This is a series of K-12 activities using art as visual language to illustrate beliefs and concepts. There are many questions in life that do not have answers and/or one question may have many answers. Every individual has a unique set of beliefs, values and perspectives that vary from person to person – art has the capacity to illustrate these concepts and differences.
Art is the Answer – What is the Question
Grade Level: K-12, adjust the complexity of the concept, medium and materials to the grade/ability level.
Subject: Visual Arts, Social Studies, Language Arts, Life Skills
Conceptual Art Definition: “An art form in which the artist’s intent is to convey a concept rather than to create an art object” (Meriam-Webster dictionary). It is important to note that in some cases artists create an art object and convey a message at the same time – see some of the images in our Gallery of Diversified ART for examples.
Objective: Introduction to conceptual art and using art as visual language to illustrate beliefs and concepts. These activities are designed to get students to think about and examine what art means to them and how art can be used to define personal, societal, cultural or global beliefs. It also encourages awareness and tolerance for differing beliefs and perspectives. Art is the answer – what is the question utilizes elements of 2 dimensional design, color theory, verbal presentation skills, multimedia, art history, critical thinking, creative problem solving, social studies, and encourages the life skill of tolerance (acceptance of differing beliefs, values, and perspectives).
Materials: Poster board used whole, halved or quartered. Markers, colored pencils, paints, magazines for collage or printed out digital imagery, glue. For advanced classes more advanced mediums can be used.
- Have students make their own poster or make one computer poster and make copies using only the words Art is the Answer – What is the Question, replace the image in the center with a blank box.
- Students will fill in the box with a drawing, painting, collage or digital image of what they think the question is, could be, or should be.
- Show examples of artistic works that use different ways of conveying the same concepts – art history or current trends in conceptual art.
- Open Discussion; what does art mean to you? If art is the answer what do you think the question is? How many questions can you come up with where art is the answer? How do your beliefs define what the question is and what art is? Draw or paint your answer in the box in the middle – as the image example shows.
- I chose a digital image of myself playing the banjo and used digital manipulation to include many colors because I am a visual artist who also plays instruments, so the question might be “what do I like” – art is the answer.
- What can be done to beautify the world? Art is the answer – in the blank box create visual representations of how art can help beautify the world.
- What can be done to promote world peace? Art is the answer – in the blank box create visual representations of world peace.
- What can be done to encourage acceptance of diversity? Art is the answer – in the blank box create visual representations of acceptance of diversity.
- Any question can be used as long as “art is the answer“.
- Each student can choose their own question based on their beliefs and perceptions of what art is and how art can be used to illustrate thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions OR the teacher can choose one question for all students to uniquely illustrate how “art is the answer” to that one question.
- This lesson can cross subject lines by replacing Art is the Answer with Science is the Answer – What is the Question, Math is the Answer – What is the Question, etc.
Critique: During the critique have each student discuss the imagery they chose, what the imagery means, why they chose it and how it relates to art, what medium/mediums did they use; this builds verbal communication, presentation skills, tolerance for diversity, and encourages reflecting on and examining ones beliefs.
Artistic Criticism: describe, analyze, interpretation, judgement
Assessment: Use a standard rubric to assess project and critique participation
Have fun with this, there are a lot of possibilities!