Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2nd Grade Art Lesson: Space Scultpure Park

For my 2nd grade art lesson today, I wanted to talk about sculpture, one of my favorite mediums.  I tailored a lesson for the kids to teach about one of the 7 elements of art: space.

We are spending the year going over all seven of them here: Line Shape Form Space Color Value Texture

I started by telling them that for today's lesson, we were going to be Curators.  I asked how many knew what a curator was, and only one hand shot up.  His guess was someone who cures people. Adorable, but I told the class that a curator was a person who gathers art in one place and shows it to everyone else.  I explained that today we were going to be curating a sculpture park by creating individual paper positive and negative space sculptures. Then we are going to gather our artwork in the front hallway for the parents to enjoy during pick up.

I started the lesson explaining what is space?

Space in a finished work of art refers to the two basic parts as the positive & negative.
A positive space is the space that is occupied by the thing you are drawing.
A negative space is the space around the thing you are drawing. Sometimes this can be called a background.

We looked at this image and I asked the children what they saw.

Some saw apes, while others saw a vase, and a few even saw a volcano. I explained that the positive space was what the artist drew and the negative space was what the artist left behind.  And it was up to us to decide which is which.  We were going to be using that same concept in creating our sculptures by using positive and negative space in our piece.

I showed images of Firefighters, a sculpture artwork in Pioneer Square, Seattle, by the artist Hai Ying Wu, a Chinese American sculptor best known for his firefighter memorials. I gave a little snippet of his involvement in a revolution that occurred in a place called Tenement Square and about his move to the US and ultimate settling at the University of Washington.  I also spent a little bit of time explaining how a call to artists goes out, how a jury selects a number of pieces they like, then a public hearing is called and how the artist is ultimately chosen for a location.

We talked about the firefighters and how the artist uses both positive and negative space in such areas as the hose, their masks and of course the beautiful artwork that is behind the firemen. I wanted them to concentrate on how the piece was not just a perfect example of space, but I wanted them to see how it was balanced.  I asked them to make sure that their final piece was balanced and able to stand on its own.

Last year a kind soul had generously donated tag board to me, so I brought it in to use since it was thicker then construction paper. But despite it being donated, it is still a little expensive, so I gave them copy paper and pencil to draw out their design before hand to make sure it not only used up the whole sheet of paper, but that it was balanced enough to stand. 

Once the students could show myself, their teacher, or my helper (thanks again to Mrs. Val!) that their copy paper sculpture used both positive and negative space, we handed over the tag board and scissors.

Here are close ups of some of the masterpieces from our sculpture park.

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