KidTunes: Picasso, That’s Who! And So Can You! Encourages Young Artists
In the award-winning children’s book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, a young girl is resigned to her lack of artistic talent—particularly the ability to draw—until the day a teacher says, “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.” Like that wise teacher, Hope Harris encourages kids to try art with a collection of songs that celebrate art, individuality, and creativity, Picasso, That’s Who! And So Can You!, an album especially for those convinced they are not artists (and their teachers).
In addition to stressing that everyone can be creative by drawing inspiration from one’s environment, Harris also delivers bits of biography of the artists featured in her songs (Pablo Picasso, David Hockney, Grandma Moses, Alexander Calder, Georgia O’Keeffe, Romare Bearden, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet) and ends with a challenge to listeners, “Paint a Picture, Too.” In “Swinging Little Duck,” a song about Calder, Harris details how to make a mobile with instructions so simple, they urge the listener to try.
With attention to a variety of artists, styles, and media, Picasso, That’s Who! And So Can You!, is a tribute to individual expression and a reminder that if the artist likes what he produces it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks—examples of artists who at first received lukewarm (or worse) receptions only to gain recognition and success as they remained true to their own vision amplify this message.
Picasso, That’s Who! And So Can You!, is for both the artistically-inclined child and the kid who thinks drawing a straight line with a ruler is too much of a challenge (after all, straight lines are way overrated); it would also be a great gift for art educators. With compelling lyrics and her pleasant, inviting voice, Harris induces us to pick up a brush and create. (To sample Picasso, That’s Who! And So Can You! and more Hope Harris music, click here.)