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.
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.
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 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.
This post is part of the Black History Month series on Multicultural Kid Blogs. Be sure to visit the main page for the full schedule and to link up your own posts about sharing Black History Month with kids! And of course, don’t forget to enter our amazing giveaway:
Black History Month GIVEAWAY
Grand Prize Package
A Divah Taylor doll from World of EPI, the company whose mission is to express joy by providing children access to dolls that encourage dreams, promote intelligence, challenge perceptions, and open their hearts to all types of beauty. US Shipping only
Global Wonders: African-American DVD for kids: Join twins Trey and Alisha as their playroom is transformed into a world of dreams and discoveries highlighting the fascinating and influential culture of the African-American family. US & Canada only
One set of ABC Me Flashcards, teaching African-American history from Africa to Zora Neal Hurston! Illustrated in vibrant colors with easy to understand wording on the back. US Shipping only
From Penguin Books, I Am Jackie Robinson by Brad Meltzer US Shipping only.
Also from Penguin Books, Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña US Shipping only.
1st Prize Package
Learn about Black History Month in Spanish with this fun educational pack from Open Wide the World. Students will meet 10 African Americans of historic significance in this packet, at an introductory level.
A three pack of bandages (one of each shade) from Tru-Colour Bandages, the company on a mission to bring bandage equality to the industry by providing bandages in your skin color. US & Canada only
Shekere – a beautiful and unique African gourd instrument –
From East West Discovery Press, Endeavor’s Long Journey by By John D. Olivas US Shipping only.
Black Girls Can: An Empowering Story of Yesterdays and Todays, from Rachel Garlinghouse of White Sugar Brown Sugar US Shipping only