Vis.Arts.Online

Art websites for Kids

Trying to find good online art material for kids is like being locked in the vault of a library without a catalogue.
When you do find it content is more often a reflection of financial backing than scholarly research and publication, so it pays to do a little of your own net surfing to find suitable sites before you let your kids log on.

Over the last couple of years there has been a veritable explosion of web sites profiling young artists. Many have been produced by Internet publishing companies, art organisations and educational firms while others are in-house school projects or family initiatives. Children's galleries on the Internet offer opportunities for visitors to submit their own work. Some useful sites to check out are:

" The International Child Art Foundation at http://icaf.org. This non-profit organisation in Washington DC is membership based, offering programs, festivals, exhibitions and forums for young people. It also publishes the magazine ChildArt. Their web site has pages for children and adults, links to other sites and a virtual gallery for young artists.

" The Global Children's Art Gallery is an initiative of the Natural Child Project Society. It has over 500 images of computer generated, as well as more conventional art works, from children across the globe. http://www.naturalchild.com/gallery/home.html.

" @rt room is another site for the young web surfer. Developed by Dr Craig Roland, Associate Professor of Art Education at the University of Florida, this virtual art room incorporates a virtual gallery, library, artifacts, art sparkers, and artrageous thinking. At http://www.arts.ufl.edu/art/rt_room/index.html, the best feature of this site is its extensive archive of art links for kids.

" Australian virtual galleries for children include the Worldwide Kids' Art Gallery and Hands On Art's Children's Gallery. The first at URL: http://www.theartgallery.com.au/KidsArt.html, is a commercial site that has been online for two years. The children's gallery at http://www.handsonart.org.au hosts QUT's Children Have Rights exhibition and has provision for visitors to add their own images. Hands On Art's website also has lots of other interesting Internet stuff for kids including chatlines.

If you're looking for useful ideas, programs and art resources for children, museum education departments, art education organisations and professionals are the most reliable.
" http://www.artmuseums.com. The award-winning site Art Teacher on the Net has been online for five years and is updated weekly : anything from lesson plans, to online classes and art history.

" http://www.kinderart.com.
" The Canadian website KinderArt boasts the largest collection of free online art lessons in a range of media and topics, together with an art library, online kids' art gallery, art shop and ideas exchange forum.

" Arteducation.co.uk is a subscription-based service for UK art teachers sponsored by the National Society for Education in Art and Design. Although its lessons are tailored to Britain's arts curriculum it does offer links to other websites, a noticeboard, articles and books on art education, and also hosts a number of school art galleries.

Art galleries and children's museums have some wonderful offerings for kids, whether they be exhibitions, projects, educational material or art works. These can be accessed through the websites of relevant museum associations or by searching under the museum's title. Association of Youth Museums at Http://www.cdm.org/youth.html#7 lists museum members but unfortunately is not hyperlinked yet.

Apart from notable international museums such as the Louvre, Smithsonian and Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the best museum education sites is the Getty's Art Education Website, ArtsEdNet. It has the lot - lesson plans, image galleries and exhibitions, chatlines, weblinks, publications and search engines. http://www.artsednet.getty.edu.

In Australia check out the web address of your local Regional or State gallery. Notable sites include:

" The National Gallery of Australia's children's exhibitions at http://nga.gov.au/exhibitions/childhd.htm.
" Lottie's Place at Global Arts Link http://www.gal.org.au and the Indigenous Children's Gallery at Museum Victoria [ed-online].

Also try locating the art education web pages of your State education department. These often profile current projects, exhibitions, teacher's material, and international exhibiting opportunities for young artists. It may take some time sifting through departmental directories but is well worth it in the end.

Australian schools have only recently gone online so school art content on the net is relatively low. One gem to check out though is Westfield Park Primary School: http://members.iinet.net.au/~westps/artgallery. This small regional school in WA has a virtual gallery of past and present student art, including aboriginal art and artefacts.

Australian visual arts organisations and galleries are just beginning to grasp the interactive, edu-tainment potential of the Net for young users. One thing is certain though, browsing for Australian kids content would be infinitely easier if there were a well-developed art portal to other Australian kid's sites.