STUDENT TASK

Community Arts Showcase

Do Something
Grade Level

What?
Students produce original art that conveys an anti-bias or social justice message then work with school staff to plan a public showcase of their work.

 

Estimated time

Two to three weeks
 

Why?

Arts encourage deeper levels of thinking, exploration, discovery, creativity, choice and engagement. Diverse learners and students of all ability levels can communicate expressively via the arts. In addition to skills learned and practiced through the creation of the artwork, students also gain valuable collaborative and leadership skills planning the event.
 

How?

Get Ready

  1. Share examples of art that has inspired you, or share visual texts from the Perspectives Text Library. Use the anti-bias themes to illustrate the way art has been used to raise awareness and promote social change.
  2. Connect and plan with colleagues in the art and drama departments.
  3. Assess whose help and what resources you need to host the showcase. Where will you get supplies? What venue will you use?
  4. Determine if students will work individually or in groups.


Get Set

  1. Provide students with information about supplies, work schedules and due dates. Use the rubric to define expectations and project components and to clarify how you will assess student work.
  2. Introduce students to the Do Something Student Planning Guide and use it to help students plan their artwork. Allow a spectrum of student choice—poetry, dance, monologue, painting, musical performance or multimedia compositions. The planned artwork should directly connect to student understanding of the anti-bias and social justice themes in the central text. 
  3. Encourage students to conduct additional research using searches such as “social justice art,” “folk art,” or “multicultural art.”
  4. Provide students with ample time to think, brainstorm, collaborate and create. Students have a lot of freedom to interpret this task. A great arts showcase will include performance as well as visual art.
  5. Spend time as a class determining roles and responsibilities for the showcase by completing the Community Arts Showcase Planning Guide.

Go!

  1. Students finalize their art and prepare for the showcase.
  2. Decide the time and location for the showcase. It might take place during class, on an alternate schedule day, after school, in the evening or on the weekend.
  3. Throughout the showcase, tie student art back to the work being done in class and the social justice themes highlighted by your students.
  4. Take photographs of the showcase and use them in a digital or paper scrapbook that celebrates the event.


Reflection

Use journal writing or Talking Circles to facilitate student reflection. Suggested reflection questions:
  • What was your favorite piece in the showcase? What were its strengths? How was the piece effective in conveying the theme?
  • Discuss the effectiveness of using art for social justice change.
  • What did you learn from this experience? What about the process stands out for you?
  • How did the showcase relate back to the central text?
  • What did you learn about social justice art from outside resources?


English language learners

Integrating the arts gives English language learners the opportunity to engage in new and varied approaches to learning, understanding others and communicating their own ideas.2 English language learners have choice in this task; students can select culturally familiar artistic mediums or branch out and try something new.


Connection to anti-bias education

Visual and performance arts can be a highly effective medium for teaching social justice.3 The arts have historically communicated ideas about oppression and provide a way to re-envision the world free from injustice. An arts showcase can be a powerful, hands-on way to see that art can both educate and instigate change. The task can prompt wider discussions about social justice and allow students to reflect on the experience of sharing anti-bias messages with an audience. The reflection, and your guidance within the process, can nurture student growth, talent and self-expression.