Last summer our 4th grade language arts teacher reached out to me and asked if I could do an art project to accompany her classroom study of Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance. I love doing cross-curricular projects and was excited about the opportunity. I went into the project planning on doing a project inspired by Aaron Douglas as I've taught his work before and love him but instead decided to try something new. At the NAEA conference in New Orleans a few years back I took a workshop on Romare Bearden so this was a perfect opportunity to use that experience in my classroom.
I started by researching Romare Bearden because I honestly knew next to nothing about him and his work. As I did so, I fell in love with his collages and am so intrigued by his process.
4th graders watched a slide show of his artwork and we discussed his life and his process of creating art. The students had lots of interesting insight and ideas about his work.
Before beginning the project, students had to come up with a design inspired by a dream, a memory or a story. They began by doing a quick sketch of the composition.
The class before beginning the collage, students used texture plates, oil pastels and watercolor paints to make colorful textured painted paper.
Using this, construction paper and magazine clippings, students started their collage.
They began by collaging the backgrounds of their designs, they thought about the sky, the ground and things such as clouds, mountains or lakes in their images.
The results were really awesome and best of all, the 4th graders really seemed to love this project. They were super engaged with the process until the very end. A lot of proud artists with this one.