Our Top 5 Recommends: Visual Arts Resources

If there’s been one nice big, juicy silver lining to the lockdown, it’s been seeing people online having the opportunity to explore their creativity at home. You don’t have to be an artist or have a studio full of materials to be creative, and you don’t even have to leave your house to explore some of the best galleries and artists in the world.

Here’s a nice mix of 5 visual arts websites and resources:

1. Kettle’s Yard

I have tried to be very unbiased but can I just say that Kettle’s Yard is one of my favourite places in the world! Originally the beautiful Cambridge home of art collectors Jim and Helen Ede it is now open to the public as a permanent collection and education space, it also has a gallery of temporary exhibitions. If you haven’t been, or want to re-visit, you can take a virtual tour of the house, explore the collections and learn more about its history.

There are some great resources and in-depth archives for learning including teachers packs on the exhibits and artists. You can listen back to recordings of artists, curators and experts from the Kettle’s Yard archive here

You might notice a few oddities on the website. Until 26 April Jim’s name has been swapped with Helen’s on some pages, marking the absence of Helen’s story from Kettle’s Yard, and inviting you to imagine a different narrative, a House of Helen- I love this!

2. Google Arts & Culture- Frida Kahlo

The Faces of Frida exhibition is the biggest collection of Kahlo artworks and artefacts ever to go on to display. There are 800 paintings, objects and photographs ready to view from 33 museums across seven countries. Collections like this are a reminder of how brilliant the internet can be, giving us the chance to see so much of her art, history and resources in one place.

It is also a reminder of why Kahlo’s work touches so many people, particularly at a time like this. She speaks not just of womanhood but of humanity and isolation. I love that her paintings are a way of connecting to her and maybe even to each other.

My favourite part of this is the opportunity to virtually explore her infamous Blue House which now houses the Frida Kahlo Museum.

3. Tate Kids

If you’re looking for some art inspired practical activities then look no further than Tate Kids. Tate have brought together games, tutorials, and quizzes as well as child friendly resources on some of the artists and genres in the Tate collection.

From painting, mask making and crafts to how to make your own gifs and animations at home, there is loads to explore here…..

4. Access Art - Sketchbooks

Sketchbooks!” is a short online course AccessArt has created made up of a combination of resources on AccessArt, specially re-edited so that they are suitable for all ages and all abilities to use at home. No special materials are required and it is completely free to take part.

There is something lovely about creating your own sketchbook! It’s also a nice way of documenting a period of time, and processing some of the feelings and experiences that you might be having right now. This course is really accessible and gives some nice clear starting points and creative ideas.

5. The Fitzwilliam Museum – Look Think Do

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge has created a brand new set of activities designed as a starting point for looking, talking and doing together inspired by the collection.

They will be adding new entries on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays throughout April and May 2020, with extra activities and virtual stories for families with under 5s on the first Saturday of the month.

These are great if you just want something quick, the Look and Think activities only take 5 -10 minutes. The Do activities can take longer depending on the task and how creative you are feeling!

You share your creations using #FitzVirtual #LookThinkDo.

Honourable mention….

Did you know that Noel Fielding, he of Mighty Boosh and Bake Off Fame, is also a visual artist? During the lockdown he’s set up a virtual art club for all ages. There’s a theme and you can post yours or your kid’s entries on Twitter with #artclub or tagging @noelfielding1. Even if you don’t feel like taking part you can find some lockdown joy by looking through the entries.

By Milly Kirby