I saw this yesterday on OhDeeDoh, a fun blog about design for children. The image, of a 3-year-old girl who has an expensive art collection in her playroom, isÂ fromÂ a 2006Â New York Times article "The Playroom of Modern Art" by Ginny Chien. Why would parents spend $20,ooo on an art collection for a 2 or 3 year old, you ask? Here's a quote from the article:
"...purchasing fine art for toddlers is the latest way for Hollywood parents to nurture little A-list intellects. These youngsters won't just be smart -- they'll be creative, unorthodox thinkers, and they'll have good taste, too."
Of course I want Maia to grow up to be smart, creative, an unorthodox thinker, and to have good taste. Who doesn't? But I don't have an extra $20,000 for the art collection that will supposedly foster those traits. And if I did, I'd probably spend it on a trip around the world, or some other eye-opening experience (as much for me and my husband as for her), rather than the art collection. I also think that encouraging a child to make art herself is a better way to encourage creativity and unorthodox thinking than looking at art someone else made, especially in the early years. Â
Since I don't have thousands of dollars to buy modern art for my toddler's bedroom/playroom, and since many of you probably don't either, here are a few inexpensive alternatives to decorating a child's room with art:
Your Child's Art - Give your child's art the star treatment by matting and framing it and hanging it in her room (and around the house). And if it's an abstract toddler drawing or painting, then it looks super modern!
Illustrations from Favorite Picture Books - Mat and frame your favorite illustrations from children's picture books. There are some amazingÂ artists out there making beautiful illustrations for children's books. Hang one, or a series,Â on the wall. Whether you buy a new book for this purpose or pick up a copy at a library book sale or yard sale, it's still a lot cheaper than most art.
A Poster or Print - So it's not original, but it's inexpensive. Visit Art.com or Allposters.com and search by artist, subject, or even color. Or, when visiting an art museum, buy prints or even just postcards of your favorite art, then mat and frame it. (I know I'm repeating myself about the matting and framing, but a mat and a frame makes everything look great! And besides, I used to be a preparator at an art museum and matted and framed stuff for a living.)
Ephemeral Art - Put up a chalkboardÂ to encourage art that changes day to day.
Any other ideas? Post a comment... I'd love to hear from you.