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Renaissance Drawing at Davidson Middle School

As part of the 7th Grade Social Studies curriculum, I presented a two-day workshop at Davidson Middle School on Renaissance drawing techniques.

After discussing the apprenticeship system of artist training and the tools and techniques used by the dominant artists of the period, students chose a print by Michelangelo or Leonardo DaVinci to copy. This was one of the most common exercises a Master artist would give their apprentice!

We started by drawing a measured grid on colored charcoal paper, and then we copied the master drawings square-by-square to our drawing paper using charcoal and/or conte pencils. Students don’t need advanced drafting skills to do this…one just has to break down the images into lines and shapes, a little bit at a time. This process forces the draftsperson to observe very closely, and the students were surprised with the accuracy of their drawings!

Youth in Arts “Travel the World” programs provide professional arts instruction linked to K-8 History/Social Studies curriculum. Click here to download a flyer on programs you can bring to your school next year.


Introduction to Shakespeare: Language, Historical context and Performance

Mentor Artist Melissa Briggs worked with the seventh grade social studies teachers at Davidson Middle School to design an introduction to Shakespearean Theatre which would mesh with their 7th grade World History unit on the Renaissance.

Key words from the history lessons were incorporated into the work, and related Shakespeare to the student’s current lives as wells as our global situation. This unit prepared the students for next year, and their 8th grade introduction to Romeo & Juliet.

Engaging exercises included Shakespearean death scenes, a monologue performance, Shakespeare’s vernacular versus our own (which highlighting the parallels to HipHop). The project culminated in a tableaux performance of Romeo & Juliet, which highlighted the experience for students!