The Chazen Museum of Art’s curatorial and education departments have collaborated to design learning modules based on the museum’s collection for use in a variety of courses. These modules can be tailored by instructors to their purposes, the subject of their course, and their learning goals. Each module includes information about, and images of, a group of artworks drawn from the Chazen’s permanent collection pertinent to the theme. The modules include questions for consideration and discussion and a number of suggested assignments. Originally developed for UW–Madison’s Canvas platform, the resources are presented here for all teachers to access.
Each artwork is accompanied by a description of the artwork, the artist’s biography, context relating to the module theme, a list of related artworks in the permanent collection, links to related video content where available, and a bibliography of related readings.
Modules can facilitate discussion of a variety of social and political issues. In addition to providing images for course use, the Chazen plans to make most, if not all, of the primary artworks accessible in the permanent-collection galleries. During the pandemic, group tours will not be offered, however students and small groups will be welcome to conduct self-guided viewings of the artworks when and as the Chazen is able to open its galleries safely to the public.
What is sustainability? How do artists communicate sustainability in their practices? This module investigates how artists have examined the increasingly urgent and fraught topic of humankind’s complicated relationship with the environment. The topic of sustainability is complex and has many facets. The works shared here utilize sustainable materials, demonstrate a deep personal reflection of the and sense of place, or send a warning to future generations. Artworks from the Chazen Museum of Art’s collection included in this module address a variety of ecological issues including, but not limited to, scarcity of natural resources, pollution, natural disasters, environmental racism, and colonialism.
What does activism look like? What does it mean to be an activist? This curriculum investigates ways artists have addressed topics of a political and social nature across time. Given their creativity and vision, artists can offer a unique vantage point onto an issue. Their artworks can encourage viewers to think about the complexities of an issue rather than condensing it into a headline. Artworks from the Chazen Museum of Art’s collection included in this curriculum address a variety of social issues including, but not limited to, gun violence, racism, and poverty.
At some point in our lives, we have all experienced trauma. From our first skinned knee, to our first break up, to the loss of a loved one, no one is exempt. The rise of the COVID-19 pandemic and current civil unrest has awakened many of us to a new trauma – a collective kind that is ever-present in our daily lives. As these difficult times continue to unfold, we must rely on resilience to persist. Defined in simplest terms as the ability to withstand adversity and recover from difficult life events, resilience is what gives us the physical and emotional strength to overcome hardship.
These lesson plans investigates ways artists address political and social issues through their practice. By carefully examining three works of art from the Chazen’s collection, students will be able to consider what activism is and how it relates to them and their community. The artwork used in the curriculum ranges from photographs of schoolchildren exploring their use of language (Wendy Ewald) to a silhouette narrative examining our nation’s fraught history with racism (Kara Walker). The artwork is diverse in medium, subject, tone, and message. However, several universal themes are present.
Created for grades 3–5, this module investigates ways artists represented in the Chazen’s permanent collection address environmental sustainability and the complex relationship between humans and nature. By carefully examining artwork from the Chazen’s collection, students will be able to consider what sustainability is and how it relates to them and their community.