Interview with MaryAnn F. Kohl on the Importance of Art

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MaryAnn F. Kohl

MaryAnn F. Kohl is an art educator and the author of numerous art activity books, including First Art, Scribble Art, and Preschool Art.

Preschool Art Big Messy Art Book 

First Art Scribble Art

I've used the activities in First Art extensively with Maia and with our Toddler Art Group. We've also started using Scribble Art and The Big Messy Art Book. I love that her books are chock-full of creative activities that both have some structure and direction, but also allow an incredible amount of freedom in how the activities can be done. They seem perfect for families who are new to art as well as families who are comfortable and experienced with creating art. (Note: readers have a chance to win a copy of one of MaryAnn's books at the end of the interview.)

JEAN: Thanks so much for agreeing to share your experience and insight about art education with my readers on The Artful Parent. We would all love to hear about your perspective on the hows and whys of introducing art to young children. You are a wonderful resource for parents like me who are interested in raising their children in a home full of art and creativity. First, can you tell us why you believe that art and creativity are important for children?

MARYANN: Humans have two sides of the brain, and one them is ready and waiting for creativity. Why not use that hemisphere for what it was intended — Art Exploration and Creativity? Art is a major area of a child's life where he can be himself, explore, experiment, make decisions, and evaluate outcomes, all within the realm of creativity and independent thought. I believe that art is as natural as sunshine and vital as nourishment. We mustn't ignore it. We hold the key, the permission if you will, for allowing a child to have the time and the materials for this last frontier of creative thinking in the schools. We say yes, and it happens. We say no, and it disappears. Could all those art museums be wrong? I certainly don't think so!

JEAN: And can you tell us about your decision to make children's art your life work?

MARYANN: I have made art my life's work because I love children, have a sense of what is natural and normal for them, what is needed for them. But of course I can't document my feelings. Yet, you know how it is when you just "know" something is right. That's how I am about art with kids. I have spent enough time working with them to know what makes them sparkle, or on a lesser scale of wordage, what makes them "tick". I have NEVER met a child who did not grow and respond through art. And for that matter, enjoy art – especially when they find out they don't have to make something I require, but can explore materials with no planned outcome. I want all children to have the opportunity to experience creativity in art form. I'm just as passionate about writing and music and drama, but I focus on art because it's an area that anyone can proceed into without expertise. Art has no right way and no wrong way, only the child's way. I've seen countless older kids say, "You're serious? We can make anything we want?" They just can't believe it, and when they proceed, they disappear into creativity as if they were toddlers. Just because you're older doesn't mean you don't need to create anymore. Forget the "I can't draw!" reply. It has no place in the kind of art I recommend. Art is a process, not a product. I would like to differentiate between "ART" and "CRAFT". Craft follows distinct steps to a required or expected outcome. Fun, yes, but not art. Art has no planned outcome, though there may be some specialized materials and techniques to use. The results are not planned or expected. Art is free. Craft is static. Process, not product.

JEAN: Will you share some ideas for making art a part of a child's everyday life?

MARYANN: Everyday art. I like the sound of that! So to begin a day with art, slice those bananas and decorate your cereal, for starters. Blueberries add color. The day can begin with art, it truly can. Fold a paper napkin in a new way, and surprise your kids. Art is found in the simplest of places, including bubble baths. Art materials should be readily accessible for children in the home, daycare, or classroom. Basic materials like glue, scissors, colored paper, staplers, and crayons, paints and brushes, tape, stickers, and water. Collage materials and odds and ends, all available at child height. Of course, age will dictate which materials may or may not be appropriate to place in the shelves and bins, and how much of a material available at any given moment, but basic art supplies should be available for kids to experience as they require and may I say NEED.

JEAN: Do you have any suggestions for parents who are interested in setting up a children's art center in their homes?

MARYANN: Child accessible is the key. Shoe boxes are free and easy to get from shoe stores, or buy inexpensive see-through bins. Have a little shelf next to a small table (for younger children). Make it easy for kids to help themselves. Include a trash can, so they can help themselves to their own clean-up too.

JEAN: Can you tell us what your favorite art materials are for young children?

MARYANN: I LOVE LOVE LOVE liquid watercolors (from Discount School Supply and Kaplan and other suppliers). Crayons, and I mean quality Crayola crayons at that, are a top priority. Don't go cheap on crayons … the cheaper varieties don't work well. Good scissors are a must for the same reason. Enjoy some crafty supplies like felt, sequins and buttons and plastic coated wire. Have fun! Don't worry about following directions, just play with materials and see how they behave and interact. Think of art as an experiment, and don't worry about the results. It's the Process, not the Product!

JEAN: What are some of your favorite art projects for younger children? Older children?

MARYANN: Younger kids, I love to see them make collages with interesting materials. Older kids? I love to see them work with watercolors, crayon resist, permanent markers combined with dry watercolor paintings. And for the kids, if you ask them? Anything that is 3D is always a favorite.

JEAN: You have written numerous books, each jam-packed with art projects. How did you come up with all the project ideas? How do you continue to come up with new ideas for new books?

MARYANN: The art projects in my books explode from basic art ideas like crayon resist, or combining two materials like chalk and crayon. Simple things. I work with kids all the time, and watch what they do. They think up new applications and approaches all the time. I make notes and take pictures. I also try to think this way: Well, if colored play-clay smears on your fingers, wouldn't it also be fun to smear it on paper? I try to see what hasn't be done (by adults anyway), and think of new ways to do it. I look at the leaves falling, and my mind is captured…how could this become an art experience? Always thinking.

JEAN: Can you tell us a little about the book you're working on right now?

Great American Artists

MARYANN: Great American Artists for Kids: Hands-On Art Experiences in the Styles of Great American Masters is the title, which I'm co-authoring with Kim Solga of KidsArt. It's my first book in full color, and is chock-a-block with actual artworks by the famous art-folks, as well as from kid artists. It's going to be wonderful! It comes out on the 4th of July, the most important truly all American day. 75 artists from the Colonial times to the present are featured with a short bio of interest to kids, the artist's birthday, art style or movement, and then a fabulous creative art project that goes with that artist. For example, one of the artists is Lichtenstein who is famous for his "comic" art with words in cartoon bubbles. The kids think up new words and sounds, draw their comic, artfully put in the new word. I think yesterday I saw a grade two boy with a "VAHAZOOMZ" on his comic work of a fantastic car with purple tires. For Stuart Gilbert who is famous for George Washington portraits we all recognize, the kids draw any kind of crayon portrait, and then crumple it, then paint it with a thinned black tempera wash, and it is suddenly an antique looking portrait called "Crackle Crayon". This book will be great fun and educational too.

JEAN: What are some of your favorite books about art and creativity (besides your own) that you would recommend to Artful Parent readers?

Salvador Dali  Picnic with Monet

MARYANN: There is a series of books about great masters that I like called "For Kids Series" by Chicago Review Press. One title is Salvador Dali and the Surrealists: Their Lives and Ideas, 21 Activities. I recently saw a little set of board books for toddlers and young kids, each based on a different great master. The publisher is Roundtable Press, and the series is MiniMasters. Very well done, excellent. Even older kids like it. My favorite is A Picnic with Monet by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober. They have several others focused on Matisse, Degas, Van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir, Seurat, and Cassatt. [Jeanâ's note: See my post about this series here.]

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

For people who are interested in how to draw, I recommend Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, with some amazing results from the lessons the book suggests. Even people who can't draw will be astounded at their success if they read and follow the book. It's not anything like any of my own books, and it would only be for people who are curious to find out about drawing and maybe to try out some experiments with drawing. It's really rather miraculous!

JEAN: Thank you so much, MaryAnn, for sharing your love and your expertise of children's art with us!

If you'd like to learn more about MaryAnn F. Kohl and her many books you can visit her website, www.brightring.com.

Discovering Great Artists

To win a copy of MaryAnn's book, Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Kids in the Styles of the Great Masters, post a comment on this interview before Friday, February 22th, midnight, Eastern Standard Time. Winner will be chosen in a random drawing and notified via e-mail.

 

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73 Comments

  • Reply
    Sarah
    February 19, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Excellent interview. I really appreciate her advice on setting-up an art corner! Off to check out her books in more detail. :)

  • Reply
    threesneakybugs
    February 19, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Ooohhh! I’ll check out the library tonight.

  • Reply
    Mommy Bee
    February 19, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Another GREAT post! Thanks! As one of those families who are “new to art”, this is a wonderful resource. I’m going to check out her books.

  • Reply
    Liz
    February 19, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    That was a wonderful interview! Now I want all of those books for our library.

  • Reply
    Cheri
    February 19, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    we just recently set up an art room, and i would love some ideas for my toddlers!

  • Reply
    Gwyn
    February 19, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    That was a great interview. I would love to be in the draw for the book – I don’t have any of MaryAnn’s books! My kids used their free access to art materials this week to draw in black crayon all over our beige couches – hmmmm!

  • Reply
    mel
    February 19, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    I’m quite impressed with your ability to get interviews with these great authors. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  • Reply
    Melissa A
    February 19, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Great interview! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Julie
    February 19, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    pick me – pick me!

  • Reply
    Heather H.
    February 19, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    I just found this blog a few days ago, and I love it!!! I’ll try not to make this comment too long, but I have a story to tell. I am a stay at home mom to 4 little girls. I have an AA in Early Childhood Ed. and have always loved art. We have plenty of paint, crayons, pencils, chalks and all kinds of art supplies in our home. I even have one of MaryAnn’s books, Pre-School Art……but somewhere along the way, I got totally derailed. It saddens me to say that I am always saying no to art time. My girls of course still draw with there markers or crayons, but I haven’t allowed time for painting, sculpture, collage or anything else in a VERY long time. I am so excited to have found this site. It will truly help me make art more a part of our every day life again.
    Thank you so much Jean, for this site and for the wonderful interviews and inspiration. ~Heather

  • Reply
    Daniele
    February 19, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks for this interview! Appreciate the other book recommendations as well as the author’s.

  • Reply
    Meghan
    February 19, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Her books look great! I’m always looking for new ideas for my 3 year old.

  • Reply
    Priscilla
    February 19, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Another great interview–thanks! I was especially interested to learn the difference between craft and art–a very helpful distinction!

  • Reply
    connectedroots
    February 19, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    I just found this amazing spot and visit frequently for inspiration. Thank you!
    We have Scribble Art, which got lost in the shelves for awhile. I recently took it out in a scrambling-for-something-to-do moment. It is filled with quick and easy ideas that you can get going without putting anything together, plus lots more that are exciting to plan for. I also value the difference between art and craft. Both valuable, but different in process and outcome.

  • Reply
    tif
    February 19, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    I’m learning so much from you blog Jean – and it is keeping me inspired!
    I’d love to check out MaryAnn’s books for ideas to include in my “art time” with my daughter’s class.
    I so appreciate your blog. Thanks Jean!

  • Reply
    Katie Davis
    February 19, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    I have a 4 month old and I have already started to research how to incorporate art into his/our lives. Your blog provides a lot of inspiration to do this research. I really enjoyed reading this interview, it gave me a lot more tools and resources to explore. Thanks!

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    February 19, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks everyone for all your comments! And, Heather, thanks for sharing your art experiences! Even I find myself saying no to painting sometimes because it’s a mess and a hassle and I just don’t feel like dealing with it. I hope you find inspiration and ideas here for making art a bigger part of your life again. It can be so much FUN too… Mess and all.

  • Reply
    Thien-Kim
    February 19, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    I completely agree about the process, not the product. Just letting my daughter play around with paints, crayons, scissors, whatever is the best part! The art she creates is just a bonus.

  • Reply
    Lynn Seddon
    February 19, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    What a great interveiw. Thank you very much. Have an art-y day :)

  • Reply
    evenspor
    February 20, 2008 at 12:28 am

    Thanks for another great interview.

  • Reply
    pooja
    February 19, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    hi,
    great interview:)
    thanks for sharing:)…i am surely going to check out that library :)
    goodparenting.co.in

  • Reply
    Julie
    February 20, 2008 at 1:41 am

    I loved the interview! It all makes so much sense! I am really glad to be reminded that the process is more important than the product! What a sense of freedom for the children to be reminded of this important concept. Thanks for the information.

  • Reply
    sarah
    February 19, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    What a great interview! It has so many off-shoots, I’m looking forward to finding the books mentioned and trying some new ideas out. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Quinn
    February 20, 2008 at 5:52 am

    So happy to have found this blog. My 2.5 year old adores “projects” as she calls them, and has been “doing” art since she was 6 months old. I must say (proudly) that her drawings are advanced for her age, she includes eyes, mouths, arms and legs on her pictures, and her teachers often ask me if she does a lot of art at home! Thanks for the blog and the information!

  • Reply
    Sara
    February 20, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Great interview. Love her ideas. I’ve used her book in when I taught in preschool. It’s nice to see a picture of the author.

  • Reply
    Barbara
    February 20, 2008 at 7:10 am

    Loved the interview. I teach in a preschool that’s committed to real art rather than teacher-directed crafts. We have most of Mary Ann Kohl’s books (I don’t know for sure; maybe we have all of them) and we love them because they’re exactly what she presents them as, process-oriented art.

  • Reply
    Kelly Rahmeier
    February 20, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Loved the article…I feel the same way…it’s the process, not the product. My art area in my classroom is by far the most exciting and the favorite!
    Kelly

  • Reply
    Christina
    February 20, 2008 at 8:51 am

    I just discovered Maryann Kohl recently! I love her books. Thanks for the great interview!

  • Reply
    KidzArt
    February 20, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Liquid water colors!! So true! When I was a young-one I would always use crayons or water colors, absolutely. I can’t believe I forgot about how much fun I had with them, now I will surely share these joys with my children. I love the trashcan idea, too. Very effective. Love the interview, keep up the good work!
    KidzArt

  • Reply
    OTJenH
    February 20, 2008 at 9:25 am

    I LOVED this interview! I have to say my absolute favorite thought was about how bananas and blueberries can be art. And bubble baths. I even did a quick search for napkin folding (any ideas anyone?) to add a touch of whimsy and art to our dinner tonight. I read the interview this morning and went back to reread it this afternoon – I think it changed my day a little. I definately looked for the art in the everyday things I was doing with my 3 1/2 year old son. The idea of art being everywhere can be so energizing! And it is also to so helpful to remember that idea on the days when you beat yourself up for not setting up the easel and paints… infuse some art into dinner, or bathtime, or getting dressed. You’re doing these things anyway… why not make them creative opportunities?
    Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Karin Machusic
    February 20, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Thank you for sharing the insightful interview! We are big fans of Mary Ann, and we whole-heartedly agree that there are no right or wrong ways to make art and that the process is so valuable! If you enjoyed this interview, you may want to check out our new blog, Art for Creative Kids, by going to http://www.abrakadoodle.blogspot.com. Happy doodling!

  • Reply
    Tabitha
    February 20, 2008 at 5:15 am

    Art is something I always strive to do with my children. Usually during the summer our dining room is covered with paint and paper or whatever the kids can find to paint on. I’m not a big craft person. I usually let them use their imagination. I used to think I was lazy for not directing them, now I know that I am actually helping them.
    Thank you for the time you put into your blog. I appreciate how I am able to glean from your experience and add them to my children’s experiences.

  • Reply
    parentscooperativepreschool
    February 20, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Your interview was very insightful. I studied Art in college 14 years ago. I’m a preschool teacher today, realizing how intertwined children and art actually are. I am so passionate about letting kids explore and enjoy the PROCESS of Art. I would love to own any one of MaryAnn’s books. Thank you for the delightful read, and your blog is very inspiring as well!

  • Reply
    Kris
    February 20, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I had a copy of this book from the library and adored it! Her books are lovely!

  • Reply
    Jill H.
    February 20, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Thanks for the interview, the giveaway sounds wonderful, and I’m adding several of these books to my “must read/buy” list.

  • Reply
    Beth Engelhardt
    February 20, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    I have used your books for many years now and always send students to your articles, books and resources.
    I think one of my favorite comments was, “Humans have two sides of the brain, and one them is ready and waiting for creativity.” This is so true and yet we don’t value the creative aspect of the young child. We want them to conform and sit in rows in school. The first thing to be cut with budgets is the creative endeavors. We know as educators how important the arts are and creativity is for everyone but yet we still don’t value it.
    Thanks for keeping it out front.
    Beth

  • Reply
    Megan Kohl
    February 20, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    So THAT’S what you were doing during my childhood! It worked! I have so many wonderful memories of art at all levels of my day to day life, from using pancake batter on weekends to create animal-shaped pancakes to making plaster molds in the beach sand, or even just being allowed to decorate my oatmeal any way I wanted with berries, fruit and nuts. There were also always ALWAYS bins of old crayons and water color paints and paper scraps and pipe cleaners available for what ever project I thought was necessary – as long as I was also willing to clean up. Sometimes the supplies weren’t fancy, but it didn’t matter, they were plentiful and available. I could get them out and put them away any time I liked. I never had the feeling that I was incapable of art – if I could play I could make art – and I have hundreds of wonderful and hilarious memories to boot. Thanks, Mom. This article just about sums it up!
    Meg

  • Reply
    molly
    February 20, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks again for another nice interview. We’ll have to get some liquid water colors and give them a try.

  • Reply
    Kayte
    February 20, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Found your blog just a few weeks ago and am working through all your older posts. Thanks for providing so much inspiration. And to Jean — lots of work as been going on in our house thanks to First Art. Thanks!

  • Reply
    SarahC
    February 20, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Thank you for all the great resources you have provided for us through the years. I truly appreciate your emphasis on process art.

  • Reply
    a_fluke
    February 20, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    When I started teaching 15 years ago I felt very incapable of art. After about a couple years when my director purchased ‘Preschool Art’ my idea of art changed and I developed a love of it. The statement that it’s about “the process not the product” changed the way I teach in many aspects. Thank you for putting so many wonderful art resources out there.
    Dawn

  • Reply
    Cindy
    February 20, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    I couldn’t agree with Mary Ann more on the importance of having quality supplies. As a Kindergarten teacher I have seen kids get frustrated with some of the off-brand supplies which takes their focus away from their creativity. I have some of Mary Ann’s books and they are truly inspiring!

  • Reply
    Heather
    February 20, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    As a Kindergarten teacher, I feel like there is so much emphasis placed on the 3 r’s and little to no emphasis placed on the arts. Thanks for the simple ideas to incorporate art into my day. I’m looking forward to using Mary Ann’s books in my classroom. Thanks Mary Ann!

  • Reply
    Lorie
    February 20, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    The interview was wonderful! More people like Mary Ann Kohl and Nellie Edge are needed to offset the current push toward worksheets and drone work for young children. I love Mary Ann’s books. The new one sounds terrific! I was fortunate to visit the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC several years ago and Liichtenstein’s “House I” in the sculpture garden was one of my favorite works to share with children. Since I teach in Arizona, I bought postcards and took photos to try to share with the children my joy at seeing his art. I’m looking forward to more ideas using works of great masters.
    http://www.nga.gov/feature/sculpturegarden/sculpture/sculpture15.shtm

  • Reply
    Valerie Schuetta
    February 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Really enjoyed this interview. It renewed my determination to incorporate art into all my lessons. It also made me realize how important and natural art is to all children. Whether it’s playing with play dough, decorating cupcakes, painting, or making “bubble” pancakes in the tub, children need art everyday. At home and at school. Thanks for the re-charging my enthusiasm!

  • Reply
    Cynthia Shay
    February 20, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    I love your approach to the art activities, and I love the idea of an art corner. In art there is not limits, and this is a concept in itself for young children.

  • Reply
    Erica
    February 21, 2008 at 6:11 am

    I’m interested in reading Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain on behalf of my husband, who laughed nervously when I brought up the idea of family drawing time a week or so ago. Kent is 8 months old, so my husband has a little while to get his nerve up… and I think this book might help a lot. Thanks for the great interview!

  • Reply
    Mauri
    February 21, 2008 at 6:39 am

    How wonderful to know that even young children are given the opprtunity to leanr abut the masters in a way that is on thier level. It is so good to know that some people haven’t forgotten that it is the process not the product. I am excited to use Mary Ann’s book in my classroom.

  • Reply
    Shawn
    February 21, 2008 at 8:23 am

    I am glad to see this interview because I was considering buying one of the books on Amazon. I like her kids-level approach. A friend of mine told me once that she gave her 3 year old son her camera to take pictures and what he chose was very interesting. It pays to think like a child now and then.
    Please count me for the drawing!

  • Reply
    Vanessa Phillips
    February 21, 2008 at 9:08 am

    I love doing art with my kids. Actually, it’s a great way to spend some quality time together. They can do the art project while you supervise or you can do your own with them. And they love to see mommy’s “masterpiece” too!!

  • Reply
    Kathy Lickenbrock
    February 21, 2008 at 9:13 am

    i really think art is being looked over in this test and test and test day…. soem of our gifted artist ARE being left behind!! I cannot wait to read the new book!
    Kathy

  • Reply
    Lucia
    February 21, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Thanks for another interesting interview with some great book suggestions. Look forward to checking those out.

  • Reply
    Laura O
    February 21, 2008 at 10:36 am

    What a great interview! I now have several books on my library list to find as art is *not* my forte, yet all my boys love it.

  • Reply
    Maya
    February 21, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    My fingers are crossed!
    Great interview.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    February 21, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    throw my name in the hat too!

  • Reply
    kristen
    February 21, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    I just found your blog and I love it! I graduated in Art Ed and I home school 3 kids. We LOVE art!! We are always looking for fun ideas. Thanks!
    Kristen

  • Reply
    michelle_d
    February 21, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    I’d love to be entered in the draw. I just put a bunch of her books on hold at my library. I can’t wait!

  • Reply
    inexplicableways
    February 21, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    You’ve given this art-challenged mama some new ideas. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Allison
    February 21, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    This was a great post, and I really enjoy your blog. I’d love to win a copy of the book!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Sherwood
    February 22, 2008 at 6:00 am

    MaryAnn – I’ve been waiting for this book to come out for over a year now. I can’t wait to see it in final form. It will be wonderful!
    Elizabeth

  • Reply
    yvonnee
    February 22, 2008 at 6:18 am

    Thanks for sharing your insights and knowledge with us. As a teacher I see the light that shine in the eyes of the children when they are engaged in “artful” moments and activities that engage their brain in a different way.
    Thanks

  • Reply
    Diana (Holes In My Shiny Veneer)
    February 22, 2008 at 9:10 am

    I have so many of her books on my Amazon wishlist right now– I’d love to win one! Her approach (and this blog, BTW) has really opened my eyes as to what kind of art experiences to provide my 2 little ones.

  • Reply
    Janna Mawhinney
    February 22, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    I am brand new to your blog and so excited to find so many “do-able” projects! Thanks for giving such great ideas and pictures for those of us who are visual learners. :)

  • Reply
    Tracey Neumarke
    February 22, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Thank you for the interview. I look forward to the new book by MaryAnn. She really understands children and I love the way she advocates for real art and not crafts. As teachers we have the opportunity to allow children to create whatever they want without being concerned about the product at the end.
    Art is so freeing and it is so much more exciting to see a wall of children’s unique one of a kind artwork instead of the teacher made cut outs of teddy bears (or whatever relates to the theme) all lined up with a child’s name at the bottom. It is so true that art is about process and not product.

  • Reply
    Gail
    February 23, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Mary Ann,
    Thank you for continuing to be an advocate for children and their artwork. Thank you for being one of the people who is trying to provide a balance against the No Child Left Behind abandonment of the arts in education.

  • Reply
    MaryAnn Kohl
    February 23, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    The warmth — acceptance — appreciation — care — of the comments following my interview have inspired me to continue on in my focus of art for children!!! Sometimes it seems like a battle that cannot be won, with government and administrators taking away art, music, drama, and even recess. Thank you, everyone, Jean especially, for the chance to spout my fire! But more, thank you for the comments that have made me feel so very very good today. Even my own daughter snuck one in there. Talk about “feel-good”. I would love to do another interview sometime on ‘great artists’ or “great illustrators’ and how we can introduce kids to their amazing gifts. Thank you, everyone! I had no idea that this interview would bring peace and joy to me…it’s nice.
    MaryAnn
    Kohl

  • Reply
    Lisa
    February 24, 2008 at 6:53 am

    We have the Preschool Art book at the preschool I teach at and it is a wonderful tool. It is chuck full of ideas that the children love to explore. I can’t wait to check out some of her other books. I also appreciate the tip on the MiniMasters series. I have to check that out too! Thanks for the great read!

  • Reply
    Sas Shoes Interview with MaryAnn F. Kohl on the Importance of Art
    March 12, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    […] melissanewtonnHMARYANN: Child accessible is the key. Shoe boxes are free and easy to impart from footgear stores, or take inexpensive see-through bins. Have a small beam inbound to a petite upland (for lowly children). Make it easy for kids to hold themselves. […]

  • Reply
    MaryAnn Kohl
    May 16, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Update on my new book, “Great American Artists for Kids”…it’s shipping to arrive in in bookstores (including online) by July 1. I’ll let you know when it’s here!!
    MaryAnn

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    May 16, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Yay! I can’t wait…

  • Reply
    Retail Therapy @ September 21 The Chiah Family
    June 25, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    […] reading the interview with Mary Ann F Koh from freelance writer Jean, I decided to choose the above two books for my reference. These […]

  • Reply
    MaryAnn Kohl
    August 18, 2008 at 7:38 am

    Jean, Want to do a book give away? The book, Great American Artists, is out now…and it is really wonderful in full color. I’m very excited!!! I just had a picnic for the 60 or so kids who contributed illustrations. I had 200 people!!! IT was a grand hotdog cookout. :o)
    MaryAnn Kohl
    [email protected]
    Free pages from the new book at: http://www.brightring.com/greatamericanartists.html

  • Reply
    Rosetta DeBerardinis
    February 1, 2009 at 5:51 am

    Mary,
    I discovered your site while doing research for a public art project for a library. Interesting perspective on the importance of art; one that I can appreciate as an artist.
    Thank you for sharing your insight.
    Rosetta DeBerardinis

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