SchoolArts Magazine

OCT 2014

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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schoolartsonline.com 35 Creating Multicultural Portraits To begin the project, a local printing company donated thousands of profes- sionally cut, white, 2 x 2" tag pieces, which fit perfectly together on the tubes. After a refresher lesson on por- traiture proportion, we talked about cultural diversity, our school's anti- bullying program, and how acceptance of all people is important. I stressed how important it was to draw "big" on the small cards. We wanted to fill each card with a person from the shoulders up, while still including a little space for a background. Some students chose to include backgrounds with famous landmarks and symbols in addition to other clues as to where their person was from. I also stressed the importance of detail in the clothing and facial features. We didn't want to take away from the drawings by including words or names on the front of the cards. Students used a multitude of colors in their portraits to represent different skin tones, eye colors, and clothing colors. Creating the Display After all the drawings were com- pleted, we used low-odor rubber cement to adhere them to the large cardboard tubes, which are normally used to pour concrete footings. These can be purchased at any local home center and are very inexpensive. After the cards were glued in place, we care- fully wrapped them with 2" (5 cm) wide clear tape to protect them from smudges and dirty fingers. We also added a few random pop-out boxes covered with portraits to add interest to the overall display. Simple 2 x 2' (61 x 61 cm) wooden bases were built and painted to add support to the tubes. A hole was cut into the base for the tube to slide into as it rested on the floor. Extra portraits were glued onto the base, then cov- Starting with Mini Portraits Each student at Wilmington Middle School created a minimum of ten, 2 x 2" (5 x 5 cm) mini-portraits, which were adhered together on large, free- standing cardboard tubes of various heights, ranging from 5–8' (1.5–2.4 m) tall. Students were instructed to cre- ate an equal number of drawings of males and females, as well to include one self-portrait. Students utilized their knowledge of portrait proportions and combined it with research of people of various cultures using magazines, the Inter- net, and books. When assembled, these mini-masterpieces created a major visual display that was sure to make a lasting impact on the school community. Staff and faculty were invited to participate as well, adding to the theme of community. ered with several coats of high-gloss polyurethane. To create one 8' (2.4 m) tower, we stacked two 4' (1.2 m) tubes together using wood pieces and glue. This made transporting the towers much easier. Sandbags were added to weigh the sculptures down and keep them in place A Traveling Exhibit Our finished towers tour throughout the community as a traveling exhibit, and have been shown in the local town library, town hall, shopping malls, and other schools and civic spaces. While traveling art installations are common in the art world through museums and private collectors, this concept was new to our school system, as no other work of this mag- nitude had ever been attempted at the local level. By traveling throughout the community, this project helps to teach students about portraiture, diversity, and how art affects the com- munity when it's on display outside the school environment. This project connected to the visual arts standards with our unit on portrait-drawing, combined with social studies standards on world cultures. It also reinforced our anti- bullying program, promoting respect, tolerance, and understanding. Stu- dents had a great time creating the drawings and gluing their own por- traits in place, thus adding a true sense of ownership to the project. Neal Roberts is an art teacher at Wilming- ton Middle School in Wilmington, Mas- sachusetts. neal.roberts@wilmington.k12. ma.us N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. W E B L I N K mrrobertsart.weebly.com By traveling throughout the community, this project helps to teach students about portraiture, diversity, and how art affects the community.

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