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Units February 8, 2022

Art & Design in the Community

Lesson Summary: Students build a comprehensive understanding of the historical origins and current effects of incarceration on contemporary art-making through collaborative projects, writing prompts, and a gallery exhibition.
Downloads: Full art & design in the community unit
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This college level art course was created by professors at California State University, Los Angeles, as part of the 2021 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately 17 weeks, or 17 individual lecture periods. This course was originally intended to instruct both students at the university and students in local carceral facilities, but the instruction in prisons was disrupted due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Course Objectives

  • Students will build a comprehensive understanding of the carceral state from several intersectional perspectives.
  • Students will build a comprehensive understanding of the historical origins and current effects of colonization, slavery, and incarceration on contemporary art-making.
  • Students will utilize writing and activity prompts from the 1619 curricular resource collection to analyze the readings and discussions presented in the class.
  • Students will respond to readings and poetry with weekly art-making assignments in a shared virtual studio.
  • Students will collaborate on a final group exhibition with an immediate call to action for its audience.

Course Overview

Utilizing the 1619 resource database, academic texts, data collections, and other multimedia sources, this class aims to create a comprehensive understanding of the historical origins and current effects of incarceration on contemporary art-making through collaborative projects, writing prompts, and a gallery exhibition. Key components of this course include the weekly class lecture and small group discussions that allow students to consider a variety of perspectives as they engage with course material and the focus on creating as a response to new learning. Students are not tasked only with reading, writing, and discussion week to week but also art-making and engaging with the local community. Peer critique is another important component of this course as students are tasked with building a truly collaborative exhibition in the end that has a clear unifying thread and call to action.

Performance Task

Art-Making:

Students will create original work in any medium inspired by the class readings and discussions.  

During the first half of the semester, students will utilize the studio portion of the class to brainstorm ideas, and will be expected to present sketches/ notes/ photos/ recordings during the first round of critiques.  

During the second half of the semester, students will create an artwork or series of works for a culminating group exhibition with a call to action for its audience.

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