Essential Questions

  • How can we as young artists raise awareness of problems facing the poor?
  • Can we go beyond the intellectual exercise of researching the problem to engage with the local and global community to further understanding of the impact of epidemics?
  • What is our part in this social problem?
  • Do we need a paradigm shift?

Concepts/ Content
The students will know and understand…

  • foundations of sculpture in the context of art history, both past and present
  • the problems of the poor created by structural violence embedded within our society.
  • through research, the depth of one of the many epidemics- the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.
  • what Paul Farmer and Partners in Health has been doing to address these inequities that lead to the poor lacking sufficient resources to live healthy lives.
  • that art can have an impact and at times lead to social change

The students will be able to…

  • understand and analyze works of sculpture through research and discussion. This will be documented in a sketchbook.
  • conduct thorough research to gain an understanding of the problems facing the poor with respect to the Ebola epidemic
  • Assess the psycho-social implications on both the individual and within the community
  • Discuss the social and economic paradigms embedded in our culture
  • Reflect upon our part in the status quo that perpetuates the current paradigm
  • Design and create a sculpture that speaks to a layer or concept of this problem

Curriculum Frameworks

Visual Arts
Grades 9-12
Artistic Perception

In the Introduction to Visual Arts class students should be able to:
Evaluate the effectiveness of artworks in terms of organizational structures and functions

Create artworks that use organizational principles and functions to solve specific visual arts problems

Reflect on how artworks differ visually, spatially, temporally, and functionally, and describe how these are related to history and culture.

Creative Expression
In the Introduction to Visual Arts class students should be able to:

Apply media, techniques, and processes with sufficient skill, confidence, and sensitivity that their intentions are carried out in their artworks.

Conceive and create works of visual art that demonstrate and understanding of how the communication of their ideas relates to the media, techniques, and processes they use.


Research/ Sierra Leone and Ebola

Formative: Other Written Assessment
Students will document findings in their sketchbooks with images and text. They must cite sources and be ready to share in class discussion

Research Paul Farmer and Partners in Health

Formative: Other Written Assessment

Students will research online and via Dr. Farmers presentation. Information will be entered into a sketchbook with images. Cite sources.

Critical Analysis

Formative: Essay/Writing

Students will research sculpture through text and online research. She will analyze one piece of sculpture, create a Power Point and present her research to the class. The class will take notes on each presentation to increase their foundation and knowledge of sculpture

Thumbnails for sculpture

Formative: Visual Arts Project

Student will create thumbnail sketches that will explain in detail ideas for sculpture. She will make sure to include dimensions, any quotes and/or statistics, facts or text. She will also document what the sculpture will consist of- what supplies will be needed or objects created. I will give students feedback and help them to refine ideas before they begin to create.

Visual Arts Project

The student will create a sculpture. She will need to problem solve as needed and make sure to document progress to be entered into her process portfolio. Unresolved attempts will be included in the portfolio.

Learning Activities
Students will have the opportunity to research the structural problems of the poor and how they create the conditions for epidemics to arise. We will begin by exploring the problem of both the poverty and the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone. Students will have the opportunity to hear Dr. Paul Farmer, MD discuss his work as an anthropologist and medical doctor within social medicine and global health. He has co-founded Partners in Health- an organization that works in the poorest parts of the world to provide people health systems where there are none. Students will research the organization and explore the work done in different parts of the world. Class discussions will allow students to share what they have discovered and help them to grasp the enormity of the problem facing the poor. They will read excerpts from the book entitled, In the Company of the Poor-Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Guitierrez that speaks to the fact that there is not a first world and a third world-there is only one world. The book explores our part in the social and economic structures that keep people in this dire poverty.

Nancy Kehoe, RSCJ will come to discuss the psycho-social implications that poverty and epidemics have on the individual and the community.
After research, sharing and reflection, students will decide what part of the multi-layered issue they would like to address with a sculpture. Using found materials, clay, and wire, students will design and create a sculpture to raise awareness about the Ebola epidemic and/or the larger issue of extreme poverty.

Students will be provided with a support upon which to build their piece. One of the classes will be given part of a frond from a Palm tree which looks like a long, abstract heart. The other classes will be given a plastic, shallow dress form to use as the human, female form. Each student will interpret the issue and decide how to effectively address the problem.
I have updated this unit to include photos and video of in-process creation as well as finished examples of the sculptures

The students will draw upon the following resources:

Goals and Criteria
Foundational Principles, Goals and Criteria

Goal Three: Educate to a social awareness which impels to action.

  • The school educates to a critical consciousness that leads its total community to analyze and reflect on the values of society and to act for justice
  • The school is linked in a reciprocal manner with ministries among people who are poor, marginalized and suffering from injustice.
  • In our multicultural world, the school prepares and inspires students to be active, informed, and responsible citizens locally, nationally, and globally.