Looking & Learning Making a Difference
Review and discuss Oliver Herring’s artwork
with your students. Ask them to compare the
video The Sum and Its Parts and TASK. How
are they related? What similar ideas do they
explore? Remind students that an artist’s work
changes and progresses over time. What might
be the next development in Herring’s work?
Show students images and videos from various TASK parties. Discuss how TASK events
challenge traditional ideas about art and artists. During TASK, is everyone an artist? Does
TASK change your idea of what an artist can
do? Can a TASK creation be bought or sold like
a painting? What makes TASK a work of art?
Oliver Herring TASK
TASK Party taskparty.org
Oliver Herring on Art21
Explain that together you will create a mural that honors people in
your community and brings them together. Ask each student to create a portrait of someone from their community that they would like
to honor. These portraits could be done as drawings, paintings, or low-relief sculptures. Display the mural in a highly visible area in your
school, community center, or other suitable site.
Consider a title such as “Art Brings People Together” and include
specific places in the community in the background. Allow students to
arrange their portraits on the mural, encouraging them to group people
together in creative ways. Once the mural is installed, place a table
containing art supplies and blank figures nearby. Include a sign asking
viewers to add portraits of other community members to the mural.
Have students list positive ways to bring people together, such as
games, events, or an art experience. Using the students’ suggestions,
create several categories (game, art experience, mural, sport, etc.).
Place students into groups based on their choice. Each group will plan
and design an event that brings people together in a positive way. Ask
them to create a timeline and sequence of events, a list of volunteers
and their duties, a list of materials or supplies, a map or diagram, and
logo design or poster advertising their event. They should consider the
time and place for the event: Beginning of the school year in the cafeteria? Outside during the winter? In the gym?
Have each group present their event to the class using posters and
visual aides. Allow the class to ask questions and offer suggestions.
After the presentations, consider working with your school administration or community to bring one or more of your students’ events to life.
Begin with a small TASK workshop in your classroom for your students only. Once they have experienced TASK for themselves, explain
that you would like to bring TASK to the entire school or community with your students as organizers, facilitators, and documenters.
Working together, choose an appropriate place and time for the event.
Include other faculty, community members, or school administrators
who can assist you with your plans. Consider collaborating with your
school’s AV or photography department to document TASK. Provide
plenty of time for planning, gathering materials, and promoting your
Remind your students that TASK is a collaborative event that
empowers organizers and participants, and its positive, creative atmosphere should come through in the signs, posters, or digital media they
use to promote their event.
When your TASK party is over, have students share and discuss
their images, video, and personal reflections on the event. What did
they learn about themselves or others? What was the most surprising
aspect of TASK? How might they expand or alter TASK? Has TASK
changed the way they think about making art?
Written by Karl Cole, curator of images for Davis Publications; and Robb
Sandagata, digital curriculum and interactive media coordinator at Davis
Publications. Edited by Dr. Marilyn Stewart, professor of art education at