Lessons to Celebrate the Power of Art

Use distinctive hands-on crafts in your classroom to encourage an exploration of the power of art. Find projects below that will engage your students in collage work, portraiture, quilting, and more while they celebrate some of American history’s finest artists, activists, and innovators.

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NEW! Lesson 1: Boxed Portraits
Students will use drawing and collage work to explore a specific woman in history, ultimately creating a boxed portrait to pay tribute to her.

NEW! Lesson 2: Decoupage Boxes
Students will be asked to research a specific woman in history while exploring collage and decoupage (decorating with colored paper cut-outs and more) to illustrate what they've learned about her work.

NEW! Lesson 3: Collage Portraits
Students will be asked to research a set of facts relating to a specific woman in history in order to profile her through a collage-based portrait.

NEW! Lesson 4: Historic Women’s Treasure Chests
By building treasure chests, students will explore and honor a specific woman in history by representing her energy and identity.


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Lesson 1: Crayon-Resist Quilt
In this quilt art project, students will work together to observe and demonstrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s beliefs in important ideals including unity and joining with others for a common cause.

Lesson 2: Symbol Quilt
Students will observe Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy and celebrate positive values in their school by working together to create a symbol quilt.

Lesson 3: Story Quilts
Students will be asked to research the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and use art materials to illustrate a specific event for the purpose of creating a story quilt.

Lesson 4: Collage Quilts
After researching the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., student groups will sketch specific events in his life for the purpose of creating a large-scale collage quilt.


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Lesson 1: Back-to-School Self-Portraits
Students will learn about portraits, and will consider how they can use color, shape, texture, and background to reveal something about the person in the portrait.

Lesson 2: Apple Prints
Students will study the graphic elements of textiles, and will discover how to use apple prints and ornamental designs to make their own textile patterns.

Lesson 3: Cutout Color Portraits
Students will learn how artists use abstractions in portraiture, and will create their own abstracted portraits using geometric shapes and bold color.

Lesson 4: Craft Foam-Print Collage Portraits
Students will experiment with creating textures using printmaking, and will use collage to create unique portraits.

Lesson 5: Tim Burton
Students will use the framework of fables to demonstrate Burton's style of illustration and their understanding of his conceptual approach.

Lesson 6: Norman Rockwell
Students will recognize that observation and personal experience are the basis for many illustrations.

Lesson 7: Edward Gorey
Students will understand the use of texture and value to create mood and setting for a sinister/scary story with a touch of satire.

Lesson 8: Warhol and Pop Art
Students will recognize that frequently viewed images in repetition, altered in color, have an artistic expression or style.

Lesson 9: Picasso and Cubist Composition
Students will understand the use of geometric shape, color, and pattern in a cubist composition of a reflective portrait.

Lesson 10: Matisse and Fauvist Style
Students will explore the Fauvist use of color and texture in collage with the simplistic "primitive style" of a face painted in black outline.


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Lesson 1: Alma Woodsey Thomas
In this lesson, students will learn about Alma Woodsey Thomas, and will discover the use of abstract expressionism and bold color, while learning how realistic works can lead to abstract works and an appreciation of abstract thinking.

Lesson 2: Barkley Leonard Hendricks
Students will discover the unique style of portrait artist Barkley Leonard Hendricks.

Lesson 3: Mary Edmonia Lewis
Students will learn the basics of sculpture and create a bust of a prominent leader.

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