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What Do Artists Do? Signs about ARTISTS and Artistic Behaviors

I have something to share with you that I’ve been working on for a long time.  Well, a couple of months.  It takes forever for me to accomplish anything lately (I have a clingy toddler who doesn’t like to sleep) so I work in short spurts whenever I get a chance.

What do artists do cover

Many of you probably know of Ian and Melissa from Apex High School.  They have developed a list of Artistic Behaviors for the high school level.  I have been following along and seeing how they teach their students.  Seeing their list gave me the idea to create posters that shows kids what artists do and what exactly is an artist.  I decided to simplify the behaviors for elementary school students and start from the basics.  Start from the ground and work up.  I mean, many of my students come to kindergarten and they haven’t done weaving before or they don’t know that artists make public art.   Or they have been exposed to different forms of art, but have not recognized them as such.

THERE ARE 82 PRINTABLE SIGNS in this package.  After purchasing, you can download them and print them.  This is a colorful, thought-provoking set of signs about what artists do, what artists make, how they impact the world and what behaviors they have.

What Do Artists Do PostersThe grade level I teach is K-6, so these signs are geared for students in this age range. Middle schoolers can learn from them as well. They are clear and easy enough for most young students to understand. Many teachers are focusing on how artists work, why artists do what they do and the behaviors of artists.  These posters go along perfectly with a contemporary curriculum.

What Do Artists DoFilled with colorful and important works of art from history and contemporary artists, these signs are a great intro to art and to raise the following questions: What is art? What do artists do? Who is an artist?  Why do people make art?  Where do they get their ideas?

THERE ARE 82 SIGNS!  I know it’s a lot!  I started with a list of about 30-40 and then as I was researching artists, I kept thinking of more and more statements about artists.  You can choose to hang the signs that you think your students will resonate with and understand. Swap them out throughout the year to keep your students thinking and wondering.

THERE ARE 82 SIGNS! At $8.00, that is only about 10 cents per sign. I try to keep my prices reasonable and affordable for art teachers.

The signs are arranged in one big PDF file, so you could also project them through your computer as a slide show.

Some of the signs are simply about the types of art that artists make. A few examples are:

  • Artists paint.
  • Artists illustrate.
  • Artists make masks.
  • Artists create temporary art…. and much more!

What do artists do? SignsSome of the signs talk about the functional aspects of art. A few examples are:

  • Artists make art to be worn.
  • Artists make gifts.
  • Artists commemorate events and people… and more!

Artists commemorate signs

Other signs include statements about the artistic process and artistic behaviors. Some examples are:

  • Artists create original artwork.
  • Artists research and brainstorm ideas.
  • Artists reflect.
  • Artists develop art making skills… and more!

What do artists do?Some have to do with elements and qualities of artworks:

  • Artists use color to express mood.
  • Artists play with size and scale.
  • Artists use natural materials to make art.. etc.

What do artists do? signsSome of the signs include ways artists get ideas and how they are inspired.. some examples include:

  • Artists raise questions.
  • Artists study nature and animals.
  • Artists are inspired by the community and neighborhoods.
  • Artists are inspired by the human body.
  • Artists make art about their personal lives.
  • Artists work in a series.

What do artist do signsOf course, they are not placed in rigid categories.  While I believe art is a BASIC  part of a child’s education, art is also complex and nuanced.

After purchasing, if you have any ideas of artist statements to turn into another sign, please let me know. I would be happy to add more!

If you are interested in purchasing, visit my TPT shop!  Thanks for supporting my blog.


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About Marcia Beckett

Marcia is an elementary art teacher and loves painting, drawing, sculpture, art journaling and clay. Her blog, Art is Basic, features many exciting art projects for kids.
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