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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Protection area of Concourse C. Needless to say, student journals reflected how thrilled, engaged, proud, and altogether amazed they were at their accomplishment of being able to welcome world travelers to the United States. Mural Making Begins Our mural began with just a few tools and a basic design concept. Students reviewed how artists might organize a project according to the following steps: plan, begin, change, and respond. Ultimately, we decided to incorporate a collage system for our mural. Each student would complete a life-size self-portrait in acrylic paint on a 48 x 24" (122 x 61 cm) pressed board, then the portraits would be assembled to create a large mural. Although our project would consist of student portraits, several other areas also needed to be painted, planned, and designed. Students began by working on a self-portrait in journals with graphite, then with full-color chalk pastels. They worked from observation with mirrors and from photographs taken during class. A willingness to imagine possibilities, a desire to explore uncertainty and pursue thoughtful resolutions, and the ability to recognize multiple perspectives and conclusions can be guiding objectives for the work in progress. Since pubic spaces can be expansive, murals can represent several areas of interest. Judith Baca's Great Wall of Los Angeles, which runs along the Tujunga Wash drainage system in Los Angeles, not only impresses students with how the artist involved the city's youth in the creation of the mural, but also with the sheer size of the painting—at over a half-mile long, the mural is considered one of the largest in the world. Working Collaboratively Once the full-size portraits were done and the collage was assembled, the mural was completed with a unifying background. Students were given the opportunity to work next to each other and incorporate interaction between figures. We planned for eight full portraits to coincide with eight of the languages most commonly represented at our school. Students were also enlisted to work on other major areas of the painting. The visual impact, the welcoming atmosphere it activated, and the engaging size of the final mural continues to celebrate the unity of our diverse community. I currently teach art education courses at the college level, and I encourage student-teachers to utilize teaching moments and the multidimensional character of group work available through mural making. It can provide a cohesive bond, group identity, and community impact. Tom Wagner is currently professor of art at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. wagnert@etown.edu NAtioNAl StANdArd Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas. Web liNKS ow.ly/gHmcA www.TomWagnerStudio.com www.metwashairports.com/4069.htm schoolartsonline.com 41

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