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The Creative Corner: "There's No Earth without Art!"

Creative art supplies

Home Learning  |  The Creative Corner

Episode 1 – In the first episode of The Creative Corner produced by Art for the Journey, explore connections between the arts and the Earth. Make art at home using natural and recycled materials, travel the world to see some of the planet’s oldest paintings (in caves!), and check out an Earth-friendly music video featuring primary school students in Mamelodi Township, South Africa.

The Creative Corner is a weekly TV show for elementary through high school students and adults. Each episode explores new topics through the lens of the visual and performing arts, with fun at-home activities that align with Virginia's Standards of Learning, and special interviews with guests from around the globe. Developed for 4th grade through adults and correlated to the Virginia Standards of Learning.

The Creative Corner is an Art for the Journey production, presented by VPM and brought to you by Earthsong.

Virginia SOL Connections (Grades 4-6)

  • Arts (Visual): 4/5/6.3, 4.14, 5.13, 5.17, 6.17
  • Arts (Music): 4/5/6.7, 4/5/6.9, MCB.9 
  • Arts (Dance): DM.15
  • English: 4/5/6.3, 4/5/6.4
  • Science:  4.4, 4.9, 5.4
  • History:  WG.1, WHI.1, WHI.2

Art Project Guide: Painting with Coffee

Supplies Needed:

  • White or light-colored paper
  • A pencil
  • A paintbrush or two
  • Water for mixing
  • Coffee (brewed, ground, or instant)
  • 1 spoon
  • 3 cups or small bowls
  • A paper towel for blotting (and for messes)

Step-by-Step Instructions:

1. If you’re using coffee grounds or instant coffee, put a large spoonful of coffee in each of your 3 cups.

2. Add a small amount of water (just enough to barely cover the coffee) to the first cup. Add a slightly larger amount of water to the second cup, and a bit more water than that to the third cup. (None of them need a LOT of water; you just want them to have different amounts!)

3. Stir the coffee and water together until there are no solid pieces of coffee left. The coffee should completely dissolve and become part of the liquid.

4. Make a test swatch of your new coffee “paint” by painting a short stripe on a piece of paper using each of your three mixtures. Notice how the paint from each cup appears as a different shade of brown! (Shades are lighter and darker versions of a color.)

5. If you want, experiment with making very light shades by dipping your brush gently in water after dipping in in the paint.

6. Once you’ve created a few different shades, you’re ready to paint! Start your painting with your lighter shades, and then add in your darker ones. (You can always add more paint to make it darker, but it’s hard to erase coffee and make it lighter!)

7. When you’re done, allow your artwork to dry before you move it or hang it up, so that it doesn’t drip.


  • The more water you add to your paint or to your brush, the lighter your paint will become.
  • Coffee paint drips easily, and can stain clothes, so dress for mess and do this project in an area that’s easy to clean up.
  • If the paint is puddling or dripping, use a paper towel to gently pat it. This also works to create cool textures in your painting!


Art Project Guide: Make Your Own Cave Art

Supplies Needed:

  • A paper bag (brown, grey, or another neutral color); any size will work
  • Scissors
  • Something to draw or paint with (your choice!)

Step-by-Step Instructions:

1. Cut out one large side of your paper bag to make a flat rectangle, and remove handles if your bag has them.

2. Crumple and squish your rectangle into a tight ball, and then unroll and smooth it out. The texture of the folds and wrinkles is similar to the texture of a cave wall!

3. Use your favorite art supplies to make a series of pictures on your “paper cave.” Most historic cave art features images of wild animals, people, and hand prints, so you can include some of those ideas, or make up your own!

Tip:  Because most cave art is made with natural materials like rocks, minerals, and charcoal, its color palette includes mostly warm colors like red, orange, and yellow, and neutral colors like white, black, brown, and tan. Challenge yourself to use only these colors and see what you can create!

Funding for this production was provided in part by the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation.

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