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"Art Bags" or "How to make art come alive on paper bags"


From: Michelle Leddel (leddel_michelle_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Oct 31 2002 - 22:27:50 PST

OKAY, I was a Frida look-alike today, spoke a little Spanish, and passed
out the ever-so- popular-with-the-high school students, the 1/4 sheets
flyers. My flyers had a photograph of Frida on it. On the back of the
flyer was information about a current photographic exhibit of Frida in
Santa Monica, California (Bergamont Station).

NEXT, our 'halloween masks' were large, paper bags (no advertising logos)
with drawings of artists or works of art. I bought the bags at the local
Smart and Final; don't quote me, but something like 250 bags for $18. The
students used pencils and markers as well as scissors. As I'm writing
this on Halloween night, there are NO door bells ringing, so I'll add a
bit more.

After 2 1/2 class periods we had some completed masks and many in
progress. So, today, we had our first,'Work in Progress Show.' Masks,
with openings for eyes, were either worn or held. In one class, masks
were placed on the back of chairs that were part of an inner circle.
Students then sat behind their mask and discussed their artist.

I told the kids to be creative--I almost said 'think outside the box' but
since we are using bags, I decided to let that phrase pass.

Thanks to the discussions on the ARTSDNET earlier in the week, this is how
I combined the need to have an art project that does not take up too much
space--the bags are just folded flat between classes. I also wanted to
play with the idea of masks, artists, art, discussions, presentations to
others (we will invite students from the next door art class), and a game
to yet be determined/created.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't ...just... drawing...ha, ha! Students had
to do some research for the upcoming quiz show-type game. They used both
books and the internet for the art as well as the artist information.

The project is not finished, but a couple of students thought of creating
artists' panels of 3-4 'student/artists' for the final

The student direction sheet is being "field tested" by the students so
when we have worked out the kinks, I'll post it, if there is interest.

And sorry, I don't have a digital camera yet, but try to imagine these
images on paper bags: Mona Lisa with her hair extented by that of the
student's hair as the bag was placed upon the student's head, Picasso's
many pieces of art, a clown looking face by Henri Matisse, a Georgia
O'Keeffe flower, The Watts Towers, a big green apple by Rene Magritte, a
guitar in the style of Picasso, oh yes, several Fridas and two van
Goghs--one by a quiet student and the other by a very, very, very hyper
young man! Yes, teachers, you can imagine the difference. One student
even had a front and back of Frida Kahlo (a smiling face on one side of
the bag, and a sad face with a tear drop, on the other side. My apologies
if your students have not included THAT tear drop touch in their art for
you to see....) And yes, The Scream was a part of this collection of "Bag
Art"...but now the students learned about dear Edvard Munch and his
oh-so-sad early family life.

Once again, thanks TEAM for all the inspiration.

Michelle Leddel, at the foot of the Getty Center
(in case I didn't say it-- I teach high school humanities)