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Philip Adomat

African American Art and Artists Unit (Grade 7) Webercise

History of African American Art

There were many historical and cultural 1) Who were two well-known artists of that era?
factors that led to contemporary African 2) What were these artists famous for?
American art. The class will be divided 3) What opportunities were available for artists of
into 5 groups that will create a segment that time?
of a timeline that we can post in the 4) What impact did the artists have on their time
classroom for an overview of the and culture?
achievements of African American
artists. On a Word document, put the
time period on the top, what the era was
called, and discuss the answers to the
following questions:
Early 17th-Early 18th Centuries—Pre-
Colonial, Antebellum, and Civil War
1866-1920s –Post Civil-War
1920-1940—The Harlem Renaissance
1950s and 1960s—Mid-20th Century
1980s and 1990s
Harlem Renaissance

With a partner, read through the 1) Why did African Americans move to Harlem?
selection on the Harlem Renaissance. 2) How is the Harlem Renaissance related to the
Download the t-chart with two civil rights movement?
categories: 3) Who were the prominent people of the civil rights movement?
emplate/SKZ9X/simple-t-chart-model- 4) How did the Harlem Renaissance artists build on
word/ African American culture?
Label the column on the left “Quotes,”
and the column on the right, “Why
These quotes are Significant.” Your t-
chart should contain at least 5 quotes
and cover the following topics:
Famous African American Artists

Students work in groups of 6. Each 1) Why did this person become an artist?
group chooses one artist from the 2) What kinds of barriers or challenges did he or
website and reads about his or her life. she face in being an artist?
After reading the passages about the 3) What kind of art did he or she create?
artist individually, discuss the answers 4) How did this artist’s work reflect the African
to the following questions with the American community?
group. One person will synthesize the 5) How was the artist recognized (or not) in his or
thoughts from the group and use her lifetime?
Microsoft Word to write down the
answers. Students will print out a
picture of the artist in addition to the
description of the artists. Pictures and
descriptions will be posted on a bulletin
board with the heading “Famous
African American Artists.”
Artistic Styles of African American
Artists in the 20th Century /1106/photo_essay.jsp?page=4

This website provides a photo essay of 1) What is that style of art?

some prominent African American 2) How does an artist create that style of art, i.e.,
artists of the 20th century. Each student what materials and techniques does an artist use?
will choose an artist from the website. 3) Find 3 examples of that kind of art.
The student will focus on the artistic 4) How did this style of art contribute to African
style of that artist, e.g., African masks, American culture and history?
and get information about the artist’s
style from the website. Find at least 4
websites that explain:

Explanation of Webercise:
At the beginning of the unit on African American Art and Artists, students will learn about the
artistic contributions of African Americans throughout history. The first website will give
students an overview of those contributions. The need to interpret the written information in
order to write about the important aspects of an era. As a group, they will discuss their
interpretations, question one another, and write about two artists of an era. Together, the class
will synthesize the information from the different groups to create a timeline.
The second website focuses on one of the most important eras in the history of African American
art that influenced contemporary artists—the Harlem Renaissance. The students will read a
selection about the Harlem Renaissance and create a t-chart working in pairs. The left side of the
chart are five quotes covering several topics (listed above), and the right side is the students’
interpretation of the quotes. The higher-order thinking processes involved are discussing,
writing, analyzing, choosing, examining, questioning, and writing.
After the students gain an understanding of the history of African American art, they will focus
on learning more about prominent artists.The third website will be used by students working in
small groups to focus on the life of one famous contemporary African American artist. The
students will read and discuss the passage and one student will synthesize the thoughts of the
group discussion by writing a description on a Word document with group input. Higher-order
thinking: choosing, discussing, analyzing, organizing, and writing.
The fourth website focuses on the artistic styles that African American artists use by looking at
“photo essays” of select artists. These photo essays describe the artist’s style and what influences
the artist drew on to develop his or her style. The students need to retrieve further information
about an artist’s style and find four websites that would explain what that style is and how it is
created. After inquiring into different artistic styles, the students need to evaluate how this style
contributed to African American art. Higher-order thinking: evaluating (choosing, assessing),
synthesis (writing), analysis (choosing, examining, questioning), and application (interpreting
and writing).