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Lesson Plan: Street Art / Chalk " A Jazzy Renaissance" A Cultural and Media Experience

Written by: Essex Garner 

LTC 8900: Artistic Thinking: Multimedia Applications for Teaching Art

Cultural Unit Plan: A Jazzy Renaissance

Art Strands: Making Art, Art History, Art Criticism,
                    and Diversity.
Develop Topographical Map
                    Reading skills Connect 19th & 20th Century Social
                    Issues with the 21st Century Classroom

Grade levels: 4 through 12
Age levels: 9 through 17

     The Big Idea: This unit also provides your students with a unique opportunity for in depth discussion and discovery of the artistic changes from the past to their 21st century art classroom. Class time allotted for each lesson is one hour. The time for this lesson has to be lengthened once your students start their studio activities. Most people enjoy and appreciate Street Art or Chalk Art, Public Murals, and want to watch them be created. It takes a lot of courage to render an image onto the ground while getting covered in chalk, or recreating an old masterpiece or contemporary image on the pavement while people watch you.

Ray Charles "Play That Song"


Play Video Here "America"

         Conceptual Structure: Most people enjoy and appreciate Street Art or Chalk Art, murals, parades, and admire artistic creativity while watching artist work. It takes a lot of courage to render an image onto the ground while getting covered in chalk, or recreating old masterpieces or cultural images on the pavement while people watch you. The connected theme within this studio activity is "A Jazzy Renaissance". History has a way of reminding us of who we are, where we came from In some cases history reminds us of our phobias of other cultures, to include how we dealt with those issues as a society. Americaís most successful multicultural investment came about in New Orleans, Louisiana during the 19th and early 20th century. New Orleans at the time still had French and Spanish colonial roots, mixed with a resilience of African influences after the slave era. How do we atone for the numerous cultural struggles this nation has undergone? Thatís a pretty tall order, but making studentís awareness of "others" within our society and their unique struggles through artistic expression is a good place to start.

        Main Ideas: Strengthens the studentís knowledge in Art Appreciation, Cultural Diversity, and the important accomplishments of many ethic groups in American within the Visual and Performing arts. This lesson explores a different two-dimensional medium, and develops the studentís skills of using themes necessary to be incorporated into their artistic renditions. This lesson allows students to become evolved with community activities in arts, building on student understanding of how public memorials, street art, murals, and wall graphics fit within their communities. Students can draw on their personal experiences for inspiration or external sources like; Jazz Musicians Dizzy Gillepsi or Miles Davis and performance or literary artist, contemporary Hispanic, African, and past or modern cultural or social themes. Students also learn to shed their inhibitions of creating artwork in public spaces while they drawing. While they are making their works, they are in fact on stage like any performing artists. The students will examine two-dimensional concepts that fall under Art Censorship, and demonstrate that their work has a social relevance and wouldnít be considered patiently offensive to other ethnic groups. Other artists that can be explored within these cross cultural connections are: Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance and their works like (Romare Bearden or Jacob Lawrence).



Jacob Lawrence

Boy With Kite (Heroshima Seriers)

Eample Student work

1. Goals and Objectives:

  • This lesson strengthens the studentís awareness in diversity issues, art and music appreciation, explores different drawing and music media, and develops socially aesthetic concept necessary for the understanding of others.

  • This unit also provides your students with a unique opportunity for in depth discussion and discovery of the artistic changes from the past to their 21st century art classroom.

  • The students will demonstrate prior knowledge of lessons learned within the Elements and Principles of Art as they go out to adorn the pavement.

  • This lesson strengthens the studentís research ability. Before allowing them to draw review information on Chalk Art ideas by Artist Julian Beavers, Edgar Mueller - 3D Pavement Art, and explore indigenous New Orleans visual artists and musician like Aaron Neville, Louis Armstrong (Satchmo) or Fats Domino.

  • This lesson builds on the students understanding of how public art spaces, street art, festivals, and wall graphics fit within their community matrix. The student can draw their inspiration for their work through current cultural or social issues, the performing or visual arts or conceptual issues they wish to convey as artist.

  • The students will examine two-dimensional concepts that fall under art censorship, and the struggles many musicians faced either through segregation or Jim Crow laws. The students will demonstrate that their work wouldnít be patiently offensive in public domains.

  • Students will also develop their map reading skills within geographical and historical markers of information.




Essex Garner 2009

2. Lesson Concepts:
  • Students can draw on their personal experiences for inspiration or external sources like; Harlem Renaissance Jazz Musicians Dizzy Gillepsi, Miles Davis or visual artistís such as Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden or contemporary late R & B legions like Ray Charles.
  • Have your students pick and artist or musician from New Orleans Ragtime, Dixie Land, R&B or contemporary jazz era for discussion and to recreate their artistic experience that would fit a chalk drawing motif on concrete. Itís better for younger students to work in a Constructivist environment our group. Usually fundamental II and III students can work independently. This lesson fosters personal responsibility and creativity in your students when theyíre given supplies and equipment they will request for this project.
  • The student will understand and create by applying a variety of media techniques and processes to express visual ideas, feelings, and values with art elements and principles. Recognize career opportunities that are related to these art forms



Cedar Hill Elementary School Art Club Jazzfest Chalk Art work. Capitol Jazz Fest 2010, Memorial Park. Jefferson City, Missouri

3. Instructional critical studies:
  • The students will develop an appreciation of how artists operate in public spaces, strengthen techniques in art criticism, and develop a better awareness of public Art.
  • The students will come away with a better understanding of how functional and nonfunctional art through the artistís and publics lens, and look at how art is perceived and appreciated by others.

  • The students will make a personal connection to a particular artist, theme and or their work during the course of the research process.
  • The students will come to appreciate the planning process for this art form and the music period.
  • The students will digitally record and be
    evaluated on their chalk illustration by their peers. And reflect on ideas of public opinion concerning their project. Students will ask the questions: do you think your artwork changed or effected someoneís opinion concerning the social issues of others?

4.  Art making actvities (What to do):

  • Assign students to groups or (for the older kids) allow them to work alone at recreating artwork on a large scale.
  • Have students plan their chalk art beforehand, by illustrating a drawing in the classroom or by reproducing an image they choose. This will enable students to make better use of their sidewalk space once outdoors. With the older students, you will want to encourage shading and dramatic color in the piece.
  • Before you head outdoors, take one last moment to divide students' art on a grid. Mark off each drawing in increments of about 2 inches square, depending on the size of the original. These same grid marks will be placed on the concrete outside for reproducing the image.
  • Mark off blocks of space on the sidewalk before anyone begins drawing, that way you're sure to have enough space to go around.


Miles Davis
 Cubistic Issue

Eample Student work

  • Use a yardstick inside the designated block to copy the grid used on the original image. A simple conversion is 2 inches on the paper = 2 feet outside on the ground, but you can also increase the outside measurement to 3 feet if you have enough room.
  • Ensure the students understand the (according to the image type) in most cases. Itís best to work from the lighter colors first, then the darker colors. Chalk has a tendency to blow around in the wind, and darker hues put down at the beginning of a drawing tend to dull the illustration over time.

  • Once the grids are completed, students can draw in one block at a time, copying from the drawing one block at a time until they're finished.
  • Insure students make an effort to complete their work from left to right if they are right handed, and right to left if they are left handed. This approach minimizes leaning over areas of the drawing already completed, and reduces smudging.

5. What you will need:

  • Gallon jugs of water - for drinking as well as washing off hands and legs.
  • Check the following supply list before you start, and be sure to put everything in a box in case it gets windy:
  • Kneepads or gardener's padded or work boards - to kneel on while drawing instead of having their knees directly on the pavement.
  • Large sheets of plastic or garbage bags taped together - keep this on hand as a cover in case of rain, heavy wind, or just to protect work over a long lunch break
  • Paintbrushes of all shapes and sizes, sponges - to blend and spread colors.
  • Pastels or sidewalk chalk - Your choice, depending on price. Pastels will usually give you more vibrant colors and produce higher-quality work.
  • Paper towels or old towels and rags - to clean up as necessary.
  • Hats, sunscreen, sunglasses - to protect from the elements.
  • Camera to take pictures. Consider letting the local media know so they can cover the project in the papers and on TV. See News Article last page of this lesson.

6. This curricular lesson fosters skills for the conceptual age through the studentís investigative research, connecting the past visual culture with the present, and makes art fun (Although your kids will get a little dirty. By connecting these concepts, each student will walk away with a better understanding and appreciation of a wonderful cultural era, and a hand on approach to learning about the world around them. Once the project is completed the students will also understand other diverse groups, improve their map skills, and how to record their work in a digital environment. This lesson has one final teachable idea because the student and audience must learn to appreciate the culture of others and their work will last only for a short while. So and live in the moment, and donít become to enamored with your creation. After most projects are completed, their life expectancy is only a matter of hours, so take good picture. Hopefully it will not rain on the day you plan this event.

Types of Chalk, There are three basic types of chalk that are effective for sidewalk art. They range from the cheaper version commonly used in elementary and secondary schools to the compressed Pastels.


1.    Sidewalk Chalk, sku# 664946: Price: $3.99, Description: 52 Jumbo Sidewalk Chalk in assorted colors. Chalk sticks 1'' x 4 1/2'í, Colors Assorted, Size 52 Count. This is the sets commonly used for elementary and secondary education, but will not give color intensities of most professional works.    


2.    Dustless Chalk, sku# 601880 : Price: $0.77, 16 Pieces, assorted


3.    Multi Pastel Compressed Chalk (I use this one professionally)

Description: This package of Multi Pastel Compressed Chalk has vibrant colors and the square sticks are ideal for Landscapes, Portraits, Still Life, Multicultural, Global Art Projects, Traditional Sketches and more.

To Download Grid (Right Click)


2 inches on the paper


2 feet outside on the ground

Orginal Image Above Provided by
Nenad Mirkovich



Hobby Lobby item numbers



Creativity Connections & Classroom Implications & Applications

   Blog Information for Artistic Thinking


Useful Internet Links:

Beever, J (2009). Pavement Drawings, Wall Murals, Fine Art Paintings. Retrieved September
    23, 2010, from

Capital Arts, J. (2010). Capital City Counsel on the Arts, Capital Street Art for Schools,
Retrieved September 23, 2010, from Capital Street Art for Schools

Celebrate Black History: The Harlem Renaissance (2009),  
    November 9, 2010, from
Celebrate Black History: The Harlem Renaissance

Charlie Parker (Frank Driggs Collection) (2009);
Retrieved September 23, 2010, from

Garner, E. (2010). Capital Jazzfest and Street Art 2010, Constructivist Wall Graphics:
Retrieved September 23, 2010, from

Lawrence, J. (1997). Toussaint LíOuverture Series by Jacob Lawrence. The High Museum,
     "Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence". Retrieved November 9, 2010, from

McNulty, Ian (2010). History New First Notes: New Orleans and the Early Roots of Jazz.
     Retrieved October 29, 2010, from

New Orleans Website Directory (1999). New Orleans & Louisiana Bands & Musicians. Retrieved
    November 9, 2010, from

Additional Information:

    Freda Kahlo,

    Diego Rivera

WPA Artist and their links:

Chalk Art 2007 Memorial Park

Chalk Art 2008 Memorial Park