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Family Activities: Three Graces (Quick Tip)

Family Activities: Three Graces

By Courtney Klemens, Manager of Family Programs, and
Emily Perreault, PreK Programs Educator 



Family fashion activity inspired by Three Graces

Make it fashion

Using objects you can find around the house, create an outfit that makes you feel your most powerful. Think about new ways you can use everyday objects to transform them into fashion with flair! For a few ideas: 

    • Transform a dish towel into an elegant wrap by looping around your shoulders.
    • Gather and drape a blanket into a flowing cape. Use safety pins or rubber bands to hold it in place. 
    • Fold, crumple, or staple a piece of paper into an elaborate hat. Use a large piece that you can shape around your head so it fits snugly. 
    • Glue small objects like fake flowers, miniature toys, or feathers onto a piece of ribbon to create a dapper bowtie or fascinator. 

Once you have crafted your new, stylish look, stage a fashion show! Use a hallway or a sidewalk to strut your stuff for family or friends to watch in person or virtually. Make sure to pause at the end of your runway to show off your best pose!


Altered portrait collage in progress and finished

Altered portrait

Many of Mickalene Thomas’s paintings incorporate elements of collage. To create a unique portrait inspired by her techniques, start with a picture that you find of yourself, your family, or in a magazine. Cut the image into smaller pieces and glue them onto a background paper. Then, look for images in magazines, old books, or pieces of mail that have patterns or colors that interest you. Cut these up and add to your portrait for embellishment. For a final step, you can take something to draw with and add lines to your collage – these can emphasize the outlines or contours, add marks for more patterns, or bring to life something fantastical!


Found Object Collage

Found object collage

You can appreciate the dazzling textures of the materials used to make Three Graces, including the smooth enamel paint and the sparkling rhinestones. Make a textural collage of your own using objects you can find around the house. Start with a sturdy base (cardboard or canvas will do) and add pieces of patterned or colored paper for a background. Think about a palette that will make your objects stand out! Then, use glue to adhere materials like buttons, beads, pebbles, or more. Consider how the size and shape of your objects will affect the choices you make. Will you group similar objects? Similar colors?  


Just as Mickalene Thomas reinterprets the story of the Three Graces from Greek mythology with a Black Girl Magic twist, enjoy a reimagining of the fairy tale “Rapunzel” from the Girl Tales podcast. Playwright Jahna Ferron-Smith presents an audio play of the classic fairytale featuring a spirited, curious Rapunzel whose curly, coarse hair just might save the day! 



Want to challenge yourself to look really closely together at Mickalene Thomas’s art? Build this puzzle together! The artist created her painting Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe: Les trois femmes noires (2010) as a 240-piece puzzle, so you can spend time discovering every detail in her lush composition.


Children’s book recommendations related to Mickalene Thomas’s Three Graces:

How do you Dance? by Thyra Heder 

The women in Mickalene Thomas’s Three Graces look ready to dance the night away under a disco ball! How Do You Dance? explores ways to move your body: Can you bop, bounce, wiggle, or stomp? Whether you like to dance with others or alone in your room, this book shows us how fun and easy it is to express yourself through dance.   

Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton  

In this humorous riff on a nursery rhyme favorite, Mary is a fashion-forward character who likes to express herself through her clothing choices. This book will inspire you to choose your own creative ensemble! What textures, patterns, and fabrics will you pull together? Look to Mickalene Thomas’s Three Graces for stunning examples of fashion from head to toe. Perhaps you can show off your outfit in an in-home runway show! 

Is for Breakdancing: An ABC Book of Ways to Shake What Your Momma Gave You by Dr. Tamara Pizzoli   

This book shows us styles of dance from around the world. Which ones to you want to try? Put your favorite music on and show off your dance moves to someone you love!  

Spiky, Slimy, Smooth: What Is Texture? by Jane Brocket 

Can you imagine what Mickalene Thomas’s Three Graces would feel like if you could touch it? The artist used materials like rhinestones to embellish her work, which makes it tempting to touch! This book explores the concept of texture and illustrates textures you might find in your daily life.