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Collection: Kadinsky, Music and Abstract Art in Underfunded School Art Program


The Big Picture program at The Figge Art Museum connects K-12 curriculum topics with art to teach “big picture” ideas from a visual perspective. Figge staff members visit classrooms to deliver 45-minute PowerPoint presentations that are focused on the areas of math, science, language arts, social studies and visual arts. Each of these presentations includes time for guided student discussion, art activity and, in some cases, art objects will be brought to the classroom for a hands-on experience.

Many of the schools we visit are lacking any kind of art program within their school and, in a lot of cases, The Big Picture is the students’ only exposure to formal art education. Last year, the Big Picture Program reached over 27,000 students!

The Doodle Hog website offers wonderful lessons for art educators. Using Marcia Beckett’s Art Masters Series: Kandinsky as an inspiration, I ventured into using the Dab and Dot Markers classroom set for the first time.

This was newer territory, as most of the time our focus is on an art presentation and a very simple (crayon, marker or colored pencil) activity to follow. With so much to cover in a 45 minute lesson art materials are limited to what is transportable and easy to manage.

We started by reading The Noisy Paintbox – the Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barbara Rosenstock.

This introduced the concept of “What is abstract art?” and how visual imagery can be stimulated by the sound of music.

We then followed up by playing a series of different musical scores ranging from classical to reggae to jazz. After a few practice attempts using oil crayon, it came time for students to create their final artworks using larger paper and the Dab and Dot markers.

The vibrant colors were magical! Students had no trouble swishing, swooping and twirling colors on the page as the music filled the room!

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