Independence Day

Independence day is a time of celebration in the United States of America. Family and friends gather together and enjoy some free time. This week I’d like to share with you some of my favorite projects that pay homage to the holiday. We begin with a work of art honoring the first president of the United States, George Washington. Then we will take a close look at Captain America. Next we are going to visit a few of America’s best loved National Monuments including the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. This week’s activities are sure to spark your creativity while bringing your family closer together.

What could be more impressive than becoming the first president of The United States of America? That’s just what George Washington did in 1789. You can impress your family and friends by making a mixed media portrait of President George Washington. To begin, you will need some blue and flesh colored construction paper, a paper doily, four to six cotton balls, a few silver stars, colored pencils, scissors, and glue. This is a stand alone piece and it does not need to be glued on to another piece of paper but you can glue it to another piece of paper if you want to. The first thing you will need to do is cut a piece of blue construction paper into the shape of a trapezoid to be the top of George Wahsington’s coat. Next you will cut and glue the other shapes, layering each one as you go from the bottom to the top including the paper doily for his ruffled collar, the circle shape for his head and lastly his paper hat. You can use silver stars to adorn George Washington's hat and colored pencils to draw his face. Then add the finishing touch by gluing a few cotton balls to represent George Washingtong’s wig. Did you know that in colonial times wigs were worn by men to distinguish class and social status?

Captain America might not be a real person but this comic hero symbolically represents the determination of the American people to fight against hate. Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby to embody American ideals of equality, opportunity, freedom and using power for the good of others. At Gogh Arts Superheroes Summer Camp, students had a lot of fun learning about Captain America while creating a few fun pieces of art. First we watercolor painted this comic book hero and then we made our own Captain America shields from cardboard. To make your own Captain America shield you will need a large sheet of cardboard which you can cut from a cardboard box. It might be challenging to draw a perfect circle so consider using a circular object as a tracer, like a plate or the lid of a pan. Cutting cardboard with scissors can also be tricky depending on the thickness of your cardboard. You may wish to consider using a box cutter, but be sure that you have a cutting board beneath as you cut out your shield. You can then make a handle for the back of your shield using duct tape. Lastly, on the front of your shield, with acrylic paint, you will make three concentric circles alternating between red and white, around a blue center. Once the blue center has dried you can paint a white star in the middle. Did you know that in the comic, Captain America’s shield is indestructible?

Another symbol of American freedom is Lady Liberty. One version of history states that the Statue Of Liberty was given to the United States of America by France as a way of commemorating the alliance these two countries shared during the American Revolution. The Statue Of Liberty stands on Liberty Island in New York Harbor welcoming all who pass through Ellis Island. The actual Statue Of Liberty is made of copper, but you can make your own work of art featuring the Statue Of Liberty using paper. At Gogh Arts, students either drew their own version or colored a print out of Lady Liberty and then cut and glued her onto a painted background. Students at Gogh Arts were learning about secondary colors so they blended red and blue to create purple, as a way of making sunsets for their statues. Another activity you can try at home is to create your own Statue Of Liberty torch. You can use colored construction paper or you can use papers with different prints and textures to make your torch a mixed media work of art. At Gogh Arts we used scrapbook papers for the handle and tissue papers for the flames to add some fun while keeping the color scheme true to life. Did you know that the mint green color of the Statue Of Liberty is a result of the oxidation that happens to copper?

The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence. It hangs in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The bell was designed to commemorate the fifty year anniversary of Pennsylvania’s original constitution. It gained historical significance when it was rung in 1776, summoning the citizens of Philadelphia to gather and hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Today the bell no longer rings. This is due to the epochal zig zag crack and while history is unclear on what caused the crack, it is documented that the Liberty Bell gave its final ring on George Washington’s birthday in 1846. You can create your own Liberty Bell work of art to celebrate Independence Day with just a few simple materials. To make the bell you can cut the shape from reflective paper, such as a shiny gift bag or even tin foil. At Gogh Arts we used a craft stick for the yoke and a plastic gem for the clapper. Students used black construction paper to replicate the historic crack that stretches from the waist to the lip of the Liberty Bell. Did you know that there is writing on the Liberty Bell which states “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof”?