Title: Picturing America
Essential Question: There are different ideas about what America is. How have artists represented America in their art?
Description: Examining an array of artworks that offer varied pictures of America helps students realize that “America” can encompass a wide range of ideas and images.
Title: Young America
Essential Question: How can art be used to explore American history from the time before Europeans arrived until the Civil War?
Description: Through artworks, students will explore the formation of the United States. Topics include colonial life and the American Revolution, Native American and Hispanic cultures, the westward expansion of the United States and the concept of Manifest Destiny.
Title: Civil War, Civil Rights, and the African American Experience
Essential Question: How does art help us understand the African American experience and the broad impact of the Civil War on American culture?
Description: This tour covers the period from the Civil War to the present and offers students ways to see how artists represent the changes and challenges of an increasingly diverse America.
Title: Immigration and Migration
Essential Question: How have immigration and migration – both voluntary and involuntary – shaped American culture?
Description: Not all migrations are voluntary, but all have consequences both personal and cultural. This tour explores people on the move, examining immigrant experience as well as American migrations from east to west, south to north, and from rural to urban areas.
Title: Artists and Social Change
Essential Question: How do artists harness their visual vocabulary to reflect and promote social change?
Description: Students will explore how artists promote awareness of social issues through their work. At what historical moments have American artists taken on this task?
Title: Power and Perseverance
Essential Question: How have Americans without power been resilient or persevered when challenges arose? How do artists engage with issues of power, or the lack thereof?
Description: Students will consider how artists engage with the issue of power and depict perseverance in the face of the major challenges of American history. From the forming of our nation to the testing of its ties during the Civil War and Reconstruction, the hardships of the Great Depression to the tumult of the 20th century, artists have used their medium to tell stories of empowerment and perseverance.
Title: Sense of Place
Essential Question: How do artists depict the relationship between where people live and who they are?
Description: By looking at landscapes, seascapes, and cityscapes, students will explore the influence of regional differences on art and culture.
Title: The American Mosaic
Essential Question: How does art reveal the shifting attitudes as well as experiences of the many different cultural and ethnic groups in the United States?
Description: This tour incorporates art that was created by and/or depicts Americans of varied cultural backgrounds, such as African-American, Latino, Native-American, and Asian-American heritage. Teachers, please clarify if you would like this tour to focus on one or several groups. This tour can also explore art that reveals the history of women in America over time.
Title: Varied Voices, Varied Perspectives
Essential Question: What roles do cultural, racial, and/or gender identity play in an artist’s work?
Description: Students will discuss art created by and depicting Americans of varied backgrounds to gain perspective on the variety of people who make up the American tapestry. Cultures of focus may include African American, Latino, Native-American, and Asian-American as well as exploration of women’s history.
Title: A Picture Tells Story
Essential Question: What stories can students find embedded in works of art?
Description: How can students “read” a work of art to reveal the stories within? Students will discuss narrative, character, and plot, analyzing visual clues that inform their choices.
Title: To See Is To Think
Essential Question: What can we learn by looking closely? What choices do artists make to communicate ideas?
Description: Students decode artworks to find hidden messages, gain critical thinking skills, and build self-confidence to read visual materials. Media, techniques, and vocabulary are introduced.
Title: What is Art? Choices Artists Make
Essential Question: How do artists craft their visual messages? What choices do they make to communicate ideas?
Description: Artists may make specific aesthetic choices in order to communicate social, political, or cultural ideas. Students will explore how artists construct their visual messages through subject, media, and presentation.