An Interactive Starry Night

You may have already seen this awesome interactive version of The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, but it’s beautiful and worth a re-run. This was created by Petros Vrellis, who credits the software openFrameworks for allowing this to be possible. According to their website openFrameworks is an open source C++ tookit for creative coding. Be sure to have your sound on and view full screen.

I really don’t understand the coding behind such a creation, but WOW, what a blend of art and technology! It got me thinking about Discovery Education resources related to Van Gogh, and then art history in general. So I began to search and I discovered a treasure trove of art appreciation resources to share with students.

There are 29 results using the search term Van Gogh that include video, images, and encyclopedia articles. There is also a series called One Minute in a  Museum for grades 3-5 with 58 different pieces of art analyzed by three animated characters- Rafael, Mona, and Nabi. Their witty banter gives students background on the art as well as a child’s perspective.

The series Discovering the Arts consists of eight full videos for grades 6 – 12 on arts topics such as Impressionism and Beyond, Careers in Film, Masters of Color (Matisse and Picasso), Careers in Song and Dance, and more. There is also the Discovering Fine Arts series for 9-12, the Art Start series for grades 3-5 where students discover techniques for working with a variety of artistic media, and the Painting Pictures series of videos for K-2  which encourage students’ creativity and imagination with unique profiles of famous paintings by including children’s insights on  well-known works of art.

The results of a Guggenheim study released in 2010 showed the students in the Learning through Arts program scored higher in flexibility (the ability to revise or rethink one’s plans when faced with challenges), connection of ends and aims (the ability to reflect on whether one’s final work of art met the intended goals), and resource recognition (the ability to identify additional materials that could be applied to the completion of the project). According to Kim Kanatani of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, “By asking students to think like artists, we are imparting 21st-century skills in encouraging them to approach problems with creativity and analytic thought rather than just recitation of facts.”

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has developed a 21st Century Skills Map for the Arts. Check it out here. “Starry Nights” may lead to starry tomorrows for our 21st century learners.

Other sites to check out:
Smithsonian’s Everything Art, Famous Paintings – Art Appreciation Lessons for Kids, Artcyclopedia


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  1. Deb Thonus said:

    Super post! I am forwarding it to an art teacher friend of mine. Let’s chat soon and catch up on things.

  2. Tracie Belt said:

    This was a very informative post. Thanks for sharing. I will be giving it to all the art teachers at my school.

  3. Pingback: SOME ONLINE ART EDUCATION RESOURCES « Triple A Learning IB Blogs

  4. RJ Stangherlin said:

    This post is fantastic, a great resource for art teachers. Thank you so much for your insights, research, and dedication to creating outstanding posts. Bravo!

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