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Re: Art project on civil rights for 3rd & 4th graders

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  • aliteachesart
    ... I also see it as a free way for an organization to decorate. How many students will go to this organization to see their artwork displayed? However,
    Message 1 of 7 , Oct 8, 2008
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      > I see this problem crop up from time to time- art teachers being asked
      > to have their students create something to support a cause- whether or
      > not the students and/or teacher support or understand it. Teachers
      > feeling obligated to do it. I would be interested in a discussion on
      > this topic and hearing other views.
      >
      > Sometimes it feels like public art has become public relations...
      > and that so much public art has to have a cause/statement/agenda
      > attached to it. Less public art for the sake of beauty alone....
      >
      > apologies if this seems naive but i'm interested in hearing other
      > opinions on this.

      I also see it as a free way for an organization to decorate. How many
      students will go to this organization to see their artwork displayed?
      However, children can express the message behind civil rights in
      beautiful ways. If you talk about everyone treating others as equals,
      being kind and peace. I thought of doing Faith Ringold inspired paper
      quilt squares. Then you could put them all together for a group
      installation and/or they could make quality scans of some the work and
      frame them.

      Often, I think, people and places approach the school looking for art
      to be churned out for this or that- not really thinking about student
      art as fine art. Teachers need to choose what will work within their
      curricula and schedule (if given an option). Every artist trying to
      make a living knows that they often have to make "what sells" or
      change something for a commission in order to get paid. ALi
    • Brandy
      ... Adult issues like sexuality- totally inappropriate for younger students. Adult issues like civil rights or homelessness- these I don t see as adult
      Message 2 of 7 , Oct 9, 2008
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        --- In art_education@yahoogroups.com, "Glennis" <glennisd@...> wrote:
        >
        > This is probably just me.
        >
        > But i wonder if others out there feel uncomfortable with the idea of
        > using young children to portray adult issues.
        Adult issues like sexuality- totally inappropriate for younger
        students. "Adult issues" like civil rights or homelessness- these I
        don't see as adult issues as they affect children as much as they can
        effect adults. I'm not sure what you're background is, or where you
        teach, but if you live or teach the south, civil rights is apart of
        the vernacular. Even young children, outside of the playgrounds, are
        affected by the notion of equality but they may be able to best recall
        examples that happen there.


        > Sometimes it feels like public art has become public relations...
        > and that so much public art has to have a cause/statement/agenda
        > attached to it. Less public art for the sake of beauty alone....

        It has been my experience that young children only think of art as for
        beauty's sake, so introducing the idea of art as a messenger is a new
        concept for them. Great artist like Ben Shaw or other politically
        motivated artists make a great connection to art history and can give
        examples about why an artist might feel strong enough to paint a
        picture, instead of write an essay or sign a song.
        Again, it's your classroom, and the words, "No thank-you I already
        have plans for the next week, month, year", is easy enough to say if
        you don't wish to participate. I feel no reason to give further
        explanation.
        When I do choose to do public projects, I tend to make them group
        projects, because the art is often not returned or returned so late I
        can not easy give it back to the student, and I feel such an
        obligation to tract that student down and return their work. Another
        person mentioned the requesters don't realize this is fine art by the
        students, and the artist will want it back!

        This concept opens a whole can of worms that asks, "what is art?"
        "What is art for/ what is it's purpose?" I pretty sure their are some
        great master thesis hanging out in libraries on the subject waiting to
        be read :)
        Regards,
        Brandy
      • Joyce Rainwalker
        ... Munira - An excellent resource with regard to civil rights is Teaching Tolerance, a project from the Southern Poverty Law Center. You ll find materials
        Message 3 of 7 , Oct 9, 2008
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          > ________________________________________________________________________
          > 1a. Art project on civil rights for 3rd & 4th graders
          > Posted by: "Munira bootwala" bootwalamun@... bootwalamun
          > Date: Wed Oct 8, 2008 6:26 am ((PDT))
          >
          > I have been approached by the New York State division of human rights to do an art project with my students on civil rights that they would like to put up in their office. Does anyone have any ideas on how I could structure this theme with 3rd and 4th graders.
          >
          > Thank you.
          >
          > ~Munira
          >
          Munira -

          An excellent resource with regard to civil rights is Teaching Tolerance,
          a project from the Southern Poverty Law Center. You'll find materials
          targeted to specific age groups and links to other resources that have
          been vetted for clarity and factual accuracy.
          <
          http://www.tolerance.org/
          >
          (Look on the upper menu bar for "teachers")

          Whatever your project design, following Jeff's suggestion to make it
          relevant to kids' daily world makes sense. You might want to consider,
          as well, focusing less on whatever product goes to the Human Rights
          Division and more on how you can enrich the learning about crucial
          (ongoing!) work in human rights.

          One last thought - do you have any related themes in your
          school/district mission and/or vision statements that you could tie in?
          How about any related character or ethics education pieces? Even very
          young children can make the connections between art's role in
          communication of societal issues and their own playground rules.

          Joyce (on her way to WAEA Art Conference today - yea!)
          --
          K-5 Art Specialist
          http://EvergreenArt.Birdsong.ORG
        • Munira bootwala
          Thank you Jeff, I was thinking of ways to make it relate to them too, I teach in Harlem and there is a lot of aggression amongst my students, and I think this
          Message 4 of 7 , Oct 9, 2008
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            Thank you Jeff,
            I was thinking of ways to make it relate to them too, I teach in Harlem and there is a lot of aggression amongst my students, and I think this project will be a great starting point to address these issues and it will make it more meaningful for the students because they will be showcasing their work outside of school.

            I think art is a great way to approach and discuss social justice issues and I'm glad I have got this opportunity to teach my students another value of art making. When organizations approach us, sure they are getting free art but our students also experience what it feels like to be an exhibiting artist. There is a certain pride and excitement one feels when they know that their work is going to be seen and appreciated by others and working towards the goal of exhibiting is a valuable learning experience.

            ~Munira
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