Science Without Borders Challenge

Science Without Borders Challenge

Middle-schoolers, it’s time to use your art skills to win $500. Enter the Science Without Borders Challenge by creating an artwork showing what can be done to save the coral reefs. The theme of the contest is “Take Action: Protect the Coral Reefs”. More information can be found here.

BTW, did you know that coral reefs are less that 1% of the ocean, but are home to 25% of all sea life? If you’re a fish, the coral reefs must be the place to be! Unfortunately, coral reefs could be wiped out by the end of the century. Use your pens and markers to save the reefs!

Hurry! The contest deadline is May 4th, 2020. Artwork can be submitted here.

Link: Science Without Borders Challenge

Reading a Mummy Mask

Reading a Mummy Mask

The Art Institute of Chicago has a bunch of interactive features on their website. You can learn about Grecian vases, wooden pillows, a West African headdress, or a suit of steel armor. It’s a fun way to spend a few minutes. After all, we have a bunch of time these days. Amirite?

Take a look at this Egyptian Mummy Mask. It has an Eye of Horus (he lost his eye to his Uncle Seth), an amulet to a crocodile-headed monster, and did I mention it contained a MUMMY!!! Sometimes learning is fun.

Link: Interactive Features at the The Art Institute of Chicago

Draw Dog Man and Captain Underpants

Alright doodlebugs, with our stay-at-home order still in effect, I bet you’re looking for even more fun art activities. Sure, you’ve been chasing the cat for the past month and have begun mixing iced tea, orange juice, and Sprite as a “science experiment” – but in the meantime, you can’t help but ask yourself “Isn’t there more?” Luckily, there is.

The Library of Congress has been posting weekly videos from Captain Underpants author and illustrator Dav Pilkey. In this series of videos, you can learn how to draw the Bark Knight, Cat Kid, Big Jim, or even a Flippy Flip-O-Rama. Even if you don’t draw along, it’s always fun to watch an artist at work. How else can you explain Bob Ross?

Link: Dav Pilkey at Home
Link: How to Draw Flippy & Flip-O-Rama Music Video

Color Our Collections

Color Our Collections 2020

Yup, we’re still under stay-at-home orders and your remote learning officially begins today. That’s what I call a double-whammy. To ease your stress, I propose we use a coloring book. Did you know coloring can become a meditative exercise that focuses our attention and quells anxiety? It’s true!

Last February, libraries around the world shared free coloring sheets from their collections. You can find a gazillion images at to download, print, and share. These could keep you busy until next fall. Post your completed drawings on your favorite social media sites with the #colorourcollections tag – or just stick it on the refrigerator door. Whatever works for you!

Here’s a link to a coloring book that I put together for you. Crayons and markers will work fine; colored pencils are recommended.

File: Color Our Collection, a Concise Pandemic Coloring Book

Imagination Project = Prizes!!!

Imagination Project

Hi students. I’m sure you have mounds of artwork that you’ve created over the last few weeks. Well, guess what? You can now use your artwork to earn cold, hard cash-equivalent Target gift cards (plus a subscription to the Chicago Sun-Times).

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, here are the deets…

“Over the course of the next three weeks, we’re inviting Chicago-area elementary, middle and high school students to submit their best visual creations to our new art contest.

Because we are all looking for reasons to smile, the theme of the first season of The Imagination Project is Brighter Days. We invite you to submit your art now.

Here are a few important details:

Submit your art, win a $20 Target gift card. Glorious art careers have started on less. Did you know that Paul Cézanne won his first art contest in the 5th-grade? It’s true. He won a half-eaten baguette, a shoelace, and a subscription to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rules: The Imagination Project
Submission Form: The Imagination Project, Brighter Days

Quarantine Creative Relief: Pizza Box Sculpture

Pizza Box Sculpture

While we’re cooped-up inside, here’s a project idea that combines three of my favorite things: pizza, paint, and knives! I’m sure you’ve ordered a pizza this month. Maybe you’ve ordered more than one pizza. Two pizzas? Three pizzas? Eighteen pizzas! Geez, that’s a lot of pizza. Have you heard of vegetables?

Anyway, watch this video to learn how to make a pizza box sculpture. If we were in class, we’d talk about sunken relief sculpture and how your pizza box sculpture is related to hieroglyphics. I might even had quizzed you on it. Fortunately for you, we’re not in class today. Instead, have a Capri Sun and make some art.

One other thing, be VERY careful with the X-acto blade and always cut away from your body. I learned that lesson the hard way when I was a kid.

Take your time, be careful, make a sculpture, and try not to terrorize the cat with it.

Link: Quarantine Creative Relief: Pizza Box Sculpture


LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems!

LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems!

I doodle all the time. In meetings, on the phone, on phone-meetings. It’s fun and sometimes something interesting happens. Besides, you’re bored with chasing the cat, right? I bet he’s been hiding under the bed or the dresser for days now. Poor cat. Maybe you could make some drawings instead?

Here’s where I can help. Give the cat a break, grab a marker and paper, open a can of Sprite, and draw some doodles with Mo Willems. He’s posting a new video everyday!

Link: LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems! (YouTube)


Explore Chicago Museums (Without Leaving Home)

Museum Collection ItemsEven though we’re under a “stay at home” order, we can still visit some of our favorite local museums. Thanks to magic of the Internet, we can stroll through the Art Institute of Chicago, view some of the collection at the DuSable Museum of African-American History, or look at clay figurines at National Museum of Mexican Art.

This time is a gift. Look at things, drink an Arizona Iced Tea, and get inspired.

See you in April (hopefully).