Mementos of War

Through this lesson students will create and explore imagined, yet plausible, journeys triggered by war. Using WWII as a backdrop, students will confront the same realities that our ancestors did decades ago. Outsider artists, Kid Mentz and Howard Finster, will inspire the students to create artistic expressions which represent their past lives, their journeys and their life lessons.

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Healing Treasures

With artists such as Judith Scott and Emery Blagdon, their work was an obsessive expression of very personal needs; one focused on treasured items and the other on healing those we treasure. This project will honor things/people/places that students both treasure and find to have a healing effect, while also using the obsessive nature of creating these pieces as a healing process.

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The Healing Powers of Art Making

By discussing the work of self-taught and mainstream artists, students will learn that there are varied and original ways to express a connection between healing and making art. Students will use paint and found objects to create personal artwork and experience the transformative powers inherent in art making.

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Bookmaking, Murals, Journaling

Students will design and create a journal to record their writing, ideas, and sketches using found materials bound with waxed twine. Drawing inspiration from the social history of DuSable High School, whose motto is “Peace if possible, but justice at any rate,” students will explore personal memoir writing, free choice writing, and mural depictions inspired by Henry Darger and James Castle.

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Follow the Alphabet Road

Students will create mosaic sculptures in this lesson, which is designed to engage them in service-learning pedagogy centered on authentic problem solving of community-based issues. Seeking inspiration from the outsider artists Howard Finster, Simon Rodia, Leonard Knight, Isaiah Zagar, and Dr. Evermore, students will create a visionary environment in the school garden with focus on animals and plants native to Illinois.

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Outside/Inside

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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