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Currier Museum: "The Fine Art of Comics" (Teacher Workshop)

We had an inspired group of educators for Tuesday’s professional development day at the Currier Museum of Art. Twenty teachers and guidance counselors from NH and Massachusetts gathered to study comics and connect their cartooning skills with the museum’s rich collections of American and European artwork.

THE VISIT OF THE GYPSIES, Unknown Franco-Flemish (c. 1510, wool & silk, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH)

Here are some of the curricular units we started planning for Visual Arts and other subject areas [with links added]:

  • Color Mixing = 3-panel comic strips that demonstrate primary colors combining to create new colors.
  • Folk Tales from around the world. [Folk Tale posts]
  • Debate Comics to persuade and convince the reader of a certain point of view.
    “State Projects” = comics about each of the 50 states

  • Biography of an Artist
    • An artist presents her/his own work and life story [Possible model = Jay Hosler’s Sandwalk Adventures, in which Charles Darwin debates his life’s work with… well, with a mite living in his eyebrow.]
    • The student travels back in time to interview or study with an artist
    • Two great artists meet and compare their work (for example, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein
  • A KNOCK AT THE DOOR, Laura Alma-Tadema (1897, oil on panel, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH)

  • Looking in a mirror = “What’s important to you?” Students connect to a great work of art, and combine it with their own lives in a comics project.
  • Native Folktales & Myth Creation = create myths modelled on traditional native American stories, and publish them in 8-page mini comics [Sample Program: Native Comics] [Myth Creation at “Arts in the Wild” Comics Camp]
  • The Odyssey = Relating the journey and growth of Odysseus to your own life, in comics format! [Eric Shanower’s Age of Bronze series]
  • Mango Street comics = Create comics using vignettes from The House on Mango Street (by Sandra Cisneros). Re: community & voice in comics: [Lynda Barry’s “Marlys Magazine”] [Will Eisner’s website]
  • Grade 3-4 Bullying Comics = Students create comics about positive social practices for the school community.

Other links for curriculum planning:


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