Monday, August 22, 2016

Unity and Variety in Art

E pluribus unum. Out of many, we are one. It's true for a great nation and true for a great class.

I started this school year, a couple weeks ago, by trying to create a sense of community in the classroom, so I asked students to talk about the things we have in common. We all live in the same state, spend our days in the same school; we all like music, on and on. Then everyone shares something about themselves that makes them unique. They each have something special to offer the group and it helps when they recognize it and say it out loud. We listened to each other's favorite songs, and looked specifically for repetition in the music and how it unifies the piece. Then we listen again for variety and how the words are changed up or a bridge is added to make it more interesting. This is how it works in visual art as well. Repetition is one way to create a sense of unity in a painting or sculpture. Variety within the repetition makes it interesting. We chose to spend an entire week focused on making circles. One shape, repeated again and again would be pretty boring except that we made them with a variety of sizes, colors, and decorated with different patterns.

We ended up cutting out half of the circles to make a collaborative art piece on the hallway bulletin board. The words, "Our commonality unites us. Our diversity strengthens us," were in the center in print and braille, along with the art standard which requires that each student "Discusses and applies concepts such as...variety within repetition." Empty toulle spools were used to make some of the circles pop out from the board, at varying depths. The students stapled circles, while I hot glued spools and they were pretty pleased with the results. Here is to a year of unity and cooperation among my art students, and to finding the common ground to unify us as a nation and as human beings.

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