SchoolArts Magazine

November 2017

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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34 NOVEMBER 2017 SchoolArts H I G H S C H O O L A common problem in many high-school art classes is motivation. How do we get students invested in creat - ing original, passionate works? One e ffective approach is issue-based art education. It's the perfect way to con- nect contemporary art trends, such as S hepard Fairey's work, with current events while helping students make connections to their world. Issue- based art instruction promotes higher- level thinking through problem solv - ing and advocates for social change. L eading a substantial conversation on issues is a way to hook students while creating meaningful artwork. Unit Goals I have several goals for my Issues in Art unit. First, and most impor- tantly, students must create original w orks of art with strong messages. Their works should invoke an emotional response such as anger, sadness, or frustration. The issue can be local or as big and broad as international issues. Second, stu - dents must design their own unique s ymbols which will be turned into stencils. Finally, students' works must show a strong focal point, high contrast, and multiple layers. Issues and Images The first step is choosing an issue. We began with brainstorming events occurring around students that cre- ated an emotional response. Topics ranged from bullying at school to global issues such as violence towards women in India. We used newspapers and smart phones to peruse news sites. Once students chose an issue, they moved on to the next step: designing and cutting a stencil that expresses their opinion on that issue. Reducing an entire opinion to a simple high-contrast image was chal- lenging. Students looked at artwork by s treet artists Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and Ron English for guidance. After sketching in pencil, students used markers to make their images bold and reduce thin lines to a minimum since the images were to be cut out. Trish Klenow ISSUES EXPLORING

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