Saturday, September 5, 2015

Do You Need An Art Assignment?

I love art assignments. This dates back to the "Every Day Matters" challenge (EDM) many years ago that was created by artist Karen Winters based on a book by Danny Gregory

I found that subscribing to "artist assignments" and "artist prompts" served to challenge me to stretch creatively and have some fun!

EDM Challenge # 124 - Draw something yellow
Cindi Moynahan-Foreman's art journal August 21, 2011

EDM Challenge #65: Draw your nose, a friend's or a strangers. Or a pets.
Cindi Moynahan-Foreman's My art journal July 24, 2011

I am going to make a list of "artist assignments" and "artist prompts" that I love (at the bottom of this page) but the real reason for creating this blog post was to get folks excited about "The Art Assignment" which I have just found and I am really excited about.

The Art Assignment

The Art Assignment  is an educational video series produced by PBS Digital Studios production hosted by curator Sarah Green. The show focuses on the creative process and the act of making. You get to hear both the wisdom and thoughts of the artist (micro) and the wisdom and thoughts of a curator (macro) A great way to learn about alternative approaches to art-making!

Curator Sarah Green

The Art Assignment takes you the viewer around the U.S. to meet emerging and established artists who then create art assignments for us that we can all complete.

Folks then post their art assignments on the social media platform of their choice using the hashtag #theartassignment (

Curator Sarah Green explains how the concept of "Art Assignment" developed (via Creative Mornings Indianapolis)

My Favourite Art Assignments (so far)

  • Can You Become Someone Else? - This art assignment travels to New Orleans to meet with Tameka Norris, who makes art in a variety of media and often uses her body in her work. She challenges YOU to become someone else
  • Lost Childhood Object -  Lenka Clayton, another Pittsburgh based artist whose work finds meaning in ordinary, everyday objects. For her assignment, she asks you to partner with someone and recreate a lost childhood object, using their memory of the object and the materials you have around you
  • HERETHERE - Jon Rubin is a Pittsburgh based artist whose practice often focuses on cultural exchange, pushing us to imagine other people and their lives more complexly. For his assignment, he asks you to do the same by bridging the gap between you and your neighbor.
  • Relative Strangers - Laurel Nakadate makes art by connecting with strangers, and she wants you to do this, too! She gives us the challenge of finding little known family members and making their photographic portrait
I haven't watched ALL of the video art assignments (yet) and I am curious about the many other assignments with names like:  
Curator Sarah Green has also produced a number of  non-assignment videos that are worth checking out. Videos like "Please Break the Law?" and "How to Critique", etc. The videos are worth checking out but a caution is needed - the day can go by quite quickly once you get lost watching them as I did! 

When the art assignment community responds, a video gets posted with some of the highlights. The video below highlights the responses to Intimate Indispensable Gif  commissioned from artist Toyin Odutola. A lot of folks had never made an animated gif before (nor had I, but I have now!) and some used (also

Toyin asked artists to:

  1. Think of something intimate that is indispensable to you. (It doesn't have to be a body part. It can be an object, place, memory, anything.) 
  2. Depict it in the form of a GIF. You don't have to make drawings-you can use photographs, make a sculpture, or whatever you like. 
  3. Upload it using #theartassignment 
  4. Fame and glory (your response might be in a future episode)
Here is what folks created:

Follow Art Assignment elsewhere!

Other Artist Assignments and Artist Prompts

My first image Gif

I created this, my very first animated gif, from pictures that I took of a tree outside my bedroom window in the fall of 2014! All inspired by #theartassignment

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