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Lesson Plan: Street Art or Chalk Art

Unit: Making Art and Art Appreciations in our Multicultural Society. Grade Level: (3 through 12)


The Big Idea - Teaching Art for the Conceptual and Multicultural Age


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.


Essex Garner's Ray Charles
"Play That Song"

Objective strengthens the student’s 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 student’s 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 wouldn’t 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).



Strand: (Know about Art), (Making Art) and Elements of Art.

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

Before allowing them to draw review information on Street Art ideas by Artist Julian Beavers, and Edgar Mueller - How to Make 3D Pavement Art, an the annual Capital Street Art celebration hosted Capital City Counsel of the Arts in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Instructional Activities:

  • The student will understand and create these pieces by applying a wide variety of media techniques and processes to express visual ideas, feelings, and values through the use of previous Art Elements and Principle lessons taught.

  • The students will make a personal connection to a particular artist, social issue, or theme during the course of their research.
  • The students will come to appreciate the planning process for a public work or art (Permanent & Temporary).
  • The students will digitally record and self evaluate their chalk illustration, and reflect on ideas of public opinion concerning their project.

    Dizzy by Essex Garner 2009



    Jacob Lawrence

    Boy With Kite (Heroshima Seriers)

    Eample Student work


    What to do - Art Making Activity

             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 older artist, you will want to encourage shading and dramatic color usage in their pieces.

            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.


    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, it’s best to work from the lighter then darker colors first. 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 the course of the drawing.

    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.

    For a cleaner piece practice completing your work from left to right if you are right handed, and from right to left if you are left handed. This approach minimizes leaning over areas of the drawing already completed, and reduces smudging.

    Vibrant colors make for a more successful drawing.

    Overlay grid over image.

    Copy from the drawing each section within the blocks, one at a time until they’re finished. Take pictures when completed.

    Remind your students that not all drawings are successful. See Julian Beever’s (miscellaneous drawings).

    2 inches on the paper


    2 feet outside on the ground

    Image above provided by Nenad Mirkovich


    Miles Davis a Cubistic Issue
    Example Student work


    Royal Tunes, Jazzfest2012 by Essex Garner

    Photo: Artist Essex Garner created this sidewalk masterpiece over the weekend. Come see it before it washes away!

    Play That Song, Jazzfest 2010 by Essex Garner

    Dizzy, Jazzfest 2009 by Essex Garner

    Girl With a Pearl Earring, Jazzfest 2008, by Essex Garner

    Man in a Red Turban, Jazzfest 2007, by Essex Garner

    What you will need

    Gallon jugs of water - for drinking as well as washing off hands and legs.

    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.

    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               

    2.    Dustless Chalk  

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

  • Useful Internet Links:

  • Celebrate Black History: The Harlem Renaissance Julian Beever

    Freda Kahlo

    Diego Rivera

    Charlie Parker (Frank Driggs Collection);

     The Art of Essex Home

    Painting Gallery One
    Unfinished Business

    Dreams Not Deferred

    In My Father's House Water Color Gallery

    Water Color Gallery One

    Wall Graphics Kansas City Missouri

    Future Exhibits

    Constructivist Period and Art Research Center

    Reading Writing & Arithmetic Christian Academy

    Float Building 101 and the 135th Signal Battalion