Understanding self and society through the visual arts
Capstone Project (B.A.) Liberal Studies Department
There are growing concerns that traditional public schools fail in giving children a sound basis of values to prepare them to think critically and take responsible roles in society. This capstone project focused on using the rich resource of contemporary art to engage students in a discourse about present day social issues, and their relation to personal values and ethics. The project was comprised of five workshop classes held at the Boys and Girls Club in Santa Cruz for children ages eleven to thirteen. Each class was centered around a contemporary artist, or collective group of artists that have a shared theme. Students were introduced to the artist(s), analyzed the issues they address, and examined how the aesthetics and finer nuances of their artwork function to communicate a message. They used their understanding of the artist, as well as their medium and process to create artwork emulating the artistâ€™s style. However, the context of the artwork was constructed under their own discretion. Thereafter, students shared their artistsâ€™ statements with the class. Studentâ€™s demonstrated a deep understanding of the artistâ€™s role in society, how art can be powerful and transformative and how the artists studied in each lesson were being socially reconstructive, through the explication of their work.