Understanding Culture—And Each Other–Through Visual Art

This month, the students at Hot Spots Extended Care Programs got to experience creative, hands-on lessons about art. Here, the education professionals at Hot Spots provide additional information and detail activities that can reinforce this knowledge at home.

Through exciting, creative lessons that allowed for fun and learning, students at Hot Spots Extended Care Programs spent the month of April learning about art in many different forms.  Each week was spent learning about a different kind of art, creating art, challenging preconceived notions about art and expanding students’ knowledge of the art cultures of different groups around the world.

Curriculum that Creates Cultured, Empathetic, and Active Students

The Hot Spots Visual Art (Art in Action) lessons are more than just an opportunity for students to learn about and create art. These lessons helped students become more culturally aware, empathetic and even active. In being exposed to a diverse array of art, students are able to experience the cultures of different groups, whether local or faraway. The hope is that this knowledge base and experience will help to instill in students a value and appreciation for art, culture and diversity as they grow older. Further, students who use their minds in creative ways often develop emotionally and empathetically, helping them to build trust and understanding with their peers.

The Art in Action curriculum also challenged students’ notions that art is only a sedentary activity, by experiencing lessons on dance and theater. Such activities allowed students who prefer vigorous activity to try their hand at something new, and encouraged students who were timid to become more confident and active. In addition to this, the students learned about a wide variety of topics within the curriculum, such as:

  • Aboriginal Art – Students learned about the origins of Aboriginal art and the methods by which it is created. They then had the opportunity to create paintings in the style of Aboriginal dot-and-crosshatch art. This lesson gave a voice to native groups, and encouraged students to learn more about cultures different from their own.
  • Gesture Drawing – With the help of examples, photographs and enthusiastic student models, students learned about the Daumier style of gesture drawing, which helped them to understand the concept of proportion, scale, form, shape and line. When students began creating their own gesture drawings, they explored human anatomy, saw how their peer’s bodies shape changes when in motion, and became active in the classroom through teamwork and creative play.
  • Bowling Pin Painting – This lesson provided an interesting challenge for students: how does one paint on a three-dimensional surface? With lessons in painting background and foreground, and space for students to creatively problem solve, students showed off their creative flair and brainstorming skills while creating something truly unique.
  • Mini-Plays and Performances – Teamwork played a key role in the success of this lesson. After learning about the role of theater in transforming stories, students had to work in teams to put on mini-plays, which were performed in front of the group. This activity allowed students who were more gregarious to help students who were timid learn their roles within the performance and act expressively, giving everyone a chance to “shine on stage.”
  • Maracas – Instructors gave a lesson on how maracas are used in music culture around the world, and then gave students the opportunity to explore the instrument. Students used the maracas to keep a steady beat or sway in place to the beat. By seeing the different methods of creating music first-hand, everyone felt capable of contributing to the art.
  • Optical illusions – Students were taught about how space, shape and line are used to create images that look 3D on a 2D surface. After thinking critically about what they had learned, students were then given the chance to create a work of art, using a variety of tools to reinforce their very own illusion.
  • Graffiti – HSECP educators provided lessons on graffiti and street art before encouraging students to create their own using paint and other materials.  Students were able to showcase their unique style of art through these creations and some even emulated that styles that they learned about previously.
  • Interpretative Dance – Once again, students had the opportunity to get active in the classroom, and work with other students to tell stories through dance. HSECP students used what they were taught to brainstorm ideas for their own dance, and practiced their routines before performing them for the group.
  • Comic Books and Pop Art– Students engaged in lessons about contemporary artistry such as pop art and comics. After brainstorming ideas with their peers, students were provided the opportunity to create mini-scenes and their own unique characters in a personalized comic book.

Through April’s Art in Action lessons, the educators at Hot Spots Extended Care Programs aimed to give students the opportunity to learn about art through engaging and creating. These lessons provided students who would otherwise feel alienated by art to feel empowered to create their own. Having the outlet to get creative and activate new areas of their brains allowed students to problem solve, think critically and gain a new understanding of their peers and the world around them.

Hot Spots Extended Care Program builds custom curriculum which introduces students to nontraditional learning experiences while enhancing what they are already learning in Maryland schools. Each program works with its host school to structure curriculum based on the goals of the institution and the needs of its students. If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities offered through Hot Spots Extended Care Programs, or speaking to a Hot Spots representative about implementing the program at your school, contact us today!