African American Artists
March 04, 2008
"For two weeks in February, Black History Month, I teach about Black artists becoming successful artists because of their bold themes, vibrant colors/textures, and understandable simplicity. I take three artists from the Harlem Renaissance - painters William Johnson and Jacob Lawrence, and the collage artist Romare Bearden - and let the kids choose whether they want to paint or collage. They draw a human figure in familiar poses that reflect their own lives, much as these three artists captured their own lives. They add color to these drawings by filling in with watercolor, oil pastels or cut paper from magazines. So many cross-curricular lessons are available through this single art lesson, and since none of the three artists were strict realists, there are few stressors for the students in trying to achieve success. "