Can anyone make art?

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Area: Art, Film
Grade Level: High School & Beyond, Middle School, Primary/Elementary School
Topics: abstract art, Aesthetics, art, Beauty, children, metaphysics, nature of the artist, Subjectivity/Objectivity, Truth/Perception
Estimated Time Necessary: 1-2 weeks

Lesson Plan

Critical viewing
students will watch the movie and look for the questions and ideas it invites us to ask and think about.
Reflective dialogue
Students will engage in a reflective discussion on the discussion questions provided but even more importantly, the ones they craft themselves.

Four year old Marla OlmsteadIn 2007 an independent film came out entitled “My Kid could paint that.”  It followed the art career of a four year old, Marla Olmstead,  living in Binghamton, NY who took the art world by storm.  Many of her canvases sold for 5 figures and presented beautiful and engaging abstract images. The film began as a story of Marla, the pint-size Picasso, but developed into something quite serious.  Who defines what is art?  Can I child really be a “genuine” artist?  Can anyone paint like Picasso?  Is modern art a big hoax foisted on an unsuspecting public?

Or is abstract art a deep and genuine engagement with aesthetic ideas which pushes us to examine what art means?

Have your students watch the movie and encourage them to reflect and discuss their reactions.


Discussion Questions

  • Who defines what is art?
  • Can I child really be a "genuine" artist?
  • Can anyone paint like Picasso?
  • Is modern art a big hoax foisted on an unsuspecting public?


This lesson plan was contributed by: Wendy C Turgeon, St. Joseph's College-NY.