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African American art and artists in the elementary art curriculum

Joan D Semedo, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this study was to implement and assess a curriculum on African and African-American art and artists appropriate for elementary school children in a multicultural urban setting in the northeastern part of the United States.^ The program involved 145 students in a curriculum that includes biographical sketches, slide presentations, studio visits to prominent artists, and hands-on activities. The students were in grades three, four and five.^ The students learned the three eras of African-American art: the Apprentice, the Journeyman, and the Harlem Renaissance. They also studied the art of Egypt in the time of King Tutankhamen, as well as that of Nubia. More recent African art, including the artifacts of the Dogon people and the thumb painting of the Ndebele women, exposed the children to techniques and designs they could copy.^ The effects of the program were qualitatively evaluated through a pre-test and post-test administered to these classes. Two sets of open-ended questions were used to assess changes in the children's understanding. The students' perceptions of themselves as artists and their awareness and appreciation of art in their communities were also important components of this program.^ The program had an impact on the children and can become a segment in the elementary art curriculum guide. At present, there is none included in the guide representing the art of Africans and African-Americans. ^

Subject Area

Art education|Black studies|Art history|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Semedo, Joan D, "African American art and artists in the elementary art curriculum" (1994). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9420688.