ELC Inquiry Questions

Q: Does color change the way we interpret art?


Kindergarten children engaged in collaborative storytelling inspired by two different versions of Starry Night to answer that question.

One group of children was shown Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh with no color, only in black and white. When looking at the picture, the children said they felt "scary," "sad," and "worried." Together, they wrote a scary story. When asked what part of the art made them want to write a scary story, many of the children said that the black and white colors were scary.


"Once upon a time there was a boy who met a ghost. Then a girl who was a princes was there. They were friends. The ghost tried to eat the princess. They were fighting. The boy and the princess defeat the ghost. The end."



The next group of children were shown the full color version of Starry Night. As soon as they saw the picture, the children gasped and were amazed at how beautiful they thought it was. They said that looking at this picture made them feel "happy," "fun," "excited," and "silly." Together, they wrote a silly and happy story. 


"It was a windy night, and a boy lived in the castle. The next morning, the boy is working. He leaves the castle and goes to the town. He is putting strings on people's roofs because that day is silly day. There were many presents and everyone was happy. The end."


When the two groups of children came together to read each other’s stories, they saw how much color can impact the way someone feels when looking at art. As they began to create more of their own art, the children thought more about the colors they may or may not use.


A teacher showing "Starry Night" to students