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Lesson Plans

John Biggers

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Juliet Moore (jgmoore)
Thu, 05 Mar 1998 17:53:03 -0600

The unveiling of John Biggers' most recent mural took place on February 19,
1998 at the University of Houston, Texas. The unveiling was part of an art
dedication ceremony that also introduced works by three other artists,
including John Scott, whose fan-shaped, kinetic,outdoor sculpture, "Prayer
Meeting" shares some of Biggers' concerns in that it evokes the
African-American experience in the South and African culture and history.
John Biggers' mural, "Salt Marsh" is 10-by-27 feet, acrylic on canvas, and
it tells the story of the salt marsh. It is divided into three vertical
sections and four horizontal areas. The colors are predominantly orange in
the left hand side (compass point east=daybreak) and dark blues on the
right hand side (compass point west=nightfall). The mural was inspired by
an ancient African children's story about the never-ending chase between a
rabbit and a turtle, representing the daily transformation and renewal of
the moon andn the sun, night and day, and the changing rhythm of the seasons.
Biggers stated, "The bayou, the birthplace of the city of Houston, has
evolved from a once-viable, life-sustaining force. as our children discover
self-awareness, we also finda mirror image for all of us. they are our
salvation and our hope for tomorrow."
Dr. Biggers' wife, Hazel, and his assistant/colleague, Harvey Johnson, were
also present at the ceremony. Dr. Biggers acknowledged the major
contribution made by Harvey Johnson, who had had the good fortune to meet
his wife while working on the mural. Dr. Biggers also introduced the five
college students who had worked on the mural with him.
I met with Dr. Biggers after the ceremony. We talked about Penn State (we
both received our doctorates in Art Ed from PSU, although 52 years
separated our graduation dates!). Dr. Biggers spoke of the great
responsibility that teachers have to help children to be aware of their
world, and, in his modest manner, he urged me to meet the students who had
participated in the creation of the mural.
I asked him what his next project would be, and he replied that he was
going to create a mural at Texas Southern University. He invited me to
bring my students to the site so that we could all talk together about art
and art education. He was absolutely gracious and kind, and it was a
privilege to speak with him.
I took pictures of the mural and the ceremony; I'll bring them to NAEA in
April. If anyone would like to see them, then let me know. As with all of
Dr. Biggers' work, there is great potential in this new mural for
interdisciplinary, rich art education experiences.
I hope this notice isn't too long....
Dr. Juliet G. Moore
Assistant Professor in Art Education
Department of Curriculum & Instruction
University of Houston
4800 Calhoun Blvd.
Houston, Texas 77203-5872

E-mail: jgmoore
Tel: 713/743-4956
Fax: 713/795-4990