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In Case You Missed It: Frank Stella Inspired Children’s Art Project

Two and a half years ago I posted this lesson about using Frank Stella’s artwork as inspiration for children’s drawings.  I love Frank Stella’s work.  After visiting an art museum and seeing an exhibit of the progression of his style, I was hooked.  It is so fascinating and there is a lot to look at.  The sheer size of these prints are stunning.

In case you haven’t figure out by now, my favorite style of art is BUSY, abstract, super colorful and layered with lots to look at.

He also made sculptures.  His artwork is a good way to show how an artist works among different mediums, but shows his or her unique style through out their works.

I was reminded of this lesson, because I received this lovely email this week.  I am sharing it with permission.

“Just wanted to say thank you for the Frank Stella art lesson inspiration!  It’s been a bit of a turning point in my art class.   Last year I had a really tough group of fourth grade boys and after many failed attempts at getting them interested and fully engaged this lesson did it.


After showing them Frank Stella’s art, they were given a protractor and challenged to create a design using only the protractor and a pencil.  I was expecting graphic pieces like Stella’s work.  What they created instead was creativity and problem solving at it’s best:  sumo wrestler (lots of curves), basketball player, boy taking a bite out of an apple, Eiffle Tower…   Wish I would have taken pictures!   The boys had all thought of something different and it was exciting to see how proud they were of their own work and how impressed they were of their classmate’s ideas.   They didn’t just trace the protractor but used it as a tool to create.  I had a few boys who didn’t think they could do this but then became excited to try when they saw other’s work.


I know the parent’s weren’t blown away by this project but it was truly the best lesson in creativity, problem solving and original art.   It has pushed me to think of other projects that focus on creativity and problem solving instead of directed art lessons.

Thank you!
Tina Berkley”


I love when I get emails from readers telling me how they’ve used something I’ve shared in their classroom.  I love when it is successful and pulls the creativity out of the students!  Even something written years ago can be found online and used by another art teacher somewhere in the world.  THAT’S why I blog!  It’s also a good reminder that at the core of our art lessons should be creativity, problem solving and students making connections to their life.
So if you haven’t seen the Frank Stella art lesson, click on the image below to go to the blog post.
You may also be interested in:

Frank Stella: Prints: A Catalogue RaisonnĂ© (Amazon affiliate link)

Frank Stella (Contemporary artists series)  (Amazon affiliate link)

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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.

2 Responses to In Case You Missed It: Frank Stella Inspired Children’s Art Project

  1. jaynesweet says:

    I did a similar project with High School. I started with zentangles to get them to create abstract shapes using color and pattern. They then had free choice how to create their art – sculpture or painting. Students could use wire, cardboard, plaster for sculpture and the painting could be a relief, shaped canvas, flat canvas. It worked out well.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!