Contemporary Art
Most Recent Issue: April 2020

Contemporary Art

Art teachers provide opportunities for students to learn about, respond to, and create contemporary art. Students investigate the work of artists Tyree Guyton, Nam June Paik, and Ruben Guadalupe Marquez, explore surrealism and create otherworldly digital photomontages, assemble three-dimensional plywood portraits, and more.

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Written by Art Educators for Art Educators!

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts.

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STEAM
March 2020

STEAM

Art teachers share their STEAM efforts through a variety of powerful interdisciplinary lessons. Students experiment with electroluminescent lights, collaborate with science students to engineer moving mechanical insects, use natural materials to create colorful inks, explore surface tension with paper marbling, and much more.

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Design
February 2020

Design

Art teachers explore creative ways to teach design thinking concepts in a variety of media. Students observe a sculpture at an art museum and get inspired to create imaginative oversized coin reliefs, design and develop functional fashion accessories, deconstruct the classic color wheel to create contemporary compositions, design coordinated logos and business cards for an original restaurant, and more.

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Empathy
January 2020

Empathy

Art teachers explore lessons that encourage the development of kindness and empathy. Students express the concept of home and shelter through painted umbrellas, practice mindfulness in a variety of lessons inspired by artists such as Nick Cave and Yayoi Kusama, sculpt clay luminaries for a positive cause, collaborate with a visiting artist to wheat-paste messages of love and positivity, and more.

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Structure
December 2019

Structure

Art teachers provide lessons for students to build and construct with loose parts and three-dimensional materials. Students create mixed-media STEAM-based treehouses, build 3D mod pod houses from paper, study an outdoor sculpture and create pyramid assemblages, sculpt clay homes inspired by historical American architecture, and more.

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The Natural World
November 2019

The Natural World

Art teachers use the natural world as a stimulus for big ideas and enduring questions. Students create watercolor paintings inspired by Alma Thomas, research and sculpt insects in clay, collect materials to weave into personalized reed nests, use photo-editing skills to generate mythical beasts, participate in an outdoor art workshop, and more.

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Joy
October 2019

Joy

Art teachers express the concept of joy as it relates to art. Students create miniature, wearable eye portraits to gift to family and friends; collaborate with professional artists on an annual pen pal drawing project; assemble mixed-media boxes based on their favorite mythological stories; create highly individualized large-scale portraits; respond to street art and local mural festivals; and more.

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Testimony
September 2019

Testimony

Art teachers make a personal statement to start the school year and share their mission, teaching philosophy, and more. Students use their imaginations while learning about color theory and symmetry; attribute human characteristics to drawn and collaged robots; envision their future selves in an engaging drawing lesson; collaborate on a 3D cardboard city installation; and more.

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Empowerment
Summer 2019

Empowerment

Students are empowered to express themselves and take ownership over their art making. An art educator teaches English vocabulary to French students in a humor-fueled portrait lesson; middle-school students interpret core ethical values through a collaborative paper sculpture; elementary students use a new medium to create watercolor resists; and more.

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Sustainability
May 2019

Sustainability

Sustainability and environmental issues are highlighted through a variety of lessons that use recycled, upcycled, or renewed materials. Students compete in a fashion art competition and design clothing from sustainable materials; utilize recycled computer parts to build their very own robots; create Picasso-inspired cardboard relief sculptures; and more.

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