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Symbolism in Art: Read a Gordon Parks Photo Like a Book (7th Grade)

Symbolism in Art: Read a Gordon Parks Photo Like a Book is an Arts Partners program developed in 2015 with funding from the Ulrich Museum of Art.

Students see symbolism every day in emoticons, but what constitutes symbolism in great works of arts, and what is its purpose? Reading a Gordon Parks photograph is like reading a book. Using no words to communicate, Gordon Parks distils his story into a single frame. The "reader" will metaphorically step inside the scene to explore the photograph moving from place to place, imagining, interpreting, and discerning symbols. As understanding develops the "reader" begins to imagine the story. Looking closely at the photograph, students will discuss what is seen within the context of the photograph. Open classroom discussion inspires deeper understandings about the photograph's context. The goal of this workshop is to create a process in which students will express their own interpretations based on their own level of critical thinking, and draw upon their own knowledge and their own unique history. The practice of imagining words where no words exist stimulates confident oral and written work.

This workshop can be presented singularly or in combination with Ms. Cunningham's book-making residency, Illustrations and Book Basics.

Artist: Susie Cunningham

Science was used as we learned color placement on color wheel. We talked about the physical elements of our environment while painting a landscape picture. Suzie patiently worked with kindergarten students and gave them a very successful artistic experience.
P. Auchterlonie, Caldwell Elementary, Wichita

Our students absolutely loved the papermaking program.

Ms. Jones, Mead Middle School, Wichita
Format Audience Size Grade Level Curriculum Cost
Workshop one class Grade 7 - Grade 7 History / Social Studies
Kansas History
Language Arts
$85/45-minute workshop

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City of Wichita This Organization received funding for general operational support from the City of Wichita.