Visual Arts: Collage - Homage to artist Romare Bearden

Lesson Plan: Collage: Homage to artist Romare Bearden
Grade level: 6-12
Duration: 4-6 class periods
Media Type: various papers, clear sealer
Subject Integration: Social Studies
National Standards for Visual Arts: (see bottom of page)
Objectives: To learn about artist Romare Bearden and his crusade for civil rights.

(website for help with writing rubrics)


4 - Standards are exceeded
3 - Standards are met
2 - Standards may be met at a very low quality or with some exceptions
1 - Standards are not met

Vocabulary (elements/principles):

  • color
  • shape
  • line
  • texture
  • balance
  • unity
  • proportion
  • form
  • value
  • space
  • contrast
  • emphasis
  • movemen
  • pattern
  • rhythm

Materials and Procedure:

Day 1:
Present information about famous artist, Romare Bearden (1911-1988). Show artwork by Romare and start discussion about his work and what his artwork stood for. In the 1960’s, Romare moved on from his former work to collage work which symbolized the African American artist and the struggle for civil rights. His lifelong support of young and emerging artists led him to creating the Bearden Foundation. In 1987, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

Start a discussion with students: “What do you see?” “How does Romare’s work make you feel?” “What was he trying to say in his work?” “Why do you think he chose collage as his medium?”

After discussing Romare’s work, show PlayList video about MN artist, Robert Dewitt Adams.
What are some similarities between Romare’s work and Robert’s work? What are some differences? What else do you notice about Robert’s work? What do you think about recycling board games to create artwork? (4:54)

Day 2:
Students start to create their own collages from various papers, cardstock, items from the recycle bin, etc. It is helpful to give students a checklist of items that must be in the collage: Choose a landscape, cityscape, or seascape as the subject. There must be 25+ total cut pieces, fill the space of the paper, use different types and textures of paper, and make sure all pieces are glued down tightly. Students will finish the work by coating it will a clear coat, such as Modge Podge. It is also helpful to give students an envelope to put cut pieces into to be saved for the next art session as to not lose pieces.

Day 3:
Make time to show students various websites of Romare’s and Robert’s work. There are some great websites listed at the bottom of this lesson plan.

Day 4-6:
Creation of collage. Some students may need additional time.

Discussion Questions:
Important questions to ask students: “What do you see?” “How does this artwork make you feel?” “What was the artist trying to show you?”



The Art of Romare Bearden by Ruth E. Fine

My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden’s Childhood Journey

National Standards for Visual Arts:

VA:Cr2.1.6a: Demonstrate openness in trying new ideas, materials, methods, and approaches in making works of art and design.
VA:Cr3.1.6a: Reflect on whether personal artwork conveys the intended meaning and revise accordingly.
VA:Re.7.1.6a: Individually or collaboratively, develop a visual plan for displaying works of art, analyzing exhibit space, the needs of the viewer, and the layout of the exhibit.
VA:Re.7.2.8a: Compare and contrast contexts and media in which viewers encounter images that influence ideas, emotions, and actions.

Sample National Visual Arts Standards link:

Sample MN State Standards for Social Studies: Evaluate arguments about selected issues from diverse perspectives and frames of reference, noting the strengths, weaknesses, and consequences associated with the decision made on each issue.

Funding for this program is provided by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Click here for more information or visit the Minnesota Legacy website.

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