Local children learned how to be art connoisseurs during story time at the Beatrice Public Library on Wednesday.
After reading books about how to experience art with all five senses and that art comes in all different styles, they traveled downstairs to the library’s Vette Cultural Arts Center to observe their latest exhibit.
The Sheldon Statewide Exhibition entitled “Family Style” includes 19 pieces created from 1920-2017, and have a broad array of styles and materials, but are all focused on different kinds of family units.
Youth services librarian Joanne Neemann walked the kids around and asked them what the pieces reminded them of and how they felt.
Many of them remarked that Richard Lindner’s “Man’s Best Friend” made them feel uncomfortable.
This could be intentional, as Lindner was known to paint his characters looking automated or semi-realistic with a “joker” smile.
The kids did, however, seem to like a picture of George Washington made with text, with the word “Daddy” written largely at the bottom.
“That looks kind of like my dad,” one child said.
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“No, it does not,” his mother said.
They took turns guessing how the subjects in each piece were related to each other, occasionally naming what technique was used to put the piece together.
At the end of the story time, they were invited to make art pieces of themselves.
Neemann suggested that the pictures should be family-related to match the exhibit, but that they could draw whatever they want.
Many chose to draw their moms, as mother’s day is coming up. Some were abstract, while some paid attention to detail. Some were colorful while others were black and white. And some got distracted and drew themselves as a fairy instead.
The Sheldon Museum of Art gave prompts for children when seeing the exhibit. They also mentioned making art and having discussions and observations that are age-appropriate, but also suggested having them write stories based on the pieces, researching a piece or artist, or maybe interviewing a family member about their childhood, heritage and traditions.
“Having young people have this accessible to them- I would have loved this with my little kids,” Neemann said.
The exhibit will be open during regular library hours until June 2.