Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

NGAkids Art Zone

NGAkids Art Zone

Spring 2015 Mobile Apps
Ages: 6 - 11 yrs.
Platform: iPad

The NGAkids Art Zone app from the National Gallery of Art introduces children not only to the experience of great artwork, but also to the creative process of producing great artworks. Through the manipulation of paintings spanning hundreds of years and numerous styles of art, children are free to explore the elements that go into a painting. In the classical and impressionist designs, they are free to explore and modify the objects of the paintings, from the sky and the background, through the middle and the foreground, adjusting for perspective and adding and subtracting characters and scenery at will. Some of the characters in the paintings can be animated for an extra laugh. In the strongest part of the app, that of the more modern art styles, the artist can explore color and layering paints, producing works that are similar in style to the famous work but ultimately entirely original. All artworks that are produced can be saved to a gallery and shared with friends.

The app also provides background material on all the paintings featured within the NGAkids Art Zone. Players can create a personal avatar (again, using elements of great artwork or even imported images to design an individual that expresses him- or herself) and work freeform in a general painting environment. As we explored the NGAkids Art Zone, we were especially impressed by how much range and depth there was; what seemed initially like a gimmick (modifying famous paintings with other objects and making them dance) quickly gave way to real art exploration and many hours of creative expression.

Emily Crawford   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Look for this product at:
National Gallery of Art

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