Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Review: Art Masters Enhance Religion

Art Masters Enhance Religion
Parent's Booklet and various prints (see description)

If you are looking for an easy to use art appreciation program that uses beautiful artwork, then you will want to check out the Art Masters Enhance Religion program.

Created by the Enhance Company, this is a unique art appreciation course that can be integrated with any religion program or stand by itself. In addition to their K-8 Grade School Curriculum, the Enhance Company also produces a Home School Series. There are four grade levels.

The Primary program (Gr. K-2) includes a parent’s booklet plus twelve 11” x 14” prints. The theme is Penance and Holy Eucharist.

The Intermediate level (Gr. 3-5) includes a parent’s booklet plus twelve 11” x 14” prints, eight 5” x 8” laminated prints, and rosary booklet. The theme is the Ten Commandments and the Sacraments.

The Junior High level (Gr. 6-8) includes a parent’s booklet plus ten 11” x 14” prints and ten 5” x 8” laminated prints. The theme is Confirmation.

The Junior High/Senior High level (Gr. 6-12) includes a parent’s booklet plus forty-six 5” x 8” laminated prints. The theme is the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Because the 11” x 14” prints are large, they are ideal for “classroom display.” If you have always wondered what to put on that easel gathering dust, now you know! The quality of the large prints is outstanding. They are frameable. Most of the prints are of famous artists such as Michelangelo’s Pieta. There are, however, some lesser known artists because of the message the authors want to convey. For example, Nuner-Segura’s The Breaking of the Bread is used for First Communion. Many, but not all, of the smaller laminated prints are black and white. The authors of this program are looking for another source for affordable, small color prints.

What makes this program so wonderful is the background information and discussion questions. In the parent’s booklet, every print includes an easy to use, concise, one page write up that includes the theme, e.g. The Flight into Egypt; information about the artist, Giotto, when he lived, biographical information and other pertinent facts, such as the style of the painting or the school of art; the title of the painting and description of the painting; questions related to the aesthetics, e.g. Who does the Christ Child seem to be looking at in the picture?; Art Criticism Questions, e.g. How did the artist show movement?; and Projects. Read the Bible message (Matt. 2: 13-15). Discuss.

There is also an overview of the program in each parent booklet that explains general terms such as Art History, Aesthetics, Art Production, etc.

For many of us, we look at a painting or a work of art and we are at a loss as to what to discuss with our children. We know that we like a painting, yet we find it difficult to articulate our reasons why.

With the Art Masters Enhance Religion program, we are given the tools to begin a greater appreciation and deeper understanding of art through beautiful artwork, thoughtful discussion questions and related projects.

This religion program offers an integrated approach to religion and art, making life a little easier for mom. Although each grade level is geared to a particular grade level because of the typical religious topic at that age, this program could easily be adapted by any grade level. You don’t need to be an art critic to use this program. The material is all laid out for you. Except for the discussion questions, which work best with another adult, although the student could write out the answers, an older child could easily do this program independently.

Even if your school year becomes hectic and overwhelming with too many activities, too much curriculum, and too little time, you can still display these beautiful works of art and enjoy them as a whole family. Art doesn’t have to be something extra that never gets done. Art can also be appreciating fine works of art displayed in your own home.

Due to availability and price, the packages are subject to change. Please see the publisher for updated information.

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