South Bend Museum of Art Education Blog

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Archive for “green” art

Rain Candy

Our Sculpture Corridor is radiant with the color and beauty of the Michiana Rain Barrels.

There are already a fair number of reasons to hope for rain in the forecast: You’ve planted a new garden that needs a jumpstart; there’s a Nora Ephron movie marathon on tv; or, you’re the coach of a 5-and-under tee ball team that has a scheduled practice.  But now there are fifteen even better and more beautiful reasons to pray for precipitation…the arrival and auction of this year’s Michiana Rain Barrels.

As partners with the Indiana University-South Bend Center for a Sustainable Future, SBMA is proud to display the rain barrels painted by local artists and artist groups.  They can be seen in our sculpture corridor from now until May 4, when they’ll be auctioned to those smart and savvy citizens who know that these rain barrels are garden-, budget- and earth-friendly ways to support art right here in our own backyard.



Art and Green Living Made Fun

Creating art with young children sometimes ends so quickly, we wonder if it’s worth all the effort. We set up the project, build the enthusiasm, navigate through the chaos, and then, suddenly, it’s all over. The child is happy, but we are left confused and wondering, “Was it worth it?”

Of course it is. But don’t allow yourself to forget that creating art with your child is about her, not you. Outcomes aren’t nearly as important as what the child gains from the experience—and that can happen in an instant. Art is process. Art happens when we provide the environment for our child to wonder, to explore, and when we give them the time to problem solve.

Green living is a popular topic right now, and as I was thinking about that and the arts and trying to avoid the obvious recycling projects, the infamous “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” TV commercials popped in my mind.

For a green living project that can provide several days of excitement for you and your child, CLICK HERE

What’s Fun, Creative and Green All Over?

The kids still may rush through the applying of color or building part of this project, but after the project is done and the paint put away, you’ll still have many fun days of anticipation together. Happy Creating!

What you need:
• Wheat berry seeds
• Spoon for dirt or digging
• Container: Potato, Garden Pot, or Old shoe
• Paint or markers to decorate container
• Googly eyes or cloves for eyes
• Tooth picks for potato legs

• Purchase seeds from health food store and soak overnight.
• Add more water to seeds and cover with newspaper, visit for more growing tricks.
• Select container: Potato, Garden Pot or Old Shoe.
• For potato, use spoon to dig out meat of potato to make room for grass to grow and decorate a face and legs using cloves, toothpicks and /or pipe cleaners.
• For garden pot, decorate with a fun face or colors that will help emphasize the green grass as it grows.
• For old shoe, clean and prepare for decoration. Place small plastic container in the heel for soil.
• Once seeds have sprouted, and container is decorated, add soil and sprouted seeds.
• Watch your homemade Chia pet grow within days!


Be sure to soak and prep your seeds for the best growing. Also talk about color and color mixing if you chose the garden pot. Have fun with this project and enjoy the many phases as you watch your art grow. For more activities and art resources visit and become a subscriber to our Learn More Blog.

SBMA’s Friday Forecast: Artistic with a Chance for Rain Barrels

April showers have brought us May…barrels!  Rain barrels, that is, made possible through the Indiana University at South Bend’s Center for a Sustainable Future and hand painted by a dozen different local artists and art groups.  These unique works of green art are not only perfectly practical, economical, and good for the environment, they’re just plain fun to look at.  They’re even better to own.

That’s why we welcome all visitors to our First Friday event, tonight – May 6 – our Rain Barrel Auction at 7 p.m.  Guests are invited to bid on these one-of-a-kind containers and to enter a drawing for a free, unpainted rain barrel.  The evening will also feature a brief lesson on how collecting rain water benefits the budget and beautifies the garden.

For more information about the IUSB Center for a Sustainable Future, go to <;

Check out Amy Keenan Amago’s New Art Lesson!

Be sure to check out Amy’s new lesson for art teachers titled Ex-Techy, Insecty, ReCreatures. It’s a great way to integrate science and art and it makes wonderful use of old machine parts, deconstructed electronics, and other found objects.

Check it out here!

Found Object Art

Creative Reuse Art Making

by Amy Keenan Amago

The United States produces more trash than any other country in the world. The average citizen produces 4.4 pounds of solid waste each day, which adds up to almost a ton of trash per person, per year. While these statistics are staggering, there has been a growing movement to stop this disturbing trend by finding new uses for the plentiful trash our country produces. Creative reuse or “upcycling”– the act of taking objects that would otherwise be discarded or recycled and transforming them into artful, decorative or utilitarian items – has gained popularity among artists and educators in recent years as budgets tighten and concerns for the environment mount. As an artist and art teacher, I have found great value in working with recycled or rescued items both in the classroom and in my studio. Working with non-traditional art materials poses unique creative challenges and thrills, as it stimulates my intellect in a way no other art medium can. I find the rationale compelling for working with theses Learn More…

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