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This format can broadly be subcategorized in three phases, and is best suitable for a multi-semester art program.  Nevertheless, it can be successfully compressed into two semesters. These general guidelines can be expanded for schools that offer individualized art classes in specific media, such as painting, sculpture, photography, etc.

Projects assigned during phase one and phase two must reference a limited number of selected professional artists whose work is to be researched by the students. However, it is of the utmost importance that the students DO NOT MERELY COPY the artists' work. The projects executed by the students may reference the artist's work in any combination of ways that requires to undergo an extensive investigation into the practice of the artist. The suggested selection criteria are indicated below.

Project assigned during phase three are intended to build the student's visual vocabulary and independent reasoning processes; thus are progressively less structured. During this phase the teacher will be able to assess the degree of freedom and independence the students are prepared to handle.
selection_ criteria
Phase One  

Projects are initially very structured and largely dependent on research.  All the material for the research required by the assignments is provided to the students through a single website address provided by the teacher.  Students are encouraged to conduct independent research; however it will not be necessary to fulfill the assignments.

Each project explores a specific medium, technique or style. If the school offers specialized courses in each media, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, etc., the teacher will be able to dedicate ample time to the exploration of styles within the realm of each medium.  If the school does not offer such variety of courses, the teacher may chose to emphasize media over styles. 

During this phase the student:

  1. learns basic art skills and techniques, such as the basic principles of art, the use of different mediums and the methods of expressing ideas in a visual language.
  2. familiarizes with major art avenues, such as art galleries, museums and art institutions widely known.
  3. learns the vocabulary and expressive language proper to the visual arts.
Phase Two back to top

Projects progressively become less structured and more creative freedom is allowed.

While most of the required material is still provided through a single website, the students will be responsible for conducting part of the research independently.

Projects may combine media and the student may be given the opportunity to choose a preferred medium.

It is suggested, if the parameters of the lesson plan allow it, that artists chosen for previous projects be selected again. This will allow for an in-depth study of one artist’s work.

During this phase the student:

  1. is exposed to the dynamics of art making.
  2. understands that concepts and ideas are not medium related and can be conveyed via multiple media and/or styles.
  3. begins to conceptualize their work and explore their visual language.
  4. begins to develop research skills and learn how to identify trusted internet sources.
Phase Three  

In this last phase projects focus on the creative abilities of the students who are given ample room to explore their own imagination and begin to build a personal visual language.

Students are asked to conduct research independently. A single web address is non longer provided to them. Instead, students will seek information on their own, using the knowledge previously acquired to source out trusted sources versus less reliable ones.

Students are asked to individuate artists whose work captivates their own artistic sensibility. They are asked to research such artists and establish why they respond to the work.

During this final phase the student:

  1. is led to think abstractly and make connection between concepts.
  2. learns to deconstruct the meaning and hidden codes of visual images.
  3. develops their own visual vocabulary and expressive language.
  4. develops higher thinking and independent critical reasoning.
  5. matures a sense of identity and cultural awareness.
  6. learns that in art there are no right or wrong answers.
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Please refer to the overview section for general selection’s criteria.

While it would be quite difficult to meet all the indicated criteria for each project, it is strongly suggested that an effort be made into including as many of these criteria as comprehensively possible within the parameters set for each lesson plan.

In selecting artists, the teacher should be particularly sensitive to how the students may respond to the particular artist's body of work and the level of likelihood they will engage with it on a personal level.

Furthermore, let us never forget that certain visual languages recurrent in the postmodern art context may be regarded as offensive or inappropriate for minors. The subject matter of the artist’s work must be suitable for the students’ age group.  e.g.  The work of Wangechi Mutu—an African female artist of international recognition, born in Kenia, graduated from the International Baccalaureate World College of the Atlantic in  UK (I.B.) prior to getting a BFA at Cooper Union in NYC, and represented in UK by The Saatchi Gallery—may be regarded as quite suitable at many levels, particularly for students enrolled in I.B. programs who can have instant proof of the value of their education.  Would you include her work in your artist selection? [view her work here]

  1. The artist’s work is featured in a major venue during the semester of studies.  Venues to be taken under consideration are: local museums and art galleries along with national and international museums or art institutions easily accessible via internet.
  2. The artist’s work has been extensively exhibited in international venues researchable via internet.
  3. At least half of the selected artists are members of a minority group.
  4. At least half of the selected artists' nationality or cultural heritage relates to the nationalities and cultural heritages found in the student body.
  5. Subject matter of the artist’s work reflects or can be bridged to a current issue or active debate in contemporary society.
  6. Subject matter of the artist’s work is suitable for the students’ age group.
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