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Light & Lines

Go wild with lines, designs and colors! Imagine that you get to design an art installation that will be in a New York City Embassy. Look at what artist Odili Odita did, then make your own. You can even make several sets and change it up!

  • Grade 3
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Take students on a tour of their school building paying particular attention to the art posted on the school’s walls. Ask students to comment on what they see and what the school’s artwork communicates about their school.
    2. Upon returning to the classroom, ask students to consider their school building as an embassy, a place of official business. As ambassadors, or authorized representatives for a country with an assigned mission, students will be challenged to create a culture in the embassy that characterizes the purpose or mission of their embassy. Discuss what that mission might be and how the embassy might best reflect that mission.
    3. Once the discussion has concluded, introduce students to FAPE, The Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies, and its role in securing unique art pieces for U.S. embassies around the world. Ask students to ponder why it might be important to have significant artwork in our embassies. What statement does art make? What steps might artists take when preparing to create artwork for a specific embassy?
    4. Invite students to view and comment upon of Odili Donald Odita’s “Light and Vision”. This is installed in the U.S. embassy in New York City, NY. Teachers may wish to preview Oditi’s work to select the most appropriate treatment of subjects for students.) Have them share thoughts about this art and what emotional responses to the piece. What does this artwork say about the United States? Document student responses on a class white board for future reference.
    5. Using a photo of the space in the US Embassy in New York City, where the artwork “Light and Vision” is installed as a basis, ask students to use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils and a ruler to create a simple architectural drawing using elements in the original photo, such as elevators, doors, etc. Have all the vertical lines parallel and the horizontal ones to go to a common point off to the side; this will help the drawing look 3-dimensional in spatial perspective. Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils make it easy to draw simple one-point perspective, and erase any extra lines determined to be unnecessary.
    6. Students hold these papers up against a secure window with pieces of clean white paper on top. Use an Erasable Colored Pencil to trace the large wall areas. Cut these pieces easily erase any extra lines left on the edges. These are the 2 ‘wall space’ areas that are created to decorate as a personal artistic installation!
    7. As these wall pieces are decorated with bright markers, students may also use Crayola Metallic Markers to add some extra bling. The metallic sheen of the markers will coordinate great with the silver doors of elevators and doorknobs. To keep the sections above the doors like Odita did, lightly tape an index card to mask off only one section, with art on a piece of scrap paper so one can color right off the edge, creating a professional look.
    8. Provide classroom space for students to post their art creations and class time for them to present to peers. Encourage students to discuss their artwork and what it represents for their embassy.
  • Standards

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of masses of objects.

    MATH: Represent and interpret data.

    MATH: Reason with shapes and their attributes.

    VA: Artists and designers experiment with forms, structures, materials, concepts, media and art-making approaches.

    VA: People create and interact with objects, places, and design that define, shape, enhance and empower their lives.

    VA: People evaluate art based on various criteria.

  • Adaptations

    Invite students to create an architectural drawing of a space in their school and design an installation for that. Or, create the actual installation on large rolls of paper and temporarily hang it in place!

    Cut out interior photos from magazines and create masks of art. Attach them with repositionable tape and survey friends and family to see which is most popular. Encourage students to create different types of math graphs for this info!

    Enlarge a personal selfie in black and white, on a photocopy machine. Trace the architectural aspects of the scene out. Color the selfie and attach to the building’s interior instead of a design with different types of lines. How would this look in real size? What other huge images would make people think twice as they passed it on their (for example) way to work?


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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