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Paul Hillman

The Arts can provide a vehicle for discussing issues of political differences in a non-threatening manner.

Lesson Description: This multidisciplinary lesson evolved over FIVE different, 2 hour sessions. The participants first read the book THE FLAG WE SO LOVE in the "Circle of Power". Youth discussed what it meant to live in America. A large American flag was brought in to hang in the art room. These same participants over the age of 10, then traveled to the Phoenix Art Museum to view a controversial exhibition entitled "Old Glory-Then and Now". The artist/facilitator not only discussed issues of "What Is GOOD Art?", with the kids, but also THEIR views on the subject matter. Returning to the art room the art lesson of designing a canvas and painting it with acrylics was taught, as well as, a paper making sculpture to illustrate these youths understanding of the art exhibition and its theme.

U.S. Artworlds – Old Glory, Then and Now

Artworld focus:

The artworlds of the early nineteenth century and later twentieth century United States the focus of the lesson

Objectives:

  1. Students learn how to use critical thinking skills to discuss the issue o freedom of speech.
  2. Students learn that art can be a vehicle to develop problem-solving skills by teaching youth to convey their own sociopolitical messages about the times they live in through the artworks they create.
  3. Students learn their art creations have value and merit in the community where they reside.
  4. Students learn how to decipher the sociopolitical intent of the artworks they view in the context of the time of their creation and its relevance to today’s society.
  5. Students learn how to apply criteria for evaluating the artistic merit of a particular art piece they viewed.
  6. Students learn an initial sketch is drawn to assist in the development of a painting.
  7. Students learn there are unconventional art media methods of expression.
  8. Students learn to respect their understanding and perceptions of a painting detached from others’ interpretations.

Activities:

  1. Rosenzweg Boys & Girls Clubs’ members first attend the Phoenix Art Museum exhibition, Old Glory, meet the curator and tour the exhibition.
  2. These youth read the book The Flag We Love by Pam Munoz-Ryan and illustrated by Ralph Masiello.
  3. Artist/Facilitator discusses local and national controversy surrounding this exhibition.
  4. Students create their own visuals concerning “Reflections of Children Living in America”.
  5. A MARS Artspace artist and assistant direct the youth through a papermaking workshop.
  6. The youths’ artworks go on view at MARS Artspace and the State Capitol.
  7. Children are honored at a reception for the artworks they’ve created.

Interdisciplinary Connections:
Political Science and History

Community Resources:
Phoenix Art Museum
Local newspapers and national periodicals
Art workshops

This lesson plan was presented at an Educational Focus Forum chaired by Dr. Mary Erickson, ASU, at the Phoenix Art Museum in September 1998 for approximately 150 community educators. It was designed by judy butzine and facilitated by Howard Bernstein through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix. Approximately 300 youth participated.

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