Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Kansas City Graffiti

published on: 2/6/2005

Contributing Teacher(s): Peggy Wilson

Subject Area: Fine Arts/Performing Arts/Art

Grade Range: High School (9-12)

Materials Needed:

  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Pencil
  • Rulers
  • Colored pencils
  • Canvas
  • Paint (acrylic and watercolor)
  • Tag board or illustration board
  • Collage materials
  • Photographs of sights of your city
  • Resource Web sites example:
  • Book: Street Art
  • Resource photographs of graffiti in your city
  • Newspaper clippings with landmarks of your city
  • Examples of art by mural artists such as Diego Rivera and Keith Haring
  • Objective: The students will produce, in a variety of selected mediums, an illustration of a proposed graffiti mural.

    Process Standards:

    • Goal 1.2 conduct research to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas
    • Goal 1.4 use technological tools and other resources to locate, select and organize information

    Content Standards:

    • Fine Arts 1. Process and techniques for the production, exhibition or performance of one or more of the visual ...
    • Fine Arts 2. The principles and elements of different art forms

      Time Allowance: 2 weeks

      Description: This lesson is a study in cultural diversity and community awareness.

      Comments: A Study of Community Awareness and Cultural Diversity

      Classroom Component:


      Kansas City Graffiti is a project designed to cover many aspects. From an artistic point the students will become aware of mural art. They will research what types of materials mural artists use. Using Graffiti as the subject, the students can identify with the application of this form of art in our area. Photographs of local graffiti will be available for the students to view. We will discuss the difference in murals and illegal tagging. From a cultural point of view the students will compare and contrast the art of Diego Rivera and Keith Haring. Research on the Internet will allow the students to see graffiti art all over the world, from L.A. to Europe. The students will be more aware of the society in which they live by researching points of interest in our city. Students will look at architecture of the Plaza and our cityscape. Our city is known as the "City of Fountains," and the students will look at a variety of different photographs of the fountains in Kansas City. Local art such as the Henry Moore sculptures and the Bartle Hall sculptures will be addressed. From this study the students will hopefully attain a heightened awareness of their surroundings and develop a valuable sense of community.




    • The teacher will begin to talk about Kansas City and engage the students in a discussion of listing the most prominent sights of our city. The teacher will suggest connecting to the arts, music, food, architecture, sports, and other areas.
    • The teacher will introduce mural artists Diego Rivera and Keith Haring. The students will view a selection of their work, and research these two artists on the Internet. Other artists will be located as well on the Internet.
    • Students will develop 5 thumbnail sketches of different styles of graffiti writing. Handouts of various styles of graffiti writing will be used as a starting point for the students to begin working on their own personal style of writing. One requirement will be the words "Kansas City" and the date incorporated in the artwork.
    • Students will make a written list of 10 or more elements they want to research and locate for their project. Students will prepare 8 to 10 thumbnail sketches of their selection of aspects of Kansas City. A second requirement is to have a minimum of 5 different aspects of Kansas City in their final work. It is suggested they have a variation instead of, for example, all sports.
    • Upon selection of the final graffiti writing style, the students will Xerox 3 to 5 copies to prepare color samples to select from. The students will be directed back to the Internet and books to look at graffiti.
    • Using a copy of the lettering the students will use a light table to arrange their final selection of subject drawings of sights of Kansas City. Discussion of positive and negative space and composition and balance will be reviewed. The teacher will stress the merging and incorporation of the lettering with the subject drawing. Format and medium is discussed at this point. There are no absolute requirements on format or medium, as students have used a wide variety of materials from mock brick to cardboard panels, in square format to round format to rectangular format. It is suggested the students use a long horizontal composition with the length being twice as long as the width. (A minimum measurement is 9" x 18"). Upon completion of selection of color choices and subject arrangement, the students are ready to select the medium they wish to use. The selection is narrowed to omit materials that will smudge easily, such as chalk pastel. Note: If spray paint is a choice, the spray work must be done at home. Health issues are discussed. The student is required to use a mix of medium so the bulk of the work can be done in class.
    • Students may use the copy machine to enlarge their final composition to transfer to their final ground. A projection machine is available for those students that selected canvas ground.



      Students are required to present their work for critique in the proper manner of the medium they selected. A mat is required for work on paper. Mats are optional for work on board and paintings on unstretched canvas. Included in the presentation and critique, careers of mural artists will be included.




      Students will use the following scoring guide to critique their work.


      Requirements of preliminary work:



      Possible points available: 20

      5 graffiti lettering samples: one point per sample
      5 color samples of the graffiti lettering choices: one point per sample
      10 thumbnail sketches of aspects of KC: one point per sample


      Requirements in the final:


      Possible points available: 80

      10 points Graffiti lettering of Kansas City: one point per letter
      4 points Graffiti lettering of the date: one point per number
      5 points 5 aspects of KC: one point per aspect
      5 points Successful color selection: students selected a color theme
      10 points Proper use of medium selected: student was consistent with application
      10 points Rendering of subjects selected: 2 points per subject, properly rendered
      10 points Overall design and composition: artwork is well balanced in relation to color (5 points) and placement of subjects (5 points)
      6 points Successful use of positive and negative space: because this artwork tends to be very busy, the negative space should create a resting point for the eye
      10 points Successful merging of lettering and subject drawing: lettering and drawings of subjects are combined for pleasing design, the 2 merge together in a fashion to avoid choppy placement of drawings. The overall appearance of the work is holistic. 2 points for each successful placement of subject incorporated with lettering.
      5 points Final presentation: work must be ready to hang in a show
      5 points Research Workbook Journal (RWJ): all preliminary work and research must be documented in the RWJ

      For additional information contact :
      Peggy Wilson
      North Kansas City High
      North Kansas City 74
      (816) 413-5900

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