Teacher’s Guide to Using the MY HERO Virtual Art Galleryby by Victoria Murphy, The MY HERO Project
Subject Arts - Visual
Each one of us has a unique notion of what heroism means. MY HERO invites students to explore this topic using an art form of their choice. MY HERO’s Virtual Art Gallery allows students who are visual learners to participate and express themselves through the creation of an original work of art that can be accompanied by a written component and published online. This is an excellent project for team teaching and collaboration between English, history, social studies and art teachers.
Students will visually explore the concept of heroism by viewing relevant artworks from the past and present. Students will create original works of art that celebrate heroic actions, presenting their unique vision of heroism. Students will publish their art online and share their digital images with others around the world on the MY HERO Web site’s global gallery. Students will be encouraged to write a brief explanation of their work to accompany their image on the Web and to include links to relevant sites.
Introductory history of art texts and posters, biographies of famous artists, and movies of artists and other heroes from our culture can create a climate of creativity within the classroom. History of art books like those written by H. W. Janson or Frederick Hartt are filled with images of heroism from around the world dating from ancient times to the present. Biographies and films such as The Diary of Anne Frank , current art periodicals ( Art News and Artforum ), as well as news articles and photographs of heroes, provide other sources of inspiration to help students get started. An online resource, The MY HERO Web site at www.myhero.com hosts a directory of hero stories, other artwork featured in the MY HERO Art Gallery , and a virtual library to assist students.
Teachers can select wonderful examples from the history of art, beginning with the very first images from caves 15,000 years ago to the magnificent and heroic work that Michelangelo accomplished in the Sistine Chapel ceiling fresco cycle. Pablo Picasso's Guernica painting was the reaction of a patriotic and outraged Spaniard to the bombing of the small town in Spain by the Germans in 1937. That painting created a reaction throughout the free world that still resonates today. Insightful portraits of Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, the Dalai Lama or Nelson Mandela stand as symbols of the individual's power to create positive change.
Images from the past to the present can be found online. Here are some suggestions:
Lascaux Cave Paintings; Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Ceiling; Michelangelo's David; Goya's Colossus; Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People; Picasso's Guernica; Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California; and Margaret Bourke-White's Gandhi Beside His Spinning Wheel
The following images can be viewed in The MY HERO Virtual Art Gallery:
Nathan Smith's Wheel of Faith
Ron Kovic's I am an Artist
Ron Kovic's Blue Ship
Dan Eldon's Journals
Materials required to create artwork: different kinds of paper, crayons, chalk, paints, clay, and magazine clippings.
Equipment required: computers with Internet access and illustrator programs like Adobe Photoshop, digital cameras, and a scanner to scan artwork to upload to the MY HERO Art Gallery.
Activities and Procedures:
MY HERO encourages you to consider the following activities/questions:
1. An initial class discussion of heroism and heroes from our own time and from history.
2. A class discussion examining the differences between a hero and a celebrity.
3. The introduction of the old Chinese expression: "A picture is worth a thousand words." Art is a universal language and it is also a succinct way of expressing complex thoughts and ideas. Using symbols and colors to communicate allows for immediate recognition by others. During the process of creating a work of art, students will be able to view each other's original art and recognize their peers' talents and ideas.
4. Visualize an example of heroism in action.
5. Visualize heroism in a unique and personal way. For example, is there a member of your family or community whose life has made a difference to you? Can you honor him or her with a poster?
6. What art medium (drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, photography, digital media, video, animation) allows you to express your vision most clearly?
7. Do you know of an artist whose art is heroic? Write about this artist and illustrate your essay. Still not sure what you want to say? Read what art historians and critics say about the artist you have chosen.
8. Illustrate an existing story from the MyHero.com database and submit that illustration as your original work of art. Be sure to include a link to the Web page you have chosen.