Teaching with Contemporary Art

Hope and Change


Quite frankly, I cannot walk in and teach my classes with any sense of routine this week. Rebounding off one of the most historic and intense presidential campaigns in the history of the United States, it is important for teachers to give students a chance to say what they’re thinking and react to the events that have been brewing over the past two years.

Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States.

After this fact settles in, with both adults and young people, art educators have a unique opportunity to allow students time to respond to the election and the change this election has produced. Some suggestions:

  1. Ask students to create a poster that responds to the outcome of the election.
  2. After analyzing graphic designs and logos featured in each of the campaigns, have students create a logo for the new administration that brings together visual elements from both campaigns and incorporates the word CHANGE (or perhaps another word to focus the assignment).
  3. Have students create a series of drawings or collage for a 2009 calendar that features political commentary on the election.

Perhaps it’s part of our job to NOT proceed as usual this week?

Photograph (detail): August, 2008 Contemporary Art Start summer institute at MoCA, Los Angeles


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