Name of Project: Presentation - Public Art and Installation for Highschool Mural Group

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 with images of widely varying pieces of public art and installation. While watching the presentation, students take notes on what interests them and any questions they have. They will also be invited to make observations and voice opinions about the work presented. 

“Big Ideas”/ Essential QUESTION(s)

How are these artists contributing to the communities their works are surrounded by?

How are they encouraging interaction and collaboration?

How might the techniques used in the works presented be incorporated into the students' work?

Student Outcome Objectives

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

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

3. Students will write notes summarizing their opinions and ideas about the works presented.

Prior Knowledge

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

Examples of Artwork

Students will observe: 

Before I Die... by Candy Chang

Ginger & Olive Oil by Moju Manuli

Monument to the Great Northern Migration by Alison Saar

The Heidelberg Project by Tyree Guyton

Four Seasons by Marc Chagall

Brick House  by Chakaia Booker

Additional Resources


Students will be invited to voice their opinions and questions about each piece throughout the presentation. The instructor will ask students discussion questions about the meaning behind and execution of each piece. Students will also take notes which the instructor will collect at the end of the presentation and discussion.


Computer, projector, powerpoint presentation

Learning Activities and Timing

1. Topic is introduced, students are asked to write down several questions to respond to during the presentation. They are also reminded to writer down any questions they might have. (5 minutes):

Which techniques discussed could be adapted to your own work and the mural you're currently completing?

What are some benefits of making public installation art?

2. Instructor gives powerpoint presentation. After each piece is presented, students are invited to share ideas and opinions about meaning, craft, symbolism, and collaboration. Instructor should treat this as less of a presentation and more of a discussion. (30 minutes)

3. Concluding discussion (15 minutes). 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. It's important that the instructor treat this as a discussion rather than as a lecture and encourage all students to participate in that discussion by giving each space and time to talk. 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.