Of Heaven and Earth: Character & Setting

Adapted from the First Stage Theater Company Education Department. Using the painting The Sulky Boy (1875) by Antonio Mancini from the Of Heaven and Earth exhibition, ask students to describe the boy. Consider the following prompts to assist in your discussion: Who is the “sulky boy”? How old is he? What do the objects around… Read on

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It’s Tradition

Document family traditions by interviewing grandparents, uncles, and aunts to find out about family history. Listen to family stories, learn about grandparents’ hobbies, hear about their childhood songs and games, and investigate special holidays and family events. Create a class scrapbook or blog post that features stories and pictures from the past. Consider including recipes… Read on

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Meet the Artists

Students can research three of the artists—seven of whom lived in Wisconsin—in the Uncommon Folk: Traditions in American Art exhibition prior to their visit, using the exhibition website. Create maps and timelines, as a part of the artist report. The following questions can assist in starting. 1) Where was the artist born and when? Include this… Read on

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Uncommon Folk Resources

Internet Resources American Folk Art Museum  Folk Art Society of America Folk Life Archive From Windmills to Whirligigs Possum Trot Roadside Art Online: Environments  Sculpture Background   Literature Resources American Folk Art for Kids by Richard Panchyk  Art from Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter by Kathy Whitehead and Shane W. Evans Fish Eyes by… Read on

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Investigate Traditions

Investigate with your students traditions (ethnic and otherwise) that are celebrated during the run of the feature exhibition. Consider reading one of the children’s stories listed below to begin. American Folk Art for Kids by Richard Panchyk Art from Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter by Kathy Whitehead and Shane W. Evans Fish Eyes by… Read on

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Exhibition Walkthrough

The unprecedented selection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, textiles, and furniture featured in this exhibition offers unexpected beauty, power, whimsy, and wonder. The authentically American artistic expression identified in the work of folk and self-taught artists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries gave American art its own voice separate from the classical European… Read on

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Background Information

American painter Thomas Sully (1783–1872) had a lifelong love affair with the theatre. Born into a family of actors, he made his debut on the stage at age eleven as a tumbler. The artist ultimately chose painting over performing, but the theatre shaped the artistic imagination of this powerhouse portraitist, and served to distinguish him… Read on

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Historical Connections

Study the relationships between the human forms in the Sully exhibition and the natural worlds in the landscapes from the Museum’s Collection in Gallery 15. What techniques did the artists use to convey ideas? How does the subject matter reflect the activities of the nation at the time? Examine the painting View of Harper’s Ferry… Read on

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Backdrop Building

Create your own architectural setting for George Frederick Cooke in the Role of Richard III (1811–12).  Have students research similar structures built during that time period. Lead a discussion about setting and the significance of architecture. Afterwards have students create their own structures using only masking tape, newspaper, and paper tubes.

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The Great Debate

Historians continue to debate the merits of the decisions and actions taken by President Andrew Jackson during his two terms in office. Living between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, Jackson played a central role in virtually all the controversial issues of his time—Indian removal, economic reform, states’ rights, and slavery. Overshadowed in popular… Read on

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