Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
Related Subjects: English - Language Arts, History - Social Science, Visual & Performing Arts
Class time required: 3 X 50 minute sessions
Author: Jan Lyle (Art Teacher at Fallbrook High School)
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In this three-session lesson, students will create a sculpture that expresses their thoughts and feelings concerning a social issue. The sculpture may awaken the viewer to the problem and possibly motivate them to action or a new understanding of the problem.
- Protest Worksheet (PDF 44kb)
- Items needed for creating the sculpture
- Glossary terms: balance, color, dominance, emphasis, hue, intensity, line, shape, proportion, rhythm, space, subordination, texture, unity, value, variety
- Materials for this sculpture are not specified. Some possible ideas would be things found in nature, trash, clothing, clay, plaster, etc. The materials will be dictated by the types of sculptures the students want to create. Students will be responsible for bringing in much of the materials.
- Print the above images onto overhead transparencies.
1. Introduce the lesson by looking at the work of artists who have used their art to address social issues. Begin a discussion with the students about the artwork listed above.
2. In small groups, have the students brainstorm lists of possible issues they could address with the creation of a sculpture.
3. Share and make a class list of issues.
4. Have the students complete the Protest Sculpture Worksheet (PDF 44kb)
5. For homework, have the students collect items that they would like to incorporate into their sculptures.
1. Students create their own Protest Sculptures.
1. After students have completed their Protest Sculpture, have them write journals about the assignment and their artwork. Possible journal prompts for the Protest Sculpture:
• Write a report for the newspaper on the protest sculpture exhibit.
• Write a dialogue between opposing sides of the issue.
• Write about the subject of your sculpture. What do you know? What more do you wish you knew about it? When did you first learn about the issue? How?
• Write a letter to your children/grandchildren telling them about the world before the “problem” was addressed and solved. Tell how the world “used to be.”
• Write a formal critique of your own sculpture.
2. Display the students’ artwork around the classroom as an exhibition for others to view.
English-Language Arts: Students can research artists who have made political statements through their artworks and write a report.
Visual Arts: Students can write an expository composition comparing the ways in which the meaning of a specific work of art has been affected over time because of changes in interpretation and context.
CA Content Standards
Ninth-Twelfth Grade Visual Arts
1.1 Identify and use the principles of design to discuss, analyze, and write about visual aspects in the environment and in works of art, including their own.
1.5 Analyze the material used by a given artist and describe how its use influences the meaning.
2.2 Prepare a portfolio of original two-and three-dimensional works of art that reflects refined craftsmanship and technical skills.
2.6 Create a two or three-dimensional work of art that addresses a social issue.
4.1 Articulate how personal beliefs, cultural traditions, and current social, economic, and political contexts influence the interpretation of the meaning or message in a work of art.
4.2 Compare the ways in which the meaning of a specific work of art has been affected over time because of changes in interpretation and context.
4.4 Articulate the process and rationale for refining and reworking one of their own works of art.
4.5 Employ the conventions of art criticism in writing and speaking about works of art.
Ninth-Tenth Grade English-Language Arts
2.3 Write expository compositions, including analytical essays and research reports.
2.4 Write persuasive compositions.
Eleventh-Twelfth Grade English-Language Arts
2.3 Write reflective compositions.
Teachers and Students
Image of protest sculpture in London. Caption reads: “Tens of thousands of marchers turned out in London to protest the war in Iraq and the British involvement. This sculpture was pulled through the streets.”
People’s Weekly World Newspaper Online
Article about the 2002 Earth Summit in Africa and the subsequent mounting of a protest sculpture. Title reads: “Earth Summit Hits Poverty, Pollution.”
Images of protest art performed at the Democratic National Convention of 1996. Caption reads: “This protest art involved two costumed politicians, an elephant and a donkey. They each rode ends of a seesaw with the white house in the middle. There is also a smoke stack plume of toxic waste being generated out of the white house. We had this see saw up during the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.”
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
This Teacher Resource page offers biographical information about Lorna Simpson, as well as a link to additional images of her artwork.
Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial
The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall created by Maya Lin.
Terese Agnew’s Web site, which explains her Portrait of a Textile Worker project.