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AP STUDIO ART-Breadth Assignment #12

Questions to ask yourself:

Why do artists follow or break from established traditions?

How do created images cultivate appreciation and understanding?

How do images influence our views of each other and the world?

How does making art attune people to their surroundings?

The Importance of Visual Art Education

View the following images and discuss whether or not they effectively communicate the message that the visual arts are an important part of education.


This lesson had been graciously shared with us by Ms. Carrie King, high school art teacher at Mt. Eden High School in Hayward, CA.  Here is a direct link to her lesson:  Thank you Ms. King!

You have completed a number of challenging assignments up to this point.  One of the main components of an effective piece of art is the ability to communicate the artist's message.  You must communicate your message without using words.  This can be more difficult than you expect.

Here are some recommendations that you must employ:

1. Do lots of preliminary sketches and ask friends and family if they "get" what you are trying to convey.

2. REDO your sketches if they don't "get it".

3. If an image you create gives you that "excited" feeling in your gut, it's probably the one you want to pursue.

Some preliminary questions to ask yourself:

1. Do artists have a role in reflecting and commenting on the society in which they live?

2. Should artists provoke divergent (differing) points of view about political, moral or other issues?

3. What are some issues that our community/school/nations/world is currently confronting?

4. How might an artist depict one of these current issues in order to promote constructive discussion?

Goal: Create a visual image that clearly communicates a social issue.


1. Study an artist whose work is concerned with social issues.  Some examples to consider:

Picasso, Guernica

Goya, God Save Us from Such a Bitter Fate

Goya, The Third of May, 1808 in Madrid

Greuze, The Father's Curse: The Ungrateful Son

Kollwitz, Woman with Dead Child

Kuczynski, Islands

Kuczynski,  Confessional

2. Select an issue that you have strong opinions about or reactions to from the list below or come up with your own.  There are no topics that are "off limits".

3. Do some research on the topic - gather facts and statistics BEFORE designing your piece.  YOU MAY NOT USE ANY WORDS!  You must tell the story visually.

4. Narrow the scope of the issue tomake it personal for YOU and for the VIEWER.  Decide the angle from which you will approach the issue.  

     What is it that "moves" you about this topic?...BE SPECIFIC!

     Determine what kind of statement you want to make.

5. Do a minimum of 5 thumbnail sketches.  Each must be TOTALLY different in the way you express the single idea.

6. Execute the best of the 5 sketches in a medium of your choice.

7. Be prepared to share the COMPLETED piece for a critique along with the 5 thumbnail sketches and the research information you have gathered.


1. Size: between 8x10 to 9x12 inches with a 1/2" border

2. Medium: your choice

3. Must CLEARLY communicate your chosen social issue topic.


Work to be handed-in:

1. 5 thumbnails: hand in to Aspen

2. Final art for iCommunicate, size between 8x10 and 9x12 with a 1/2" border

Examples of possible topics:

Man's Inhumanity to Man:

     War, Genocide, the Holocaust, Rape, Murder, Human Rights Violations, Sex Trafficking, Internment or Concentration                    

          Camps, Refugees, Slavery, Terrorism, Bullying

Urban Issues:

     Homeless, Gangs, Drugs, Prostitution, Poverty, Class Struggles, Education, Crime, Rich/Poor Gap

Health Issues:

     Abortion, Cancer, Infanticide, Mental Illness, Eating disorders, Opioid addiction, Suicide, Euthanasia

Family Issues:

     Divorce, Abuse, Stress, Single-Parent Homes


     Racism, Ageism, Gender Bias


     Famine, Drought, Pollution, Destruction of the Rainforest, Endangered Species


     Political parties, the Economy, Corruption

These are just suggestions.  If you have an issue you would like to pursue for your project, please do so.  Just make sure it is something you are passionate about and that you can effectively communicate in a purely visual image.

So I need to communicate my message in an effective manner....

How do I do that?

Click here to download a paper copy of the lesson.