The Art of Romare Bearden for Kids

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Today, we are kicking off our Black History Month Blog Hop here on Multicultural Kid Blogs with a focus on one of my favorite artists, Romare Bearden.

Multicultural Kids Blogs and The Art Curator for Kids - The Incredible Art of Romare Bearden for Kids - Black History Month Blog Hop

I’m totally in love with Romare Bearden’s art. Through his colorful and engaging artworks, he manages to capture the spirit and life of a place and the people in it probably better than any artist I have seen. He once said that “the artist is a kind of enchanter in time,”* and you can totally see this in his art. Looking at his collages, you are transported to the place they are representing.

Bearden (1911-1988) experimented with a wide variety of media from watercolor to cartoons to oil paints, but he is most well know for his collages. His art pulls influences from lots of places as well and are jam-packed with references to history, art history, contemporary social issues, music, people, and places. He grew up in the middle of the Harlem Renaissance, and much of his art reflected that influence from Harlem’s link to the South, the connection to music and musicians, and the overall excitement and creative energy that filled and inspired the people of Harlem.

Romare Bearden with cousin in front of painting
Bearden (right),  with his painting, Cotton Workers, and Pvt. Charles H. Alston, his cousin and first art teacher. 1944.

Not only was Bearden a prolific and important artist, he was also an educator, scholar, writer, social worker, set and costume designer, cartoonist, and World War II soldier. He was the director of the Harlem Cultural Council, a member of the Harlem Arts Guild, a founding member of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, and a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He also helped found the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Cinque Gallery.

Let’s look at some of his art!

Artworks by Romare Bearden

High quality images of his art are hard to find on the internet, because his art is protected by copyright. I’ve shown some below in thumbnail format. To see them larger, click on the title of the artwork. You can also see a lot more Bearden artworks on the Bearden Foundation website or on the Nelson-Atkins Museum website.

Romare Bearden, Three Folk Musicians, 1967
Romare Bearden, Falling Star, 1979
Romare Bearden, Morning of the Rooster, 1980
Romare Bearden, Return of the Prodigal Son, 1967

Romare Bearden Lessons, Activities, and Books

The Bearden Foundation Website – This is an excellent website has biographical information, images of all of Bearden’s artworks, and links to tons of lessons plans and activities.

The Art of Romare Bearden Teacher Packet by the National Gallery of Art – In this guide, you can find more information about Bearden, his art, his themes and influences, and lesson plans and learning activities. It’s a fabulous resource. You can download the 80-page booklet, and they will also loan the book including images on CD and transparency for free for use in classroom or library settings!

Romare Bearden: Let’s Walk the Block by the Met Museum – This is a super cool flash website with multimedia games for kids, artwork with prompts to help kids look at and understand the artwork, and more.

My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden’s Childhood Journey – Romare Bearden’s art is perfect for kids. Your kids will love this sweet story about a young Bearden observing the world through the train. The book ties together history, art, and music!

The Block by Langston Hughes and Romare Bearden – This book is such a treasure combining Langston Hughes’ poems about Harlem alongside one of Bearden’s most famous collages, The Block. It’s out of print, but it is available used or you can look it up at your local library!

Which of Romare Bearden’s artworks do you like best? Let us know in the comments!


* Ulaby, Neda. The Art of Romare Bearden: Collages Fuse Essence of Old Harlem, American South. NPR. September 14, 2003.

Black History Month 2015 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

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Once an art teacher and museum educator, Cindy is now a work at home mom of two lovely daughters (ages 4 and 6). She is passionate about the power of art in people's lives and writes about how to teach art appreciation and enjoy art history with kids of all ages at the Art Curator for Kids (

Latest posts by Cindy Ingram (see all)

7 thoughts on “The Art of Romare Bearden for Kids”

  1. Thank you for featuring Romare Bearden on this very insightful and educational blog. We love what you’ve done! Posted to our Facebook, please LIKE us and keep us informed to the comments you receive.
    Great job!

  2. Wow Cindy – I’d never heard of Romare Bearden, and I’m so glad for the introduction! Those are great resources you’ve included, I’m looking forward to digging deeper – in the meantime, I’m happy to note our library has the book The Block and have it placed on hold. Can’t wait to introduce him and his work to my daughters.

  3. Michelle Canavan

    The artwork looks lovely. I will be trying to find some of these items through our library system.

  4. I have never been interested in art. But your series is hooking me. Especially the painting of Socrates. All the details but especially the fact of when it was painted, therefore what it represents was awesome! Thank you

    I would be happy to pass on your materials to children, except for a very few exceptions.

    1. Thanks! I’m so glad you are enjoying my resources. 🙂 Knowing a little of the back story helps a little bit, doesn’t it?

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