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Tag Archives: Faith Ringgold

Teachers and Students Go on Adventures in Art

by Natalie Goodnow, Artistic Associate

Theatre Action Project (TAP) teaching artists Frank Nappi and Lindsay Palmer had the unique opportunity to craft linked curricula for their 2nd grade after school classes at Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary. They focused on the work of four artists: Frida Khalo, Rosa Bonheur, Salvador Dali and Faith Ringgold.

Actor Frank Nappi guided the students through an interactive process drama framing the entire semester as an urgent quest. He began the semester by showing students a short video which he filmed with another Teaching Artist, Miss Kate Shaw. She was in disguise as the mysterious super villain, “Z” who explained that he had magically captured teachers from the students’ very own school and transported them into famous paintings by artists such as…you guessed it– Frida Kahlo, Rosa Bonheur, Salvador Dali, and Faith Ringgold! Z cackled that the students had no hope of ever rescuing their teachers, because they knew nothing about art!

After seeing this video, the students could not wait to prove the mysterious Z wrong!  With visual artist Lindsay Palmer, the students:

  • Learned about the historical context in which these artists lived.
  • Asked big questions about why and how these artists engaged in discussions of activism about the social issues of their time.
  • Created their own artwork inspired by Kahlo, Bonheur, Dali, and Ringgold.

Back with Mr. Frank, the students engaged in narrative pantomime and improvisatory play to further explore the artists’ work. Using just some tape lines on the floor, and a lot of imagination, the students crafted a magical airplane that could journey straight into the paintings themselves, where Mr. Frank used narrative pantomime to guide students through the worlds of the paintings, their sights, sounds, smells, and textures, their people and places, and then finally (through the power of improvisatory play, also known as make believe) to rescue their captured and beloved teachers.

I’ll venture to say that the students retained much more historical knowledge than they would have had they been taught it in another way. The arts-based teaching strategies gave them a compelling need to learn that information, and also fun and hands-on ways to learn. They also learned social-emotional skills such as teamwork, confidence, and leadership, as they strategized how to work together to create these works of art, and to rescue their teachers.

And that’s how it works! Theatre Action Project uses the creative arts to activate the social, academic, and emotional development of young people. In school, after school, in our communities, every day!

Special thanks to Teaching Artists Frank Nappi and Lindsay Palmer for all your hard work this semester, and for ACE Afterschool Program Coordinator Jennifer Corrigan for your support!

George and Martha, The Wump World, and Tar Beach

by Cassie Swayze— After School Programs Associate VISTA

Hello again from TAP’s librarian! I’m here today to share a few more of my favorite storybooks. TAP has a vast library with a myriad of resources. It’s hard to choose just three!

One of my favorite – and one of the funniest – books in the TAP library is George and Martha by James Marshall. The book features five stories about two best friends and loveable hippopotamuses, George and Martha. These stories are pretty silly but the underlying message of friendship, compassion, and sharing shines through. In one funny tale, Martha makes far too much split pea soup and George, out of politeness, eats even though he can’t stand the taste. Instead of telling Martha he doesn’t want to eat anymore he hides the soup in his loafer! The story ends with Martha and George reconciling over a plate of cookies. This is just one example of a sweet and funny yarn with a message about friendship and honesty. I would highly recommend George and Martha for children and adults alike!

Another beautiful and educational book that I love is The Wump World, story and illustrations by Bill Peet. This is the story of the Wumps who live on the Wump World planet. They play and frolic all day in the meadows and crystal-clear rivers of Wump World. Then one day a fleet of potbellied monsters zoomed down to the Wump World and out marched the Pollutians from the planet Pollutus. They take over Wump World, driving the Wumps underground, and build cities full of skyscrapers, apartment buildings, overpasses, and underpasses, cars, and trucks! Soon Wump World was overrun with pollution:  smog and smoke filled the air and the water was no longer clear. The Pollutians decide to leave Wump World, leaving the Wumps to clean up the mess. Although the illustrations are simple the book will spark conversations among students, children, and parents. This is a powerful book that uses a simple metaphor for conservation that even young children will appreciate.

The last book I want to share with you is Tar Beach, story and illustrations by Faith Ringgold, which was my favorite book as a child. I love Tar Beach’s for its beautiful illustrations, magical story, and since the main character’s name is Cassie! The book begins with Cassie remembering, “…when the stars feel down around me and lifted me up above the George Washington Bridge”. She goes on to describe Depression-era Harlem and the New York City from above as she flies through the night sky. Ringgold used quilt painting – acrylic on canvas paper and fabric – to illustrate this wonderful, timeless story. We have several of Faith Ringgold’s books in the TAP library, If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks and Cassie’s Word Quilt, which are both wonderful storybooks.

If you would like to browse all the children’s books in the TAP library, please visit our Shelfari.