SchoolArts Magazine

April 2016

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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30 APRIL 2016 SchoolArts It's important to incorporate con- temporary artists into our art curricu- lums in order to address twenty-first century learning skills, kindle curios- ity, and inspire our students to think in new ways about the world in which they live. Introducing the Artist I introduced students to the artist Elizabeth Murray through a four- minute video on her artwork, titled Bop. Students were enthralled watch- ing her working in her studio. After the video, we looked at additional examples of her work online. I pro- jected Bop on the whiteboard and asked students to come up and trace a shape or object then tell the rest of the class what they noticed about the piece. This was a useful exercise in helping students understand the idea of abstract artwork—how one person might look at a shape and see a cer- tain object or idea, and another person might look at that same image and see something entirely different. Imagining Abstract The objective was for students to cre- ate an abstract work inspired by Mur- ray's art. We discussed using organic and geometric shapes, cartoon-like images, random objects, bubble letters and numbers, and of course, imagina- tive designs. I suggested that students draw large and incorporate ten shapes or objects, and that these shapes or objects should touch each other on at least one edge. I posed several questions to my students: 1. What story can you tell through your objects and shapes? 2. If you were representing yourself through shapes and objects, what would that look like? 3. What kinds of feelings can you convey through shapes and objects? Bold Results Students drew on 9 × 12" (23 × 30 cm) pieces of 80 lb. drawing paper. After sketching out their designs with pen- cil, they outlined them with black permanent marker and erased any stray pencil marks. Students used tempera paint in cake form to color in their designs. It goes on smoothly and dries quickly to the touch, producing great results with bold, bright colors. Contemporar rtists can be authentic examples of "real" artists for our students, serving as role models for creativit and relevant ideas.

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