Across the United States, February is reserved to celebrate accomplishments in Black History. Social studies classrooms always have an advantage in this area where Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement take center stage. As remarkable as those accomplishments still are, they are not the only topics that should be discussed or covered in this context. In fact, a number of notable movements and individuals have risen to prominence before and after that time period and have made significant contributions in African-American history and to help shape the United States to what it is today.
Students in the Academy Art: Studios classes studied African-American artist Romare Bearden. Bearden’s work reflected his life and experiences living in New York during the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920’s and 30’s, prior to the rise of MLK and the Civil Rights Movement. He commonly used an application of collage techniques in his pieces. Students created artwork using a similar technique with some pictured here. Although not all of their pieces are explicitly African-American, they are based on his techniques and inspired by Bearden’s work.
After that, the classes began studying artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, a contemporary street artist whose work became “high art” in the 1990’s. There is a documentary titled “The Radiant Child” that takes a look at the artist and his works. Both of these artists have made significant contributions to the art world and are worthy of study.
See more images of students working after the jump.