On its surface, art may seem to have one purpose or audience, but closer examination can help reaffirm a broader human connection. Art can speak to us no matter our background, race, gender, religion, orientation, ability, age, or socioeconomic status. Using art in the classroom allows us to celebrate diversity in a powerful and meaningful way. For additional information, this lesson concept can be paired with the resource set Bringing Empathy into the Classroom: Valuing the Differences.
Art is used as a platform of expression to communicate relevant social and cultural elements within our world. This resource can help teachers and students navigate authentic experiences of diverse groups with art through the lens of global citizenship.
Tolerance and Empathy Contract
Option one: Ask students to create a class list of rules when engaging with each other and other cultures with respect.
Option two: Use the following rules:
Invite students to examine three works of art at a time, possibly grouped by theme, subject matter, or location/origin.
Display and discuss the following topics for students:
Advise students to pay close attention to the topics above as they look through the images.
Either as a class or in small groups, have students discuss their observations of the works of art and produce a Venn diagram of similarities and differences in the pieces of art.
Guiding questions for class discussion.
Now that the students have had the opportunity to connect to the story/message of artists from a different background, have students select their own unifying theme and then find 3 pieces of art from the VMFA collection that communicate the theme but portray it differently.
Students should choose a theme that is important to including (but not limited to):
Have students create a Google Slide with the three pieces of art and display a completed Venn diagram with similarities and differences.
Have students research a selection of the works of art (the resource set can help) and explain what socio-cultural factors influenced the artists. Socio-Cultural Factors are the larger scale forces within cultures and societies that affect the thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Through the suggested digital platforms of FlipGrid or Padlet, have the students create a video or written response to two of the following questions. Students should incorporate their research into their responses: