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.

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Looking & Learning Motivation "Art is only important to the extent that it aids in the liberation of our people." —Elizabeth Catlett Explore Create Beginner Discuss the concept of motivation with your students. Explain that different people have different motivations that shape their lives, dreams, and goals. Show students a series of images that feature athletes, musicians, and artists at work. Ask students to guess what the motivation of the person in each photograph might be. After viewing and discussing these images, ask students to think of three things that motivate them. Beginner Create a large collaborative artwork based on the theme "Our Motivations." Begin by having each student create a collage, drawing, or painting depicting one of his or her motivations. Adjust the project requirements, materials, and techniques based on age and ability level. Have one group paint a large backdrop for the final piece. Add each student's work to the collaborative image and display it in a highly visible place. Consider collaborating with classroom teachers to expand the final piece to include student writing about motivation. Intermediate Ask students to think about why their parents, family members, and friends do the things they do. What motivates them? What motivates a mother, father, or other relative to wake up early each morning and travel to work? What motivates their siblings to do strange or annoying things? How are some people able to push themselves beyond their own limits in order to succeed, while others make poor or destructive choices? Show students a variety of historical and contemporary artworks, including Catlett's and Walker's work. Ask students to write down what they think each artist's motivation might be and how they came to that conclusion. Advanced Place students in small groups, giving each group a different work of art to examine. Choose images that will provoke some kind of reaction, but do not contain obvious, clear-cut statements. Contrast politically charged images such as Walker's Exodus of Confederates from Atlanta with more ambiguous works by artists such as Anselm Kiefer or Felix González-Torres. Include some traditional portraits and landscapes as well. Ask each group to look closely at their image and answer: (1) What was the artist trying to communicate through this artwork? (2) What motivated the artist to create this piece? Have each group present the artwork and their answers to the class. Intermediate Ask students to choose a public figure such as an artist, historical figure, politician, athlete, or personal hero and create a work of art that shows that person's motivation. For example, a public figure might be motivated to help improve the lives of people from her or his hometown. Ask students to create a portrait of their subject today and depict a scene from his or her life story, making the connection between their success and the motivation that helped them get there. Advanced Ask students to create a list of at least five things that motivate them without discussing it with their classmates. Explain that they will create a two- or three-dimensional artwork that subtly depicts one of their motivations. The message of the piece should not be obvious. Before starting, have students cross several items off their list that they believe other students will have chosen. Next, ask them to sketch ideas for the remaining items on the list. Help each student choose one of their remaining sketches before starting his or her final piece. Remind them to keep their artwork's message private until after their critique. During the critique, have students silently examine each piece and write down their interpretation of its message. Discuss each piece and its possible messages as a class before each student reveals his or her message and motivation. Have students write a reflection on what happened during the class critique. Written by Karl Cole, curator of images at Davis Publications; and Robb Sandagata, digital and interactive media coordinator at Davis Publications. resources Kara Walker: learn.walkerart.org/karawalker elizabeth Catlett: www.amistadresearchcenter.org/beyond_the_blues/catlett.html 26 November 2012 SchoolArts

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