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Could We Learn Peace by Doing a Piece?

Author: Kathryn Long


West Philadelphia High School

Year: 2006

Seminar: Visual Art and Society

Keywords: design, discovery, History, murals, Philadelphia murals

School Subject(s): Arts

This unit uses Philadelphia’s renowned murals to connect two subjects, social studies and fine arts, and it is intended for use in either area. The curriculum, which is geared for 7th through high school, is meant to emphasize peaceful collaboration while teaching the visual art of murals and the social issues surrounding them. The students will use research skills to uncover the facts about Philadelphia’s murals and the history behind them. The final outcome of this unit will be to design a mural, in the following stages: the discovery, the design and implementation, and a role play community meeting for the final approval of the work.

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Full Unit Text

This unit uses Philadelphia’s renowned murals to connect two subjects, social studies and fine arts, and it is intended for use in either area. The curriculum, which is geared for 7th through high school, is meant to emphasize peaceful collaboration while teaching the visual art of murals and the social issues surrounding them. The students will use research skills to uncover the facts about Philadelphia’s murals and the history behind them. The final outcome of this unit will be to design a mural, in the following stages: the discovery, the design and implementation, and a role play community meeting for the final approval of the work.


“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” (Aristotle)

In this curriculum unit, students will explore the significance of mural art in Philadelphia and its impact on the city. Following the same process of development and production used in murals created by Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program, the students will design a mural.

As the librarian at West Philadelphia High School, I recognize that independent research and hands on learning helps motivate students. Graffiti and violence is a big problem is our school and community. This unit will present the process of mural making as well as a peace making process.

The school’s demographics paint a sobering, although not a unique picture. The school population is 99% African American. We face learning deficiencies, with 74% of
students being below basic in their math and reading according to Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test scores. Many of the students are special needs children (16%) and absenteeism is widespread. With over 1,000, students the school is separated into 4 separate academies, each with a learning specialty. The specialties are business, communication, and technology; one academy is dedicated specifically to the 9th grade . The school has a small number of English Speaking Other Language,(ESOL) students, and is designated as a poverty “Title I” school. We do not meet the average yearly progress set by the district as an improving school.

Visual arts can play an important role in the learning process. Visual arts speak a universal language–they provide a symbolic way of representing the world. Abraham Maslow said, “The arts are far closer to the core of education than are the more exalted subjects.” (Jensen 49). However, the arts are not seen as important in the public schools– perhaps because they are not core subjects, and are not able to be assessed through testing.

Yet the impact the Mural Arts Program has on Philadelphia is not merely positive, but revolutionary. Where the city was once covered in graffiti, it is now covered with more than 2,000 murals. (Golden, 6) 100 more have recently been installed on public school buildings. It is a pity the students have no input in the process of developing the murals, as there are many what valuable lesson to be learned there Linking art with the school community through social studies takes the “meat and potatoes” of the core curriculum and puts “sugar” on it to make it more appetizing. The revolutionary program of peaceful collaboration, instituted by the Mural Arts Program, has had an impact on the city—so why not bring it to the schools?

Some reasons for developing this curriculum are: to educate students to look at and describe a work of art; to be able to relate it to real life, to analyze and interpret the artists’ intent; and finally to evaluate on a personal level as good or bad. Our students need to be prepared to enter the workforce in the twenty-first century, and being aware of their visual environment is a necessity. Students in Philadelphia as well as other major cities see graffiti as a symbol of hopelessness–a sign that the school and neighborhood are out of control. A beautiful mural is a reminder that things can change when people care. It is a political statement, and often memorializes people who died violently, usually in vain.

The murals are relevant to students because they invite questioning and investigation. Students see a portrait of a friend or know of someone in the mural and wonder how and why they were included. They need to know the background–the what and when and how of making of the mural, the entire process. This includes not only the hard work of creating the mural but the research that led to the beautiful result.

The Mural Arts Program is used to give voice, empowering people collectively and individually. Jane Golden Heriza, the founder and director explained the function of the Mural Arts Program clearly when she said “Murals work on a symbolic level, providing opportunities to express important concerns, values and aspirations-their
yearning to be free of violence and fear, their hopes for a better world, their desire for beauty.” (Golden 11) Murals are relevant because they allow students to raise questions about people and things that are all around them. When students identify a portrait of a friend or know of someone in the mural, and they may wonder how and why they got there.

An outstanding example of the link between the community and the school is the House of Umoja, which is dedicated to the positive development of youth. The House of Umoja is a program that enlists youthful offenders in the making of a mural. It focuses on co-operation, so they learn to “make peace by doing a piece.” Founded in 1968, the House of Umoja resulted in a reduction in gang deaths as documented by law enforcement, academia and the news media in Philadelphia.(Fattah, 1). Umoja participants perform other services to the community besides mural making, in programs such as “Peace in the Hood.” This is an outstanding program which greatly reduced gang violence in Philadelphia. The “Culinary Arts Component” and “Food of Thought” provide emergency food assistance and self sufficiency services to neighborhood residents. Like the Mural Arts Program, Umoja is an organization that reduced violence and abusive behavior and improved the quality of life for the economically disadvantaged urban youth.

As an art student and a practicing artist I understand that art produced today is related to that of the masters of the past. I intend to make the study of art history an important part of the curriculum. This brief summary of art history will not by any means an in- depth study, yet it will be important to the understanding of the subject. Since the Renaissance, governments, churches and businesses have used murals. From Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel to Diego Rivera’s frescoed corridor in Mexico City, murals have been used to preserve for posterity the traditions, values and memories of their patrons. According to Ellen Dissanayake, (188), “Art has many functions such as parentchild bonding, community building, ritual and tradition embellishment, honoring the dead, and identity formation. These functions tie together the social aspect of cultural identity with art.” Art making may have emerged as early as 1.5 million years ago with the arrival of Homo erectus.”(Jensen 52) Cave paintings from France and Spain show prehistoric humans’ ideas of the hunt. Picasso got it right when he said “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” This diary of documenting the past provided the tribe an outlet for expression and communication and to document the tribe’s history.

Going back in history, artists have always found new ways of painting that led to where art is today. During the middle ages, which lasted from about 500 to 1500 AD painting on walls or mural panels were common. Icons were an important part of worship of the eastern Orthodox Christianity. At the end of the period the scale of the painting was drastically reduced to fit a manuscript or easel that represented religious texts such as the bible.

In the early 16th century, Leonardo da Vinci, painted a huge fresco covering the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. Later, in the 17th century the Baroque style
was prominent. An Italian ,Caravaggio, was the best known painter of that era. Toward the end of the 18th century European painters turned to a form called neoclassicism. The subjects were taken from the classical (Greek and Roman) world.

What the patron wants and what the artist wants are not always the same thing. When Rivera was commissioned to paint murals in the Rockefeller Center he sneaked a visage of the communist leader Lenin in the middle of it. When he refused to change it, the mural was whitewashed. Rockefeller said the “piece is beautifully painted, but it seems to me that the portrait appearing in the mural might seriously offend many people. If it were in a private house, it would be one thing, but this mural is in a public building and the situation therefore, is quite different.” (Marling 31) The same issues occur in public art today: that what is offensive and displeasing to some people might be free speech to others. Mural artists in the United States have been more timid in many ways than those of the Mexican mural movement.

A great example of the lasting power of murals is Maxfield Parrish’s “The Dream Garden.” In 1916 local artist Maxfield Parrish designed “The Dream Garden” (6th and Walnut St.)at the Curtis Building. It is a beautiful representation of a peaceful garden that still stands today.

In 1933, George Biddle, a friend of President Franklin D. Roosevelt convinced him to create a partnership between artists and the government. The purpose was to provide jobs for artists, for small communities to express pride in their own histories, and to create visual propaganda to reassure the public that communities in troubled America still held untapped potential for progress. In Biddle’s words, “I am convinced that our mural arts provide impetus can soon result, for the first time in our history, in a vital national expression” (Marling, p.31). Under the Works Progress Administration, the Federal Arts Project was created, which used public money to support artists during the Depression. The results of Biddle’s efforts were 1,116 murals and 301 sculptures in U.S. post offices and courtrooms.

As with the Mexican movement the U.S. artists also flirted with liberal ideas and received criticism as a result. For example, artists painted socialist symbols into a mural in the Coit tower, a monument to the San Francisco firefighters. As a result, the Department of the Treasury imposed strict guidelines and required excessive oversight of the artist by the government department or other representatives of the community in which art was to be installed. Often the Treasury officials required artists to make changes to the subject matter or style of their murals prior to community approval. At the beginning of the 20th Century, abstract art, and in particular cubism emerged as a prominent style of painting. Cubism is a style of abstract painting in which the forms of objects are reduced to the simplest shapes and were often broken up so that more then one side of an object could be seen at one time. In the 1920, muralist Diego Rivera studied cubism but later focused on painting colorful simple forms. He brought back the fresco, which is the art of painting by pressing earth colors dissolved in water into fresh plaster. He painted large murals focusing on industry and social history.

In the United States there has been a strong tradition of realism since colonial times. In 1913, abstract art was introduced into America and New York became the center of painting. Painters used large canvases to express their feelings. Later, in the 60s Pop Art painters were inspired by common objects.

The subjects artists have painted through the centuries are important to the understanding of mural art today. As we have said, religion had been a prominent subject for hundreds of years. Among the most famous painting in the world is Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, painted on a church wall in Italy. Other painters have focused on famous legends and events in history. Still others have shown scenes from daily life, or genre paintings. Streetscapes, cloudscapes, cityscapes and landscapes are popular subjects in murals.

Relevant to the teaching of murals is the design of a painting. This is the arrangement of line, color, tone and texture in an expressive pattern. The combination of colors and shapes can communicate a mood or a sensation of space, volume, motion and light. Painters also use geometric shapes such as squares, circles, and triangles. Although paintings are two dimensional, the use of these elements, as well as shading, can make them appear three dimensional.

In mural painting, artists use brushes or paint rollers to apply color to the surface. The erection of scaffolding in order to buff and prime the wall is essential for this enormous job. Waterproof paint is applied to the mural then an acrylic coat is applied to protect it from the elements.

In Philadelphia Jane Golden, who got her start with the Anti Graffiti program, was pivotal in stopping graffiti by recruiting wall writers to sign up and join the program. Because of the program the troublesome youths changed their ways. Kids were given a chance and were hired to paint murals. This program gradually evolved into the Mural Arts Program of today.

Current murals that came out of the Mural Arts Program will be discussed in detail. Like paintings from the past, present day murals in Philadelphia include allegory. Such symbolic use of figures is evident in Josh Sarantitis’s “Colors of Light: Gateway to Chinatown”(12th and Vine Streets, Philadelphia, 2000), which depicts new generations carrying Chinese heritage and values into the future. This mural as well as his other works show human aspiration and are a visual homage to the Chinese culture passed down through generations. Represented in the mural are the old scrolls opening up to children laughing and playing on a swing, who in another scene grow into laughing adults.

Another of Sarantitis’s murals, “Common Ground,” depicts the resolution of community rivalries. The mural shows the children of the Grey’s Ferry neighborhood in Philadelphia, together, all with smiling faces and with the words “common ground” in
large print in the background. This mural sends a message of respect and unity and shows the diversity of the community by showing children of many races. A great mural by Sarantitis, the “History of Gray’s Ferry” uses two walls to tell of the past and future of the community. Sarantitis depicted the feeling of the past with a mural of a pastoral scene of a forest and animals that once roamed the area. The future is represented by a young African-American girl with a present day bridge in the background. She wears glasses and looks intelligent and hopeful as she gazes at a flower she is holding up high in her hand.

Numerous other murals are based on generations of family history. These murals take stories passed down orally through the generations and show them through pictures. A Puerto Rican community at 2nd St and Susquehanna Avenue has a wonderful mural entitled “The History of Puerto Rico” by Dennis Daly. Residents call the mural Raices (roots) because the history of the island—from the Taino Indians to the Spanish conquerors to the farm peasants and on to the baseball great Roberto Clemente—is painted brightly surrounded by a beautiful garden. The community had a voice in this design, making sure that such symbols of their culture were depicted in a sensitive way. The idea that community input is a valued in the making of murals is a common theme throughout the curriculum.

Some murals depict famous celebrities from the community such as Mario Lanza, Marian Anderson, Wilt Chamberlain, and Paul Robeson to name a few. Conflicts regarding these murals have erupted however, when the subject of the art was not universally appreciated. For example, former mayor Frank Rizzo, who was either loved or hated when alive, was immortalized in a mural. He was a symbol of troubled times in Philadelphia history. An aggressive cop who later ran the police department, Rizzo was accused of encouraging brutality. His tenure came during the 70’s, a time of great social and racial unrest. Located on 9th street in South Philadelphia, this mural has been a target of politically motivated graffiti. “The people who don’t like Rizzo see the mural as a symbol of his aggressive, larger the life imposing figure” said muralist Diane Keller (Golden, 101).

Keller’s other mural, “Frank Sinatra, ‘The Chairman of the Board,’ (1999) is located at Broad and Wharton Streets,1999. Some fans complained that the image was a caricature, showing the famed singer to be too brooding and world-weary. The community wanted his face repainted. This was not an unprecedented request. However Keller, in the case of the Sinatra mural, refused to change anything. Mural Arts Director Jane Golden usually takes the side of the community in such disputes but opted not to this time. She was in the impossible position of trying to please everyone. Golden has had conflicting demands put upon her. Integrating social studies with visual arts is by no means a modern or novel method of teaching. The call is for the curriculum to be more applicable to the daily life experiences of the students. Combining subjects to meet objectives makes the curriculum more meaningful. This curriculum purposefully draws together art history with current
murals. Working out the design and the process of mural making can be the catalyst for peaceful collaboration .This curriculum takes the student out of the classroom and into the life of murals and then into their own culture–at the same time incorporating the history of art and finally asking students to design a mural. Students take note of successful programs such as the House of Umoja, the Anti Graffiti Program and the Mural Arts Program and bring those successes to their classroom to learn peaceful collaboration.


As a librarian, I am certified to teach kindergarten through twelfth grades in library science. The goal of making the subject interesting and relevant to their lives is challenging as a teacher. Finding something that incorporates research with hands on art is something that our ever active population can relate to. It is important that students of art learn to look at it, talk about it think about it and experience it. Discussion of art should welcome personal experiences and makes connections to everyday life.

Educational theorists have long advocated integrated, multidisciplinary educational philosophies and curricula, both the fragmentation of separate subject areas and to encourage learning that connects ideas and concepts. They have called for the arts to be the catalyst that bridges subjects and connects instruction with other subject areas. “Teachers have the responsibility to challenge existing structures, practices, and definitions of knowledge; to invent and test new approaches; and, where necessary, to pursue organizational change in a constant attempt to improve the school. At the same time they must be committed to the students’ self-esteem, motivation, character, civic responsibility, and their respect for individual, cultural, religious, and racial differences.” (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards)

I feel that a team approach involving art teachers with the core subject areas is appropriate to this unit. For this approach, time for planning, research, and implementing with the teachers is critical. At the conclusion of this unit I would like my students to be able to:

  1. Have a basic understanding of the history of art.
    Students will become knowledgeable about the development of art, and aware of its impact in the present day production of the mural. The student will be able to explain the progression of art from the Renaissance style of the past to the Conceptual forms of today. This objective covers the Academic Standard for Arts and Humanities “Historical and Cultural Context (9.1).”
  2. Explain the material and surfaces used for painting both indoor and outdoor murals.
    The students will explore the different methods, such as the parachute and the grid for applying the mural to a outside wall and the different paints and tools to apply the paints. They will be able to demonstrate both methods.
  3. Understand the formal (style, composition, design, drawing) aspects of the mural.
    Students should be able to verbally state how these elements fit into a work as a whole and how they affect the work. For example, they should be able to describe how color, form, line and layout control the motion of the eye around a given work. Covers standard (9.1)
  4. Understand the importance, in mural art, of both creativity and getting the message across. Students will be asked to choose their favorite among a group of murals and reflect on the reasons why. This objective covers the Academic Standard of critical response (9.3.8G).
  5. Understand that common themes in literature can be illustrated different ways. Students will be asked to look at different treatments of the same subject in art and literature and explain how they differ. This objective covers the Academic Standard (1.3) for reading, analyzing and interpreting literature.
  6.  Learn to communicate peacefully while working with group members whose opinions differ while choosing a design for a mural.
  7.  Students will appreciate mural designs in and around their community and school.
    Students will be able to orally explain the impact it might have on the community.


This unit will employ strategies such as inquiry and questioning, whole language, cooperative learning, creative and critical thinking and webbing. Assessment strategies such as journals, portfolios, will be helpful. However, the ideal outcome will be to have a piece finished and exhibited. Students will become familiar with the artistic learning process during which they and their mentor/teachers continually analyze and assess their own work.

Rothkopf (1972) stated that teachers could insert prompts, cues, and questions to guide unsophisticated students in what to notice and how to process new content. Levin et al. proved that verbal facts could be presented through carefully designed illustrations with mnemonic value to greatly help students’ long-term recall of complex, meaningful information. This technique of learning is referred to as the mural method, which
involves combining stories of an unfamiliar topic to memory through visual representations. An example of this learning strategy is the flash card, where a picture is worth a thousand words. Visual learners can remember pictures, then the content. This style of learning is incorporated in the lesson plans for this unit.

The library power model stresses the use of collaboration between teachers and the librarian. Another great feature of the model is flexible use of library time. In other words, the teacher can come in every day for an entire period or schedule a part of the week depending on the interest and success of the class. Ideally, this is the way the library should work. Sometimes the librarian has a class or small group scheduled and assigned to the library.

To have adequate time to learn the background of art and about the politics of murals in the city, the time allotted for this unit should be a period of six weeks, everyday for at least 45 minutes long. The grouping of students will vary according to the activity.

The Philadelphia school district has mandated that in order to graduate, each student must submit a senior project. These are usually done as PowerPoint presentations. This curriculum unit would satisfy this requirement for graduation—the student could credit for a finished mural rather than a presentation.

Although “Could We Learn Peace By Creating a Piece” will include lectures by the instructor on art history and mural making, student engagement is necessary for the success of this unit. One strategy will be to look directly at the murals. If funds are available, the class will make use of a disposable camera to photograph murals and later discuss them in class. A bus a tour of Philadelphia murals will also be a great motivator. Students will be asked to compare and contrast murals they have seen on the tour or documented through their own photography. Searching for information is an important library skill. The social studies component will be addressed by finding information on a Philadelphia event or important person who is the subject of a mural. Students will be asked to present a short paper, along with appropriate visual material. In this section, students will hone their library skills.

Collaboration and making use of each other’s knowledge is an important and necessary skill in the making of murals. Brainstorming, group research, and cooperative learning are all strategies that will be used. The outcome of the process is a mural with a message. We will use the democratic strategy of fair play by voting for the best mural .

Classroom Activities

Lesson Plan #1

Title: A Mural Tour of Philadelphia’s Healing Walls

Grade Level/Subject Area: 7th through 12th grade/Social Studies/Art Appreciation

Timeframe The lesson requires a pre–Activity – two library classes of forty five minutes One morning or afternoon–Half day for bus tour Culminating activity–requires forty five minutes Homework–one hour

Lesson Description: The purpose of this lesson is to show students various murals in different neighborhoods. They will travel by bus through the cities streets and photograph the murals. It is important that students learn that different cultures are represented and that they photograph four different murals. This documentation will then be scrutinized according to origins, political involvement and other cultural and historical factors. Finally, the tour will explain how paint can transform the city by removing graffiti as well as offering a solution to the many forms of violence that exist there. This is the reason for the title “Healing Walls.”

Performance Objective(s)

  • The students will research the history of a mural, interview artists, visit various sites and make curricular connections with social studies and how the mural will fit together.
  • The students will know the basic timeline of the history of art and be able to discuss the symbolism of the subject matter.
  • After the mural tour of Philadelphia, the students will be able to compare and contrast the cultures of the different neighborhood they have visited.
  • The students will be able to explain what a “healing wall” is and how Philadelphia was transformed by murals.


Students will discuss the components of murals.


A bus would need to be ordered with a driver. Funding would be needed for the bus and cameras. Books and encyclopedias would be needed for research of art history and murals.


Pre-Class Activity
Independent research in the library on the history of art, leading into a discussion of the various styles and subject matter of art through time. The teacher will lead a discussion of symbolisms in art and in mural painting in particular.

Students will photograph four murals representing four different neighborhoods, then answer the following questions:

Why did you pick the murals you chose? Name three things you like about them.

Describe the cultural symbolism in the mural. Can you find representations of food, language and religion? What other cultural symbols can you find?

Why do you think the term Healing Walls is appropriate to the murals to chose? Look for more information at

Culminating Activity

Place the photographs on a poster board , give an oral report on the style of the mural and why it is important in the history of art, display students’work in the library.


Lesson Plan #2

Title: Cinderella, Culture and Murals

Grade Level/ Subject Area: 7th through 12th grades/ Literature, Social Studies

Timeframe: Four class periods of forty-five minutes each.

Lesson Description

Cinderella is one of the best known folktales in the world. It is found nearly everywhere in the world: from Alaska to South Africa, from Europe to Indonesia and South America. More than 500 versions of the tale are known in Europe alone. Students will research, read and summarize the folktale in its various forms, then decide on a theme and make a poster.

Performance Objectives

  • The students will go to the public library to research different versions of the folktale, Cinderella .
  • Students will discuss the common themes and pick out the cultural differences as well.
  • Students will illustrate the story that depict the theme they chose and write a summary.

Assessment: Each student will display the finished poster and discuss the theme they chose.

Materials: Poster board and markers, pen and paper.


The teacher will read one of the original versions of Cinderella (ie. Perrault) or any other version. Talk about the themes and how it could be represented on paper. After the discussions, students will respond to the following:

  • As a group discuss the similarities and differences of the endings.
  • How is Cinderella’s mother be portrayed ? What animal does she symbolize?
  • Why are different animals used to portray human beings?


Students will identify and discuss the main themes of the story.


Lesson Plan #3

Title: “Design A Mural”

Grade Level: 7th through 12th grade

Timeframe: Five class periods of forty five minutes each.

Lesson Description

This lesson shows the process of mural making and will result in the final piece, the mural. Using the previous lessons and summarizing the history of art, the culture portrayed in murals, the students will design a meaningful mural. The result will be one mural chosen out of all submitted. All the work will be exhibited and presented and voted on. This lesson will be about what the student is most proud of in his school and community and would like it reflected on a mural.

Performance Objectives

  • The students will be able to research the history of the West Philadelphia, its people community and school.
  • The students will be able to cite the three current themes of the community. Some ideas might be a school or city championship won, famous legends, manufacturing in area? What makes the city special?
  • The students will create an authentic mural, collaborating with each other.
  • The students will feel pride and accomplishment in the display of their work.
  • The students will learn the democratic process in voting for the selected mural design.

Assessment: Finished design of the mural piece for possible future execution.


Art materials including colored pencils, paper, poster board; use of computers, lettering stencils, etc.

Procedures/ Activities

Brainstorm about the things that mean most to you at school. Sports, especially basketball are as source of accomplishment at West Philadelphia High School. Another source of pride is the choir group. How can the mural represent what is important? Is what is important to you important to others? How do we resolve conflict?

Review artistic renderings of portraits. What feelings do you see in their faces? Express that feeling now on your face. Draw your face, portraying emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, scared, etc.

Decide on a title and theme for your mural. Find symbols to represent your ideas and draw them.

Complete and exhibit the final mural design using the auditorium or another large space. Invite the entire grade to hear the description and see the mural. After the assembly, vote on the mural that best represents the school and community.


Dissanayake, Ellen. Homo Aestheticus;Where Art Comes from and Why. Seattle: U.ofWashington P., 1992. Author believes art served many functions in early evolutionary times

Funk& Wagnalls standard dictionary of folklore, mythology, and legend. Key to countries , regions, cultures, culture areas, peoples, tribes, and ethnic groups.1972 funk & Wagnalls Publishing Co.New York

Golden, Jane. Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell. Philadelphia: Temple U.P., 2002. The definitive book on murals. Shows how murals can make a positive change.

House of Umoja. 14 June 2006 <http://houseof>. The House of Umoja has helped 3,000 youths in anti-violence. Jensen, Eric. Arts with the brain in mind. Alexandria: ASCD, 2001. Author makes some strong claims about the value of musical, visual and kinesthetic arts in the basic curriculum and integrating them into every subject.

Mural Arts Program.” Mural Arts Program. 14 June 2006 <http://>. MAP started in 1984 as a component of the anti graffiti network. In 1996,Phila. recognized MAP’s mission of youth development and neighborhood revitalization through arts

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Washington: n.p., 1998. Professional pedagogy focusing on responsibilities on educating students in partnership with parents and community

“Class Teaches Craft of Graffiti.” Philadelphia Metro [Philadelphia] 21 Mar. 2006: 4. Students should be aware of the press releases on mural and they ask for volunteers to paint murals.

Rothkoph, E.Z. (1972). Learning theories: An educational perspective. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Merrill.
Wall to Wall America:Post Office Murals in the Great Depression. Ed. Ken Marling. Minneapolis: U.of Minnesota P., 1982. Author gives an in-depth look at life during the depression and the WPA’s endeavor to support visual arts.

Appendix A-Standards

The specific Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Reading, Speaking and Listening, Geography and the Arts and Humanities addressed in this unit will are listed here. The stated standards will be incorporated into the unit in a variety of interesting ways. The academic standards for reading, writing, and speaking will be addressed. Background information on the history of murals addresses the academic standard for reading (1.8.8), selecting essential sources necessary for researc . For example, the student should be able to find out what the imagery is, what the source of the imagery is and who is promoting it, whether is it advertising, and whether stereotypes are involved in the visual imagery.

We will observe the different communities of Philadelphia and the various values of the people. For instance, is the community conservative if the murals includes American flags and replicas of the Statue of Liberty? The Academic Standard for geography is addressed when we ask of the imagery “would we find this in all the
neighborhoods or is it a political statement in our immigrant neighborhoods?” “Would it be interpreted as showing the love of freedom or dissatisfaction with the status quo?

Many disciplines and skills will be addressed when teaching this unit. Students will read and make inferences. They will do independent research in the library and learn various new terms that are used in this curriculum. Social studies and political analysis of visual media such as banners, posters billboards will be explored.

In studying murals, current events are important. By analyzing local newspapers, including editorials cartoons, study the meaning of imagery in advertising. students see will see that the larger world is concerned about various issues such as violence. Instead if making a violent gesture (such as graffiti), this project encourages students to have a positive voice—to create peace by doing a piece.

Academic Standards for Geography

The Human Characteristics of Places and Regions 7.3.9 Explain the human characteristics of places and regions by their population characteristics. Explain the human characteristics of places and region by their cultural characteristics. Ethnicity of people at national levels( eg., customs, celebrations, languages, religions) Culture distribution(e.g., ethnic enclaves and neighborhoods)

Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening 1.8.8.

Select and refine a topic for research. Locate information using appropriate sources and strategies. Determine valid resources for researching the topic, including primary and secondary sources. Evaluate the importance and quality of the sources.

Academic Standards for the Arts and Humanities

Production, Performance and Exhibition of Dance, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts 9.1.12 Analyze works of arts influenced by experiences or historical and cultural events through production, performance or exhibition.

Appendix B: How Murals Are Made

Step One: Choose a Wall

Either the wall is requested by the school/community and is identified. The wall must be checked out for suitability. The Mural Arts staff speak to the community/school/property owner about the future of the site.

Step Two: Explore Ideas

The artist and MAP staff meet with members of the community to discuss themes and designs.

Step Three: Create the Design

Once the theme is decided and the artist develops the design it is presented to the group for feedback. A consensus is reached for the final design.

Step Four: Preparing the Wall The team prepares the wall, including priming , erecting scaffolding , applying a waterproof coat to protect the mural.

Step Five: Transferring the Design to the Wall

The grid method is the most common. First, the artist superimposes a series of horizontal and vertical lines over the final sketch, breaking it down to small squares. A similar pattern of squares is created on the blank wall. Each square on the wall is proportional to each one on the sketch. The artist then reproduces the contents of each square on the corresponding wall until it is re-created in larger scale.

Step Six: Painting the Mural

Some artists may choose to work directly on the wall. Others may choose to paint the mural on synthetic fabric. Using a slide projector or other transfer method they re-create the design on fabric panels in the studio. The panels are adhered to the mural wall using acrylic gel. This method is more expensive and time consuming.

A clear coat of acrylic is applied over the entire mural when finished.

Step Seven: Turning the Mural Over to the Community

The last step is the dedication, when the artist hands over the mural to the community. This is a festive occasion for all involved.

In the April 2006, issue of the Philadelphia School District’s paper, the Notebook, it reported that the MAP and the school district have entered a unique partnership that will create and/or restore 100 murals at school sites over the next 5 years. Muralist Bernie Wilke led the school in the creation of an individual mural with the theme, ”From Sea to Shining Sea.” This endeavor might open doors for this curriculum to be used with the schools that are involved with this exciting project.