Use Amazon boxes as a base for a creative self-portrait as a room or shadowbox. With paint, found objects and other materials, create sculptural pieces that represent who you are and what you feel or think.

Squirt gun art

Materials: Squirt guns, watered down paint, cardboard or sheet

Fill cheap squirt guns with watered down paint and let the kids shoot them on a large piece of cardboard or a sheet.

Art journal

Materials: Paper, crayon or colored pencil or pen.

String together a few pieces of paper and walk around yard. Draw what you see. Later, write a poem or make a few observations inspired by the art.

Thornton Dial-inspired art

Materials: Found objects, such as buttons, old carboard and pieces of fabric.

“Thornton Dial, the great Alabama assemblage artist made amazing works of art from such things,” Young said. “After learning about him, take advantage of this time together to make a family assemblage project. Gather together items and collaborate to create one amazing masterpiece.”

Princess Theatre art challenge

To celebrate the Princess Theatre’s 100th anniversary as an entertainment venue, the performing arts center is challenging students to create a piece of visual art. The 2D or 3D piece should show what act — singing, dancing, comedy or magic — the student would have performed on the stage in 1920. The pieces can range from drawings and paintings to sculptures and sock puppets. Deadline is May 1 at 5 p.m. Make sure to include the artist’s name, age and contact information. Art supplies are available at the Princess as long as supplies last. All of the works will be on display in the theater's lobby during the "100 Years at the Princess Variety Show" on Oct. 4.

Neighborhood art project

Materials: Construction paper, colors or crayons, scissors, tape or string.

Some neighborhoods, such as Albany in Decatur, are placing homemade hearts on their doors and windows to provide a little happiness to passers-by. Cut the heart out from construction paper and create any design. Tape or hang the heart on the door or window. Other options include flowers for spring or eggs for Easter.

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