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Lesson Plans


MEANING -- Public Spirit of Art

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Kevin Hall (kehall)
Tue, 09 Mar 1999 23:23:38 -0700


I previously wrote to share some questions adapted from the Classroom
Forum that I planned to discuss with my students. Here are some
responses:

As an introduction to this activity, I introduced the ideas of Leo
Tolstoy who "insisted that artists aim to express the spirit of their
age. Artists contribute to a sense of community by creating art that
brings people together, affirming shared values."
students brainstormed all other their ideas relating to these ideas
information was recorded on the board and used for reference with the
questions which followed

1. What do public artworks reveal about the communities that display
them? Do artworks express the spirit of their time or the spirit of the
culture in which they were created? OR Is the meaning of an artwork
timeless and cross-cultural?
there is a sense of trust revealed by the communities that display
public artworks -- the
artworks would be valued and would not be destroyed
public artworks are an unselfish expressions of the community and the
artist/creator -- it is there for everyone to enjoy
the artworks generally symbolizes something that everyone can relate
to
the interpretation of the artworks may change over time and sometimes
may not, it depends on the art
the meaning and spirit of the artwork is dependent upon the artist's
intent, meaning and purpose of the work
a public artwork must fit into the context into which it will be
displayed

2. Are you aware of any artworks that have helpled to bring people
together, affirming their shared values? Give examples and explain.
Great Wall of China -- built for protection and to show strength and
power of the culture
Vietnam Memorial -- brought together loved ones and supporters of
freedom and democracy (can be viewed as a shrine also), but there were
others against the war and its intention and this monument also united
people with these ideas
Statue of Liberty -- a gift from France, yet a welcome mat to
arriving immigrants
Mt.Rushmore -- a display of integrity and positive role models
Pyramids -- people came together to fulfill the needs of the pharaohs
Others -- Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, Washington Monument, Sydney Opera
House, Liberty Bell

3. Look at the image of the Vietnam Memorial by Maya Lin. How might
this monument in Washington D.C. impact its visitors? In what ways has
the memorial contributed to solidifying or bringing together the
community (or even on a larger scale the nation)?
the impact is emotional and/or spiritual
sadness over loss
anger and resistance to any association with war
the completion of the memorial in some ways served to heal the nation
and honor those who died serving in the Vietnam War
symbol of the price of freedom and democracy
either brought together or separated the community because of
peoples' views of the war
symbol of respect for those lost in war
love for our country, so much so that a person would defend it

4. What are some other examples of art that may have promoted public
spirit and affirmed shared values of a people?
the Lincoln Memorial
Big Ben
the Parthenon

5. Select one examples from the class list (or an original idea),
conduct research to answer the questions posed below, and gather
evidence to either support or refute the notion that the artwork brings
or has brought people together. Be specific with your evidence and
provide reasons of examples to support your responses to the last two
statements. (specific questions have not be included again, because . .
.)

THIS WAS NOT A SUCCESSFUL ACTIVITY . . . THIS WAS ASSIGNED AS HOMEWORK
AND STUDENTS WERE GIVEN TWO NIGHTS TO COMPLETE THE TASK. THE TIME
ALLOTMET MAY HAVE BEEN TOO SHORT TO ADEQUATELY RESPOND TO THE DEPTH OF
THE QUESTIONS.

I plan to continue with this type of discussion with my students. The
next Philosophers Forum, "Can Good Art Glorify Bad Things?", has some
interesting discussion topics. It is so valuable to have students
think, formulate answers, and explain their responses.

Ellen Hall