I moved to D.C. because . . .

Visitors looking at Jacob Lawrence's The Migration Series (1941) at The Phillips Collection. Photo: Max Hirshfeld

Visitors looking at Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series (1941) at The Phillips Collection. Photo: Max Hirshfeld

This spring, Jacob Lawrence‘s art inspired second graders in Mr. Frazell and Ms. Crossons’s classes at the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School to study the migrations of those around them. Using a worksheet created by their teachers, the students interviewed family members or friends who had moved to Washington, D.C., from another place, asking about their first memories of arriving in the city and what they remembered about their old homes. Then they studied their interview notes and chose one sentence to serve as the caption for artworks they would create. Then they identified the shapes, lines, and colors that would best communicate the emotion of the piece.

Students used color pencils to sketch designs. Since many of the drawings were rich in detail, students were encouraged to simplify and identify a focal point to translate into a painting. Following Lawrence’s process, students created outline sketches on panels and used small Post-it notes to label which color would go in each shape. Maintaining Lawrence’s method of working, students painted one color at a time. They applied light colors first , added dark colors the next day, and finished with final touch-ups.

Second grader Alexandria interviewed her Auntie Marian for this piece. Take a look at her worksheet to learn more about Marian’s migration and how Alexandria selected her caption, Marian: “I decided to move to D.C. to seek a good job.”

Marian: “I decided to move to D.C. to seek a good job.” Alexandria, 2nd Grade Tempera paint on illustration board. Photo: James R. Brantley

Marian: “I decided to move to D.C. to seek a good job.” Alexandria, 2nd Grade Tempera paint on illustration board. Photo: James R. Brantley

Second grader Jonas interviewed a man by the name of Joe Howard who had moved from Japan. For his artwork, he chose the caption Joe: “I moved from unique Japan to the crowds of D.C.” Take a look at Jonas’s worksheet for a map he drew of Joe’s route.

Joe: “I moved from unique Japan to the crowds of D.C.” Jonas, 2nd Grade Tempera paint on illustration board. Photo: James R. Brantley

Joe: “I moved from unique Japan to the crowds of D.C.” Jonas, 2nd Grade Tempera paint on illustration board. Photo: James R. Brantley

In June, students celebrated with a community celebration at The Phillips Collection, where they got to see their artwork on the walls of the museum in a Young Artists Exhibition, which you can currently see in our Sant building (level L2).

Paul Ruther, Manager of Teacher Programs

Photo of second grader Jonas and Phillips educator Paul Ruther during a community celebration at the Phillips in June 2012. Photo: James R. Brantley

Jonas and I looking at his artwork in the Young Artists Exhibition together during the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School Community Celebration at the Phillips in June . Photo: James R. Brantley

Inspired!

Photo: Sue Ahn

Museum educator Donna Jonte with students in the gallery. Photo: Sue Ahn

First graders from the Inspired Teaching Public Charter School visited the museum last week as part of their year-long partnership with The Phillips Collection. The newly opened Inspired Teaching school is in its first year and is creating arts integration projects that will be exhibited in the museum as part of the Phillips’s Art Links to Literacy Program. On this visit students viewed Elizabeth Murray’s Sun and Moon, Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series, and then created Lawrence-inspired collages in the museum’s art workshop.

Hip Hop N’ Ya Don’t Stop: Jacob Lawrence Inspires A Rap

Students from Takoma Educational Center, three in Harlem Renaissance-style costume, look at work by classmates based on Jacob Lawrence's The Migration Series. Photo: James R. Brantley

Working with a work of art like Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series as often as I do, it is easy to become jaded by what truly is a masterpiece of American art. Countless school tours, in-classroom workshops, reading and re-reading our dense teaching kit, sharing the same stories of its inception and creation would make any museum educator tire of the series. However, last week’s Community Celebration with the middle schoolers of Takoma Education Campus  illustrates how no matter how many tours I give, I will always be inspired by The Migration Series and the way it connects with people of all ages. Continue reading “Hip Hop N’ Ya Don’t Stop: Jacob Lawrence Inspires A Rap” »