Below you will find a collection of papers and projects that were completed for my degree of Masters of Arts in Art Education from The University of Florida. These projects are vastly different in both content and style. They represent me in three facets: artist, educator and yes a writer. They embody my struggles and triumphs throughout the journey and highlight the victory at the end. The research that I did on the murals began as an assignment, however it evolved into a project and eventually developed into a passion. All in all they were crafted and created for “The Gator Good." Photo by Bria K. Hill on a campus visit (July 2015).
Check out some images from Summer Studio 2015
The contemporary mural phenomenon in Washington, DC began in 1968. My students walk past these elaborate murals every day as they come to school. One in particular is on the corner of Randal and Alabama Avenue in Washington, DC by Michael Hammond. They brought to me the questions: Who did this artwork? Can we do stuff like this too? Mr. Hill, how come you tell us about the paintings that are in the museums and we make art that is based off of that but you don’t tell us about the paintings that we see every day in our own neighborhood? They all had valid points. Because mural art is not a part of the mainstream curriculum and is not a part of the scope and sequence that is presented by DC Public Schools. Contemporary mural painting in Washington, DC is simply not taught. The focus of my capstone project was to document the history of mural art in Washington, DC and create a resource guide for art educators to assist them in including mural art as a component in their curriculum.
(2008) Michael Hammond, Washington, DC
• The comprehensive resource guide can be found: HERE
• The full capstone supporting manuscript is available as a downloadable PDF file
How do we make graffiti relevant in the classroom, how do we take an art form that many deem vandalism to an appreciated art form. There is a true history behind the art from the likes of Cornbread, Tracy 168, Revs to so many others that were not allowed to come public, because it was illegal. But the pendulum has swung yet again to an accepted art form. It is introduced beside pop art, dada, impressionism it deserves its place in art history. In 2015 it has taken reality television by storm with Street Art Throwdown a reality television show that glorifies the artistic talent and the risk involved in being a great street artist.
The word graffiti originates from the Greek word “graphein" (to write, draw or sketch) as well as the Italian word “graffito. Graffiti was originally used as a term to define the figure drawings found in Roman catacombs in Ancient Pompeii. Contemporary Graffiti has made it way around the world from the transit system of New York City, to war torn Iraq to the Berlin Wall with a message of ownership of time and place.
Chinatown Community Cultural Center is located in the Gallery Place sector of Washington, DC it serves as the central meeting place for businesses, tourist in and around the 3 block radius called Chinatown.
Street Art, Urban Art, Mural Art, what ever you want to call it, what is it that they all have in common? Art. Artist merit, composition, technique and value are all components of these aerosol generated images that took the art world by storm in the early 1970s. On the onset, not many knew how to accept the “tagging", defacing, anonymous acts of self-expressive attempts using public space as their canvas. Why did it take so long forthis genre of painting to be accepted mainstream? Was it a cultural divide that was present and not wanting it to be brought to the forefront? Yes, by the letter of the law during its conception there may have been some unlawful acts but that does not diminish the risk and talent that went into these creative masterpieces on the transit systems and the vacant buildings across the globe. Many world argue that graffiti art has more artist merit that the splatter paintings of Pollack or the “Fountain" of Duchamp. But the works of Cornbread, Tracy 168, Revs and Justin Bua deserve their place in art history.
Image from Street Art Throwdown on Oxygen
I have come to appreciate the city life, the hustle and bustle of constant movement of people the smog, the noise. I'm infused with customs and traditions of a major metropolis that originated from the West Indies that were deeply rooted with rural southern morals and values.
Group of third graders from King Elementary participated in a docent led gallery tour of the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC: How artists tell stories through lines, shapes, color and patterns.
Many people fall in to the stereotype of others on what it is that they see in the media both in print and through the various digital formats. But what about the people that we encounter visually with our on eyes, that are "different". How do we see those people? My students are all african american and they do not get the opportunities to see many people that do not look like them other than on the television, internet or in books [the media].
My research takes me in two directions. The African American art teacher is a notion that is missing in the field of art education. Where are they and why has a field that embraces diversity and a rich tradition of multicultural inclusion ignored the value of the black art teacher in the schools? The second component of my research is recycling and using recycled material as a viable art media in the 21st century public school setting.
[Image created with wordle.com]
Student Creative Recycled Art Program (SCRAP) in conjunction with the Office of the Clean City (OCC) of Washington, DC and The DC Public Schools (DCPS) is set to have its inaugural pilot programs. SCRAP will use the volunteers of the Adopt-A-Block program to separately collect recyclable materials that will be sent to city schools to be the major components of recycled art projects in selected elementary and high schools across the city. Schools will be matched with selected groups that have the responsibility of areas that have a history of a high volume of waste and recycled materials.
Teaching visual arts provides me an opportunity to share with children the beauty of communication through the senses. Visual arts provide children with an additional avenue for communication. Not every thought, feeling or idea can be with the written word; however, art is a powerful tool for non-verbal communication. Children observe how colors and images can capture their anger as well as their softer side. As a teacher, I try to reach children through their expressive abilities, while building on their cognitive abilities. Instruction draws on and reinforces conceptualizing, reasoning, sequencing, and other skills used in day-to-day and academic activities. I use art as a bridge between creativity and academic concepts.
[Image: Black in White selfie by Bryan Hill]
African-Americans have a rich culture as it relates to American Art history. Many of these artists were taught and trained by African Americans themselves. The New Negro Movement [Harlem Renaissance] that began in the 1920s, gave birth to numerous art departments in historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country. With the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education United States Supreme Court decision to desegregate the schools, the culture and heritage of African-Americans was not integrated into the schools and subsequently not included into art curriculums. Studies by Robert Clements have shown that African-Americans respond better to the arts when they are taught by African-Americans that have the opportunities to share personal experiences and familiarities as they have one common connection -- race.
[Image: John Biggers at Hampton Institute]
While in art school I wrote, “Art in the school curricula gives the student a vehicle to make a self-expression that is both creative and constructive. In creating a complete utopia, close the dictionary and open the child’s mind; because their description of an utopian experience is much greater than any written word could ever allow."
Edward Hopper put the viewer up high looking down in the quaint yet prestigious corner office. Can you capture more by being a guardian angel of sorts perched above looking down? Does this frozen moment of time represent a reflection of the very next calculated move?
Image: Office at Night by Edward Hopper
Instead of going to a cabinet, shelf or drawer to retrieve supplies to create art, lets go to the street, the playground and yes the trash to retrieve some of the things that others (including our own-selves) deemed worthless and lets create a story of discovery. In time if we do not collect this trash it will contribute to this ever-growing problem of waste that is affecting the world that we live in.
Image: Rubbish Sand People by Michelle Reader
Our unit is focused on how relationships, media, society and environment effect our identities [the identities of 5th grade elementary students]. Our goal is to engage students in inquiry activities focused around their exploration of their individual identities and where they fit in their world.
Image: Times Square cabs Skyline by Samuel D R Durkin
Project: Done in collaboration with Katie Kretchmar and Heather Denmark