Name of Project: Presentation - Chicago Mural History supporting school hallway mural

Grade Level or Age of Participant: 9th grade 

School, Teacher and Classroom: Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts, Dorian Sylvain

MCAD Teaching Artist:  Zoja Chmielarczyk

Overview of Project

Students watch a presentation of images of murals in Chicago, starting with the Wall of Respect and moving forward to the current activity of the Chicago Public Art Group. Students then discuss the relation of the techniques used in these murals to the work they are doing currently and will make connections between their own work and the work of past Chicago mural artists.

“Big Ideas”/ Essential QUESTION(s)

How has the work students have been doing in this project been informed by the history of mural art in Chicago?

What techniques did artists use in the past that are being/could still be used now?

Which of these techniques could be used in the execution of the mural on-site?

Student Outcome Objectives

1. Students will infer meaning from symbolism, imagery, and other artistic elements used in each piece presented.

2. Students will relate the pieces presented to the progression of Chicago mural practices and the work students are doing now.

3. Students will consider and share ways that the techniques and ideas presented could be incorporated into their mural.

4. Students will apply some of the techniques and ideas presented to their mural.

Prior Knowledge

Students will have discussed the Great Migration, basic mural-painting techniques, the elements of art, and symbolism in previous classes.

Examples of Artwork

Students will observe: 

The Wall of Respect by the Organization of Black American Culture

All of Mankind by William Walker

Another Time’s Voice Remembers My Passion’s Humanity by Mitchell Caton and Calvin Jones

The Great Migration by Marcus Akinlana

Woodlawn Works by Rahmaan Barnes, Damon Lamar Reed, Max Sansing, & Bernard Williams

Martin Luther King Jr. Living Memorial  by John Pitman Weber and Sonja Henderson

Sepia by Rahmaan Barnes & Max Sansing

Love by John Pitman Weber and Anna Murphy

Additional Resources


Students will talk about the work shown at the end of the presentation. The instructor will ask discussion questions and give students space to voice their opinions about the meaning behind and execution of each piece.


Computer, projector, powerpoint presentation

Learning Activities and Timing

1. Introduction of topic (5 minutes)

2. Powerpoint presentation (15 minutes)

3. Discussion questions (15 minutes) :

After learning about these artists, how do you think your mural may have been influenced by them, by other murals you've seen, and by mural history in Chicago?

Which techniques used by the artists in the presentation most interested you? How could you bring some of these into your own work? 

Teaching Artist Reflection

This lesson is very specific to the class it was prepared for (a group of students working on a mural in their high school). It can give students an idea of how their work fits into a larger context and inspire them to work in new ways or with new materials. Because it is a powerpoint presentation, students could lose interest so it's important to take steps to prevent this. Asking students questions about their ideas and opinions about the works presented will keep them engaged and interested and provide the instructor with feedback on their teaching methodology.