Magazine article School Arts

Dinner Party for an Artist

Magazine article School Arts

Dinner Party for an Artist

Article excerpt

One challenge in teaching tenth grade students who come from very diverse backgrounds is how to introduce them to a variety of artists within a five-month semester system. Hence, the Dinner for an Artist problem was developed.

My goals were for students to research well-known masters and contemporary artists, use technology as a resource, and present findings in a group installation. The art problem was based on Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party, which is a work of art consisting of thirty-nine place settings using various media commemorating women's achievements. Students were asked to develop a place setting, which would honor a chosen artist. The place settings in turn would be presented in a group display.

Materials included plastic plates, goblets, forks, knives and spoons, acrylic paint, fabric, silk-screening supplies, and various mixed media.

Procedure

I compiled a list of artists from which students could select. Each student was asked to pick two names. This was done as a draw, adding an element of chance and excitement, while at the same time avoiding duplication of artists. Students did preliminary research on both artists before choosing the artist to represent. This research was presented to the class, so all students became familiar with all the artists. The remaining names were made available to students who wanted to change their selection.

Each student submitted and shared with the class a research paper about the chosen artist, including style, common themes, media used, techniques, titles, and dates of works, as well as any facts that may have influenced the artist.

Students developed thumbnail sketches of their plate and utensil designs as a response to the artist. Disposable plastic plates were primed with white acrylic paint to prepare them for the project. The plate was designed first so that the goblet and utensils would coordinate with the plate.

We also completed fabric placemats. Due to time restrictions, with the semester quickly coming to an end, and to fulfill the printmaking requirement for the course, I decided to use a silk-screening process. …

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