Considering New Monuments in 5th Grade

Here in Richmond, we have a lot of Monuments. If you take a bike ride with your family, you might pass by a Monument of Robert E. Lee. On your drive to the grocery store, you might speed by Jefferson Davis. These monuments are mostly Southern Civil War references and were erected long ago, after the Civil War was over but before the Civil Rights movement. In Richmond, we are so used to seeing them that we often don’t even notice them anymore.

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In 5th grade art today, students made some preliminary sketches of Monuments for the people they most admire.

We looked at the monument of Harriet Tubman by Alison Saar and talked about the way an artist can create different kinds of monuments. Alison Saar’s work is supposed to suggest the Underground Railroad by combining Harriet Tubman’s image with some well chosen visual references to trains. Look at her skirt and her position, and see if you can see anything train-like.

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Students discussed who was important to them and then brain stormed lots of ideas of how to sculpt the people they selected. Students dreamed up a Steve Jobs monument, one for Betsy Ross, Serena Williams, Marilyn Monroe, and several Football Players. Students will continue their work next week by thinking of ways to create these mini monuments in 3D, and then creating their imagined sculptures.

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