March 2, 2022 | Clara Buckley
In the past few years, there has been a move to reconsider public memorials and statues. Movements like She Built NYC are advocating for wider representation in public memorials. Memorials have been relocated or removed, sometimes controversially, by governments, organizations, or groups of individuals.
A personal memorial to Hamilton Dimaya
This term students researched memorials in Washington D.C. before designing and sculpting a clay memorial for their choice of subject. To deepen their understanding of the societal, historical, and cultural context of memorials in Washington D.C., students considered key questions drawn from the Visual Arts Standards.
A landing craft for the D-Day Landings
How do memorials reflect the history and values of America?
How do memorials reflect changing times and traditions in America?
How, and why, could memorials influence the ideas, beliefs, and experiences of Americans?
How are memorials used to represent, establish, reinforce, and reflect group identity in America?
Flowers to symbolize George Washington’s perseverance and thoughtfulness
Students incorporated symbolism often seen in paintings and sculptures in their memorial designs. Did you know bamboo symbolizes longevity whereas laurel symbolizes victory? Both a dog and bear are symbols of friendship.
A Grammy award for Selena Quintanilla
When working with clay it is important to persist in developing skills, even when the clay does not do what you want it to do! (Visual Arts Standard Cr2.1.7a) Students were introduced to the technique of relief sculpture, where the sculpture seems to grow out of the wall. Because a relief is attached to its background surface, problems of weight and physical balance are more easily resolved than in a free-standing sculpture.
An oak tree to symbolize the bravery of Naya Rivera
An MVP award for Jackie Robinson
Older students were challenged to demonstrate a willingness to experiment, innovate, and take risks in the process of art-making or designing. (Visual Arts Standard Cr2.1.8a)
A memorial for comedian Roberto Gomez Bolańos
As we near the end of the project, students will paint their sculpture and write a plaque with identifying information of their subject.
A gavel and lace collar for Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Looking at memorials in this way helps students build empathy across social and cultural boundaries. Connecting with other cultures and new ideas through art invites our students to step out of their comfort zone and into the world. This process can help them learn to respect people and events that are different from them and their experiences.