Sunday, February 26, 2017

Romare Bearden Inspired 'My Block' Cityscape Collage

After their Pop Art inspired print project, 4th grade artists looked at the work of another American artist named Romare Bearden. An African American artist, Bearden lived and worked in Harlem, a neighborhood in New York City. We looked at and discussed one of his collage artworks called "The Block." 
Romare Bearden, The Block (1978)
Students noticed that there were many different buildings and details -- windows, people, signs, etc. Students also noticed that some of the buildings looked like they were made of different materials, such as brick. We discussed how the street in a city is very busy, with many different kinds of buildings, such as apartments, restaurants, and stores. We noted that although you can tell that it is a city street, some of the colors, proportions, and views are not completely realistic. For example, some parts of the buildings are cut out so that you can see what is happening inside, and the light bulb in one of the rooms is much larger than the people around it. The longer we looked at it, the more there was to see! 
Then we began our own mixed media collage artwork, using a long piece of construction paper to start the city street. We talked about what kinds of buildings students could add, and how to overlap and layer different materials together to add detail and interest to our street. There were many different materials to choose from, including construction paper, corrugated paper, metallic paper, fabric, felt, tissue paper and foam. Students thought carefully about what other details they could add to their street, such as traffic lights and stop signs. 
After they were done with their mixed media collage, students used a skinny Sharpie to add details such as window frames, bricks, and signs for different buildings. At the end of our project, we did a gallery walk so we could see everyone's work.
Many students were proud of specific details in their mixed media collage, and their use of a particular material. Some students found it challenging to work with the fabric and felt materials and add the level of detail they wanted with them. Below are some examples of our finished collage city streets, inspired by Romare Bearden. 
Aleks, 4th Grade (Dubuque)
Andrew P., 4th Grade (Doherty)
Bruno, 4th Grade (Mattson)
Dorie, 4th Grade (Doherty)
Emily, 4th Grade (Doherty)
Emma B., 4th Grade (Mattson)
Gabe, 4th Grade (Cikacz)
Gustavo, 4th Grade (Graves)
Jack, 4th Grade (Mattson)
Jaylyn, 4th Grade (Dubuque)
Lialah, 4th Grade (Cikacz)
Liliana, 4th Grade (Cikacz)
Max T., 4th Grade (Graves)
Max H., 4th Grade (Mattson)
Sona, 4th Grade (Doherty)

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