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Lesson Plans

Re: Social injustices in Art

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Becky Alexander (Bekalex)
Thu, 13 Feb 1997 18:46:44 -0800

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>Teaching kids that art is not always meant to be pretty or uplifting -
>that it has a purpose- is both a relevant and important component of art.
>Melissa Enderle

I even do this in Kindergarten, I do a series of lessons on Diego
I tell the kids that he painted what he saw. That there were a lot of
soldiers in his country, there was fighting and people died. I tell them
that the people were very poor and that he saw them working so hard.

But!!! I also tell then that he loved his art, he loved his country and the
people. He wanted to help them. He used beautiful colors and flowers.

As a child he enjoyed drawing on the walls of his little studio with chalk

I then have them use chalk on black butcher paper (4'x6') taped to the
chalkboard and they each make an individual mural of what they see in their
world. (This is discussed, we see houses, trees, sun, flowers, etc.) It is
so cool to see these little ones having to go up and down on chairs and
draw/color their big suns and birds and grass with their bright chalks.
I've taken photos that they write about for evaluation and process
understanding, but I wish I had a video just for me.

We put them up high in the cafeteria for about a month (May) before I send
them home. (Great refridgerator art, huh??? (vbg) Hey Mom, Look what I

Another less than all "pretty and uplifting" culteral project we do is H.
Tanner. I tell them that times were hard for black people. That they were
poor. The kids can see this in "Banjo Lesson." (This is about the time of
Martin Luther King day when we discuss non-violence problem solving more
than slavery or discrimination but I do touch on the race issue as being
the problem King had to deal with.)

But what else is in the picture? Love. Lots of love.

Production is to draw themselves with an adult (Mom, Dad, Grandma etc)
doing something together. I get shopping, watching tv, cooking supper,
fixing the car, playing ball.

I'd like to thank all the participants in this discussion. I really have
gained a lot from it. I don't know if I'll change what I do. I don't know
if it's "culturally ok" or not. I hope so. I do it. But I know that I'm
more aware.

Becky Alexander

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