SchoolArts Magazine

MAR 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Looking & Learning Creating Community Explore Create Beginner Show students Roxanne Swentzell's Family. Ask them to guess what the title of the piece might be and explain why. Ask, "What is happening in this sculpture? What do you think these people are doing?" After some discussion, reveal the title of the piece and explain that a family is an example of a small community. Explain that a community can be defined as a group of people brought together by relationships, interests, or the place they live. Ask, "Do you belong to any communities? Share an example of a community that you belong to." As students give examples of different communities, write them on a whiteboard or large poster board. Beginner Ask students to choose one of the communities listed on the board as the inspiration for their next artwork. Tell them to think carefully about how they might draw or paint their community and what they would like other people to know about it. Ask, "What's special about the community you've chosen? How can you show that in an image?" Ask students to create a drawing or mixed-media painting that shares something special about their community. Have them paint a solid, brightly colored background on one piece of paper, then draw or paint the people, places, or activities on another. Have students carefully cut out their images and glue them to the background. They should write or record a short statement about the community they chose and why it is special. Display the artworks and statements in a prominent place under a sign that reads "Our Communities." Intermediate Discuss the definition of community. Ask, "What kinds of groups can be considered a community? What communities do you belong to? How does belonging to a community affect or change your identity?" Next, show students Roxanne Swentzell's Family and Shepard Fairey's Rise Above. Ask them to describe how each artwork might honor a community. After some discussion, ask, "What are the similarities between a Native American community and the community of West Dallas? Do street artists and graffiti artists make up a community?" Intermediate Divide students into groups of three or four. Explain that each group will create a three-dimensional collaborative artwork that represents a fictional community of their invention. Remind them that a community can be based on a common interest, background, or place. Students should begin by brainstorming ideas for their community: Where is it located? What is it called? What are the characteristics of the members of this community? Encourage them to be as creative as possible. Once students have formulated the basic ideas about their community, they can begin creating their sculpture. Each project might include architecture, artifacts, tools, clothing, or sculptures of the community members themselves. When the projects are completed, invite other classes, parents, and the community for a Fantasy Community Festival. Students can present their work and explain how their artwork represents the community they've imagined. Advanced Ask students to analyze both Family and Rise Above. Ask them to identify how each work represents the theme of community. Explain that, if a family and cultural group represents a traditional idea of community, then graffiti artists represent a nontraditional or contemporary community. "What are some other examples of nontraditional communities? How about groups that most people might not recognize as communities? What are some examples of communities that have been intentionally overlooked or misrepresented due to prejudice and cultural bias?" After the discussion, ask students to consider ways that an artwork might honor or spotlight an uncommon or overlooked community. Advanced Have each student choose a nontraditional or overlooked community as the inspiration for their next artwork. Encourage them to make diverse choices that represent a wide range of communities and people. They should spend time researching the community, its history, and culture, before brainstorming ideas for their project. Ask them to create an artwork in their media of choice that represents their chosen community. Ask, "What has this community contributed to our shared culture? What important or significant work has this community accomplished? What would the world be like without this community?" For example, a student might create portraits of prominent musicians or artists from their community, or posters documenting their community's social and political accomplishments. Display the finished artworks together to honor communities that are sometimes misunderstood or overlooked. Written by Karl Cole, curator of images at Davis Publications; and Robb Sandagata, digital and interactive media coordinator at Davis Publications. resources Shepard Fairey: www.obeygiant.com www.interviewmagazine.com/art/shepard-fairey#_ roxanne Swentzell: www.roxanneswentzell.net www.swentzell.com 30 March 2013 SchoolArts

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