SchoolArts Magazine

NOV 2012

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 24 of 52

@r+ Mythology Matters "Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth—penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images . . . mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told." —Joseph Campbell David Gran C ampbell's quote gets to the heart of why mythology can be such a powerful starting point for developing artwork. The myths we share provide a common framework for understanding the world around us and help us construct meaning. That is why we've chosen myth as the theme of the fourth Student Creative challenge; MyThology ( For this project, students are asked to create artwork based on their own modern myths or a modern version of a classic. As with all of our previous challenges, the most compelling projects will be compiled in both a book and an e-book, the proceeds of which benefit the Jacaranda School for AIDS orphans in Malawi. As the thematic basis for a lesson, we can look at how various artists have used our knowledge of myths to create and subvert meaning, to add humor, and to make new connections. Here are a few useful ways to engage your students with resources about mythology online: Modern Myths At the Myth Man (, you'll find hundreds of pages on various Greek myths, heroes, and creatures. Perhaps most useful is Mythology in 22 November 2012 SchoolArts Modern Society (, which details an exhaustively collected series of examples of how Greek myth has influenced modern society through business, culture, and entertainment. Using a few of these as examples is an excellent way to launch into a discussion of how ancient myths become part of our modern world, and imagine other ways ancient truths can be revealed in the modern world through these stories. Myths in Art Minneapolis Institute for the Arts' World Myths and Legends in Art ( not only provides a series of artifacts from various cultures and times to examine, but also provides a venue for choosing artifacts to compare. Students might consider questions about how the myths have been represented or choices the artists made about what to include. Creating Myths If your lesson involves students creating their own myths, there may be no better place to start than by taking a look at Campbell's narrative pattern, the hero's journey, which is explained in detail in his books, The Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth. For a concise explanation of the various steps that Campbell has described, visit the Writer's Journey website ( Once they have become familiarized with the steps, students can create their own myth at Read Write Think's interactive hero's journey template (www.readwritethink. org/files/resources/interactives/herosjourney). The links above have all been submitted by teachers already involved with the project through our group at Art Ed 2.0 ( mythology) and can also be found at the Student Creative website ( There, you will also find a few different lesson suggestions for the challenge, a page on analyzing myths, more useful resources, and a link to enroll your class to participate. We're building this project together—teachers and students. Come join us in the labyrinth. David Gran teaches high school art and film classes at the Shanghai American School in China and is the author of The Carrot Revolution, a blog about twentyfirst-century art education ( david.gran@saschina. org

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of SchoolArts Magazine - NOV 2012