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Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Positive-ly ME Collage

I'm currently taking a course at Plymouth State University on teaching art to high school students. It's been so awesome! One thing we've need to do was create a curriculum for an Intro to Art course (also called Visual Studies or Art 1). 

Here's an art idea that could be used for a variety of age levels to teach about Positive and Negative Space. It's my spin on a positive/negative space lesson I saw online. With my lesson, students think of a pose, an object, or a symbol that best represent them, sketches it as a silhouette, and fills in the negative space around the silhouette with images and text from magazines or personal photos that are unique to them (i.e. that tell the viewer who they are). It was fun to do and pretty quick. Here's my example:



I originally saw this project on TeacherPayTeachers, designed by Melissa Woodland. She designed it as a negative space social issue collage. What a great idea! I purchased her lesson and it is nicely thought out with great resources and skill-building activities included. Her lesson focuses on the art or Kara Walker, a contemporary silhouette artist who uses silhouettes to address social issues of race, slavery, and sexuality. Melissa Woodland's lesson has students watch a PBS video on Woodland and has a wonderful handout for students about the film. Woodland also includes a rubric for the lesson and three clear images of finished products to get you and your students started. This would be a wonderful project to link with history class and get students checking out the resources that the library offers (to collect newspaper and magazine articles as well as images related to their social issue).

On a personal note, I felt that Walker's art was a bit too edgy for me to be introducing to students, so I substituted local (to me) contemporary silhouette artist Randal Thurston. He is using silhouettes in his work and his work is thought-provoking and technically exquisite. He doesn't have images on his website, but you can google his images and contact him for more info about his work (I did and he sent me TONS of images of his work as well as info about the collections--wonderful!).

Another fabulous resource for silhouettes to get your students thinking can be found online at Art Inspired with a lesson written by Tricia Fuglestad, an art teacher at Dryden Elementary School is Illinois. She has her students create silhouettes of their bodies in front of a green screen and create posters reminiscent of iPad ads from awhile back. She links her lesson to the viral iRaq posters that appeared online and in Los Angeles. Seriously cool (and it links art with technology!).

So many possibilities! I hope you try this with your students--and if you do, email me some picts and I'll post them here. ENJOY!

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