Art Appreciation: Meet the Masters

Aside from the many benefits of teaching children art, children can also gain a lot from developing an appreciation for art:

Meet the Masters

This art history and appreciation program was created for elementary age students by Broward County Schools in Florida for a Get Involved in Education program designed for parents and classroom volunteers. The goal is to help young children gain an appreciation for classic works of art using a selection of art prints, sharing biographical information about the artists, and discussing the artistic styles and techniques.

Who is it for?

Kindergarten to Grade 5

What does it cover?

  • Periods of art
  • Elements of art – lines, colour, shape, texture, space
  • Principles of design
  • Features the works of over 70 artists, including household names such as van Gogh, Warhol, Vermeer, Monet, Renoir, Picasso, and more.

Sample Lesson

Georgia O’Keeffe

Among the women painters in the U.S., one of the best known and most outstanding is Georgia O’Keeffe. Born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, she spent her childhood on a large farm and never lost her love for nature and the land. Her gifts as an artist were clear early in her life, and she knew she wanted to become an artist when she was 10 years old. She studied at the Chicago Art Institute and Art Students’ League in New York. She worked as a commercial artist in Chicago, and as an art teacher in Texas and South Carolina. Georgia O’Keeffe had her first one-person show in New York City in 1917. A famous photographer, Alfred Stieglitz, saw her work, recognized her talent, and decided to show her art in his ‘291 Gallery’. O’Keeffe married Stieglitz in 1924. Afterwards, she lived half of the year in New York City with her husband. The rest of the year she spent in New Mexico painting the countryside that she loved so much.

Yellow Cactus


O’Keeffe’s flower studies, enlarged to fill the entire canvas, undergo a transformation as a result of their magnification. The simple beauty of nature’s forms becomes exalted, a thing of mystery. This painting is a study of the desert cactus in a rare moment of blooming; the lovely yellow flowers create a sharp contrast to the prickly thorns and dull green color the mother plant wears the rest of the year. The enlarged petals form a decorative pattern that moves diagonally across the surface of the canvas. The Yellow Cactus is a celebration of the desert flower.

Questions for Discussion

1. Find the larger objects in each picture. What shapes did the artists use to represent these objects?

2. Where are they placed in the picture?

3. What other details do you see in the picture?

Related Activities

1. Tear a shape from a piece of construction paper. Study the shape. What could you make from this shape? Glue the shape to a larger paper. Draw the rest of the details for your picture with crayon, pencil or markers.

2. Pretend you live long ago during one of the times you’ve studied in Social Studies. Where do you live? What does your house look like? Draw a picture of the neighborhood that you live in or the house (the inside or outside) where your family lives. Include details. Also include people, if you want.

Meet the Masters is available for free and can be downloaded here.

Art in Story

The aim of this book is to help children develop a knowledge of and enthusiasm for fine art by telling stories that connect to a particular kind of art or artist. Art in Story focuses on art of the ancient world, of the East and Africa, of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Chapters consider the European Masters, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, art of America and Mexico, and computer art. Each chapter has background information for the teacher, a story completely written out as it is meant to be told, suggestions for viewing art, a journal writing activity, an art activity related to the type of art being studied, connections to other topics of study, suggestions for drama possibilities, and an extensive bibliography of adult reference as well as children’s books and other materials.

Recommended for: Grades K-6

See also: Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters