Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Aaron Douglas Layered Storytelling Paintings

Aaron Douglas, Aspects of Negro Life:  From Slavery Through Reconstruction,  1934

The fifth graders are finishing up their 10 week course on American Art.  I modeled the second half of the course after the current Art Institute of Chicago exhibition that showcases art by Grant Wood, Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Hopper and Aaron Douglas.  When we got to Aaron Douglas and the Harlem Renaissance, I couldn't find any lesson plans I liked online.  I decided to have the students study his work and to find common elements.  We picked 4 goals to make work in his style:  a monochromatic color scheme, concentric circles highlighting a focal point, silhouettes telling a story, and three distinct layers of value.  I had them choose a struggle for people in common current events, and I let them choose from a list of topics or come up with their own.  This was complex for 5-8th graders, but they had some strong work.  Here are some samples that impressed me!

One more by Aaron Douglas that was an inspiration to the students.

Maryann, Grade 8

Jackie, Grade 8:  Showing a bridge going over the Mexico/US border and a political rally.

Giana, Grade 5:  Showing refugees seeking homes.

Kevin, Grade 5:  Showing a bald eagle overcoming Donald Trump

Aria, Grade 5:  Showing Hillary Clinton speaking to a crowd.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

K-2 Student-Curated Art Show

Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate the arts with our K-2nd grade artists in Pilsen this weekend.  We had a great turnout, and it was such a memorable experience for us to offer the kids.  Thanks to the parents who helped organize, promote, and facilitate the show, especially Edyta Stepien and Janette Gilmartin.  Here are some photos of the event!
Kings, Queens, Turtles and Trees
The art filled the entire space!

Aleena, Grade 1

Kyle's Family helps him hang his turtle.

Thumbs-up from Xander

Proud Parker


Aiden placed his turtle at eye-level.

Heavy hammer!

Alejandro and Maks side-by-side


Caden is hanging his monster with Logan's

Logan's mom and dad helped him out.

Lincoln and his dad are placing his name tag


These two, still side-by-side!

Malacchi's brothers watched him hang his work.

Ava with her sparkle-covered king and her hand-made crown, looking proud.

Greta made a fancy crown.

First grade face painting

Caroline made two:  one for herself and one for her American Girl doll.



Alexa showing her teddy bear where her turtle is hanging...

Great Gallery Space

Jonny and Ethan making crowns at the craft table


Jacob and Jamie found stamps.

Aiden made a super-hero mask.

Lincoln and Mom posing with his king


Brenna painting Olive

Magdalena and Lila with Lila's Queen
Sophia with a hammer!

Sadie and her mom with her turtle

American Sculpture: Martin Puryear

Martin Puryear is a 79 year old sculptor who lives in New York.  He has traveled the world to study art and craft traditions, and he has rec...