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.”
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.
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