In this lesson unit students will develop a personalized approach for photographing artists, artisans, craftsman, and other individuals who work in environments that contain their media, their work, their processes and the fruit of their endeavors. The broad goal of this project is to increase the awareness of the role and impact that the outsider arts may play in the lives of the less formally educated and those who encounter their work.

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Votive Paintings

It’s a miracle! My __________ was spared. The ______ looks over our____. We remember________.

Students will learn about ex‐votos and retablos then translate them into modern versions after looking at visionary artworks operating in the same visual language. The teacher will present and lecture about modern society’s reaction to the unfathomable occurrences that dot our life.

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The Development of Hero in Conflict through Print and Sculpture

Heroic identity is shaped through conflict, and the setting/societal class reveals characterization.Using Henry Darger, Lee Godie, and Elijah Pierce’s art as inspiration, students will create selfportraits that convey emotions using print medium, comic programs, wood and stone carvings.

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Maps of Our Life Journeys – Shadow Boxes

Students will look at the work of visionary artist Howard Finster and how his life wasdevoted to creating art that helped him spread the word of the gospel. Finster found it important to incorporate “moral words to live by” in his artwork to help guide us through the journey of life. His artwork demonstrated an embellishment of text, often verses from the bible. His images ranged from portraits of famous people, biblical icons and himself, all accompanied by words describing their life accomplishments and/or moral preaching.

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Creative Motivation

In learning about a range of outsider artists, such as Emery Blagdon and Michel Nedjar, students will create their own inspirational artwork. Students will choose an artist that motivates them, as well as discover materials that they feel connected to, and create both written and visual art pieces that express their personal ideas and desires.

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Painting the Sacred Self

Students will explore their individual beliefs by combining words and images in a self-portrait inspired by outsider artists Reverend Howard Finster, Lee Godie, and Willliam Hawkins. They will give text new life by combining several art techniques: portraiture (drawn from photographs taken by the students themselves), landscape, symbolism, and pattern. Students will combine and overlay these various techniques, along with text, to create a painted self-portrait cutout on wood.

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Expression and Experience of Self-Taught Artists of the African American South

Students will explore the creative work of self-taught African American visual artists and musicians (1865-present) to enrich their study of African-American history from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. Beginning with a washboard as a surface, students will utilize found object materials to make visual art assemblages inspired by the visual style of Thornton Dial Sr.

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