My 19-year old son just spent his Birthday money on a piece of original art. As an artist and especially as a parent, was delighted that he appreciated art well enough to spend his own money on it. Coming from a family of artists, I have always been surrounded by original art so naturally absorbed the value and appreciation of art. It is a legacy that I think all parents should try to instill in their children – to expose them to creativity and a thought process outside of the everyday.
We found that there were a few key things that helped our kids not only appreciate art but enabled them to start to develop their own tastes and their own preferences.
Things to consider when encouraging the love of art for your kids:
Age 3-6 – At this age, all kids enjoy creating art and think of themselves as artists – keep the dream alive! When your child is young, take a piece of art that they are particularly proud of, frame it to give it weight (inexpensive frames from IKEA are perfect) and create a gallery in their room. Encourage them to hang their friend’s art as well to get them used to different styles.
Age 6- 12 – Take your kids to art galleries. When we travel as a family, we "pop" into small, non-intimidating galleries. Don't stay too long. Keep it light and fun. Encourage them to choose posters or framed postcards of the artists they like. This will give you some insight as to what they are attracted to.
Age 13 - 18. A perfect time to introduce them to art they will keep forever. A few years ago, my husband and I started buying small pieces of art for our kids (aged 16 and 19) every year for their birthday. This way, they have original art for their bedrooms. As they live with the pieces chosen for them, they will start to develop their own tastes. Generally start by choosing art in colours or subject matter your children enjoy. Picking up small pieces at outdoor shows like the Riverdale Art Walk allows you to buy great pieces from local artists at reasonable prices. For the same price of a video games, you can purchase art. Who know, you may be purchasing the next Picasso!
When your kids move into their first home, they will have a nice start to their collection and will hopefully continue the legacy, passing their love to their children.