Exploring Alexander Calder - MetroFamily Magazine
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Exploring Alexander Calder

by Jennifer Geary

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

I’ve shared a bit before about the artist studies I do with my kids each month—if you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, you can see how I plan them here and some more of the resources I use here.  These units are fun to plan and do and they’re usually one of the first things I have prepared for the new school year because I have such a good time finding activities and books.  This year, though, I’ve changed my plans up a bit.  First, I moved our Georgia O’Keeffe study from the spring to the fall to coincide with an exhibit at the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville.  This month we’re going to learn about Alexander Calder, who I didn’t even have in my plans for the year, because we have the opportunity to see some of his work in person.  I thought I’d share some of our plans in case you want to learn along with us!

Alexander Calder is best known for his mobiles, but until I started reading about him, I didn’t realize that he is actually the creator of the mobile art form!  In addition to mobiles, he made what he called stabiles, sculptures, lithographs, and all kinds of wire creations, including an amazing circus!  His work is bright and colorful and he has such a wide variety of artwork that there’s sure to be something that will interest each of your children.

What We’re Reading:  I’m on the waiting list at our library for the Getting to Know… biography because it’s out of print and I’m just not going to shell out $35 or more for it!  We started this week by reading Sandy’s Circus, which both of my kids enjoyed.  (You can see a great go-along activity over at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational for this book, too!)  There are also some short biographies you could print out that I have pinned on my Artists board if you just want something brief.

What We’re Making:  Well, obviously we’re going to try making some mobiles!  I think we’ll also try some wire sculptures.  These stabile flowers look like they would be simple and fun, too!

What We’re Seeing:  Through this month, there are several of Calder’s lithographs on display at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa, so we’ll be taking a field trip there one day.  If you’ve never been to the Crystal Bridges Museum (and surely you want to after reading the October issue of MetroFamily!), they also have a Calder mobile in their collection, so it might be a good time for a road trip!

I think any time you can get your kids in front of original works of art by the artists they’re studying, it’s a great thing! 

Happy planning!


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